Raw Butternut Squash Cookies
I love cookies in all their permutations: chewy, crunchy, chocolately, nutty and spicy. However, since we eat grain and dairy-free, I have to find new ways to satisfy my cookie craving.
If you’re senstive to gluten, on a raw food or GAPS/SCD diet, or vegan, then these tasty treats will appeal to your neglected inner Cookie Monster too. As an added bonus, butternut squash is good for you!
Modern day squash developed from the wild squash that originated in an area between Guatemala and Mexico. While squash has been consumed for over 10,000 years, they were first cultivated specifically for their seeds since earlier squash did not contain much flesh, and what little they did contain was very bitter and unpalatable. As time progressed, squash cultivation spread throughout the Americas, and varieties with a greater quantity of sweeter-tasting flesh were developed.
Christopher Columbus brought squash back to Europe from the New World, and like other native American foods, their cultivation was introduced throughout the world by Portuguese and Spanish explorers. Today, the largest commercial producers of squash include China, Japan, Romania, Turkey, Italy, Egypt, and Argentina.
Winter squash, unlike its summer equivalent, provides an outstanding variety of conventional nutrients. Winter squash is an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), a great source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese. In addition, winter squash is a good source of folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin B6, niacin-vitamin B3 and pantothenic acid.
Selection and Storage
Winter squash are at their best from late September to November when they are in season. Winter squash, relatives of both the melon and the cucumber, come in many different varieties. While each type varies in shape, color, size and flavor, they all have hard protective skins that are difficult to pierce that give them a long storage life of up to six months.
Winter squash are prone to decay, so it is important to inspect them carefully before purchase. Choose ones that are firm, heavy for their size and have dull, not glossy, rinds. The rind should be hard as soft rinds may indicate that the squash is watery and lacking in flavor. Avoid those with any signs of decay, which manifest as areas that are water-soaked areas or moldy.
Depending upon the variety, winter squash can be kept for up to six months. They should be kept away from direct exposure to light and should not be subject to extreme heat or extreme cold. The ideal temperature for storing winter squash is between 50-60°F. Once it is cut, cover the pieces of winter squash in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator, where they will keep for one or two days. The best way to freeze winter squash is to first cut it into pieces of suitable size for individual recipes.
With a bounty of nutrition, butternut squash cookies are both delicious and good for you. (And making them gives me yet another delicious excuse to use my Excalibur dehydrator, which is one of my very favorite kitchen tools.)
Raw Butternut Squash Cookies
Adapted from RawFamily.com
- 4 cups peeled butternut squash, chopped into medium sized chunks
- 1 cup raisins
- Juice of 1 orange
- 3-4 Tbsp. raw honey, date paste or maple syrup, OR use 10-12 drops of liquid Stevia, to taste
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- dash of cardamom (optional)
- 1/2 cup butternut squash or pumpkin seeds, soaked for 6 hours (optional)
- In a food processor, blend the chopped butternut squash and transfer to a bowl.
- In a food processor, blend raisins and juice from 1 orange. Transfer to the butternut squash mixture.
- Add the sweetener, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom (optional) and soaked pumpkin seeds (optional) to the butternut squash mixture.
- Mix everything thoroughly.
- Place wax paper or a silicone sheet on your food dehydrator tray.
- Using a scoop or spoon, place balls of the cookie mixture onto the tray until it’s gone.
- Flatten each cookie to about 1/2 inch thick.
- Set the dehydrator to 105 degrees, and leave for 10-12 hours. (You could also dry them in a 180-degree oven for 1-2 hours, but watch them so they don’t dry out too much or burn.)
- Enjoy with an ice cold glass of almond, hemp or raw cow’s milk!
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