Sunday, March 15, 2015

Butternut Squash and Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've had a couple of small butternut squashes sitting in the fruit basket on my counter for at least 2 months.  I've been told these vitamin rich veggies can be stored for up to a year, but I was ready to use mine.  I also had a couple of very ripe bananas that needed to be used.  And, I needed to make cookies. (Yes, needed). Chocolate chip cookies, to be precise.

So after looking over some pumpkin and banana cookie recipes, I came up with this one.  I LOVE feeding my family treats that I can feel good about, and this cookie recipe definitely qualifies! It has 2 full cups of butternut squash puree, which provides a whopping 874% of the USDA recommended vitamin A needs, plus high quantities of vitamin C and potassium--which is also boosted by the banana! Even after you divide those vitamins among all the cookies, each one is still going to be pretty darn full of redeeming health value!

In case you are new to using a butternut squash in your cooking, I will walk you through the process of making the raw squash into puree you can bake with. 

Slice the raw squash in half lengthwise. Using a knife and/or grapefruit spoon, clean out the seeds and stringy membranes.

Preheat oven to 350°. Place 1/4 cup water on a foil lined baking sheet. Place squash face-down on the foil. Bake 45 minutes, or until soft. Remove and cool to touch.

Use a paring knife to peel the squash. Put the peeled squash in a blender or food processor.

Blend the squash until smooth. 

For this recipe, you'll need a total of 3 1/2 cups of squash and banana combined. My cookies had 2 cups of squash and 1 1/2 cups banana (or 2 medium). If you have less squash and more banana no problem! Your cookies will have a stronger banana flavor but will still be great! The squash has a mild, nutty taste that makes the cookies taste more rich. Both the squash and the banana ensure a moist texture. 

Now, on to the cookie recipe: 

Butternut Squash and Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 5 dozen cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1.5 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups butternut squash puree
1 1/2 cups pureed banana (2 medium bananas)
2 teaspoons vanilla 
6 cups flour (I used 4 cups all purpose, 2 cups whole wheat.)
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare baking sheets with silicone mats, parchment, or cooking spray. 
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs and mix well. Mix in squash, banana, and vanilla until smooth. 
3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add this to wet mixture and stir well. Stir in chocolate chips. 
4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until light brown around bottom edge. 

Unlike traditional chocolate chip cookie dough, this dough is more wet. It will still stick together on a spoon, but is sticky to touch. Since squash have varying moisture content, the amount of flour you need may vary slightly each time you make these. 

Here you see how the cookie dough balls look before baking. 

And here, baked to scrumptious perfection, right out of the oven.