A maple sweetened butternut squash spread with warm seasonal spices like cinnamon, cloves and star anise.
Fall is clearly in full swing in my kitchen.
Apples are in abundance, an entire shelf in my kitchen has been dedicated to an ever growing collection of various pumpkins and winter squash, and that’s not to mention the copious amounts of cinnamon and ginger that have been finding their way into almost everything I make these days. The sweet and spicy smell of the season lingers sweetly in the air already.
Thick and spreadable pumpkin butter embodies the tastes of the season and is a recipe everyone should have in their collection. Silky and velvety and rich with sweet warming spices, it’s like the best of pumpkin pie in a spreadable form. It’s also good on virtually everything.
This is my take on the iconic spread, a naturally sweetened version made from butternut squash instead. The smooth and fairly fiber-less flesh makes it a wonderful substitute for traditional pumpkin with a clean delicate flavor and easy prep. Split, scoop, roast and it’s ready to use.
While the butternut squash is doing its thing in the oven, maple syrup infuses with spices like vanilla, cinnamon and anise. The two join forces along with a squeeze of lemon for some zing and simmer slowly on the stove until lusciously thick.
Smooth and creamy without a hint of cream or butter it’s rich with the concentrated flavor of squash and spice. However you choose to use it, this maple squash butter may fast become your new fall favorite, and since it’s the season of giving and receiving may I suggest you double the recipe and make an extra jar for a friend?
In case you need a few ideas for how to use your squash butter:
- Stir it into a latte or hot chocolate.
- Swirl it into homemade ice cream.
- Mix it into smoothies.
- Dollop it over yogurt or in parfaits.
- Blend it into cake or muffin batter.
- Use it as a dip for fresh fruit.
- Eat it straight from the spoon!
A riff on traditional pumpkin butter, this maple spiced butternut squash butter is easy to make and naturally sweetened.
- 1 ½ to 2lb butternut cut in half (or use 1/2 a large one), seeds removed
- Filtered water for roasting
- ½ cup/120ml maple syrup (if using a smaller squash reduce to 1/3 cup)
- ½ vanilla bean, halved
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 whole star anise
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- The juice of 1 small lemon or ½ a large one
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Place butternut squash halves on a large baking sheet with the cut side down. Add a few Tablespoons of filtered water to the bottom (this creates steam as it roasts).
- Place a piece of parchment over the squash, then cover with a aluminum foil and seal around the edges of the baking pan.
- Roast the squash for 60 minutes or, until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- In the meantime heat the maple syrup with the cinnamon stick, halved and scrapped vanilla bean and anise star in the bottom of a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Cover, turn off heat and let infuse while the squash cooks.
- Once the squash is cooled strain the infused maple syrup into the bowl of a food processor reserving the whole spices.
- Scoop out the squash flesh and add it to the infused maple syrup in the bowl of the food processor . Add the ground cinnamon, cloves and lemon juice and puree until smooth.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan along with the reserved whole spices.
- Bring to a simmer and reduce heat; cook, uncovered, over low heat, stirring frequently, 20 to 25 minutes or until thick (it may spatter so keep an eye on it).
- Remove from heat; ladle into jar (I leave the whole spices in there so they can continue to impart flavor after jarred but you can fish them out now if you prefer). Cover; let cool to room temperature and store in refrigerator for a few weeks or the freezer for up to 6 months.
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan, Paleo
*recipe can be doubled
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