When life gives you failed whipped butternut squash,
make cake butternut squash cake cookies.
Prepare yourself, today’s post is sort of stream of consciousness:
It’s been well over a month since I’ve developed a recipe specifically for JSA and it feels weird and good at the same time. It felt weird to be going place to place, with noÂ strict routine or stable timeframes to work on recipes for JSA. After I came back from camp, I went straight to Ottawa to see Chris, then came back to volunteer for the Veg Food Fest. Sleep deprived, and mentally and physically exhausted after 2 weeks of camp and a week of driving and running around,Â I tried played catch-up for work. And then,Â that weekend I had the BIGGEST party of my entire life and it was crazy. Forty people crammed into my smallÂ 2 bedroom apartment. It was like first year uni all over again, except the people at my party actually knew me and wanted to talk to me. It was such an odd feeling, to be surrounded by so many people that I love.
This is probably over-share/you probably don’t care, but that was the first time for many of my long-time friends to meet Chris and I remember being fairly tipsy and just going up to a couple people saying, “DID YOU MEET CHRIS YET?! I LOVE HIM.” Most of my Toronto friends didn’tÂ have the chance to meet Chris yet because he was either in Ottawa or back home in Northern Ontario so he’s kind of been this questionably existing enigma because all people hear of him are stories. Especially since he refuses to have any sort of online presence at all, but hey. I’m a bloody food blogger. I think I have enough online presence for the both of us, and then some.
Now to get a little meta on you guys:
The past month I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about JSA, and what I want to do moving forward. There are people who blog for a living, and that’s awesome, but I don’t think that’s in the cards for me. I blog about my life and what I eat. If all I do is blog, what is there to write about?Â Once upon a time, I woke up and baked cookies. Then I burned myself, took photos of them, then ate them. TA DA new post?
Naw. I need a life outside of the blog for this to be at all interesting to both you readers out there and myself to keep it up. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to be a food photographer, or heck even a portrait photographer for the rest of my life (I’ll go into more detail about the portrait photography I’ve been doing later), but for now, I’m happily working in the food marketing industry and doing JSA on the side.
When I came back from camp, all I wanted to do was eat rice and pizza. Because two weeks without decent rice makes the Asian in me cry tears of sadness, and let’s be real, pizza is awesome. Especially vegan pizza from my pal Mandy. I ate copious amounts of vegan ramen noodles I discovered at the Veg Food Fest and frozen meals I had prepared earlier this summer for lazy days… or weeks I guess since I got back from camp three weeks ago.
Since the summer, these cookies have been the first thing I’ve baked just for the sake of baking. No birthday, no sponsored post, no recipe development, just cookies that I want to shove into my face. I tried making a whipped butternut squash side dish for the upcoming Thanksgiving (because it’s in October in Canada) but it didn’t turn out the way I wanted. Roasted squash has a watery and still squash-y texture, not as smooth and silky as I wanted. In any case, it makes an excellent binder in cookies and cake, so I thought, why the heck not turn these into cookies?
Even though I call them butternut squash cake cookies, they mostly just taste like pumpkin spice. A little cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, and allspice makes the red leaves and cooler weather cozier and even better. I stand by the statement that fall is the best season.
I refuse to listen to you summer or spring advocates. Summer is too hot and humid, spring is okay temperature-wise but all the snow melting is gross: nothing but dirt, salt, and mud everywhere.
And nobody exceptÂ Chris likes winter. I like winter in places where winter isn’t a polar vortex of icy wind and sadness. AKA not in Toronto.
Anyway, I digress. These cookies are pretty fantastic. This frosting was leftover from the cupcakes I baked for my epic joint birthday party with my roommate, so that’s why it makes 4 cups. Half the recipe, 1/4 the recipe if you want, but personally that’s too much minuscule measuring when I could have 4 cups of frosting to smother over anything I dream of.
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosted Butternut Squash Cake Cookies
For the cream cheese frosting***
- 225 g vegan cream cheese (I used Daiya plain), room temperature
- 3/4 cup vegan butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp soy milk
- 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
For the cookies
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup butternut squash purÃ©e (I roasted the squash and purÃ©ed it)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
To make the frosting:
- Using an electric mixer (stand or hand), beat the cream cheese for about a minute just to break it up. Add the room temperature vegan butter and beat until light and creamy. Add in vanilla extract, and soy milk, and beat in the icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time until your frosting is light and fluffy. Set aside.
For the cookies:
- Preheat oven at 350F.
- Mix together oil, butternut squash purÃ©e and sugar and mix until incorporated.
- Stir in cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice.
- Sift in baking powder, salt, and flour and stir until incorporated.
- Scoop out 3 tbsp sized dollops to make the cookies. Use a wet fork to flatten the cookies so that they bake more evenly.
- Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, frost with vegan cream cheese icing.
**This recipe makes about 4 cups of frosting. I used most of it to frost a cake but I had just over a cup leftover, which I used to frost these cookies. If you have leftover frosting, it kept well in my fridge for about 2 weeks in a clean jar).
Katie @ Produce on Parade says
Glad you’re back! Girl, these cookies need to get in my belly! How are they without the frosting? I’m always too lazy for frosting. Also, I am like Chris, I like winter! :D It’s okay if you need a life outside the blog, I feel the same way :)
Lisa Le says
Hahah well I guess it’s a good thing you like winter given where you live! I don’t mind winter when I’m prepared for it haha. But Toronto winter is miserable and salty.
It’s good without the frosting, but they might be a little dry. Er… well not dry, the cookies are quite fluffy and moist thanks to the squash, but they’re very much like cake. Cake is delicious, but I find it needs a little frosting. Does that make sense?
Lisa Le says
Haha cream cheese frosting should never go to waste. That’s just like a crime against the tastebuds.
Could an equivalent amount of gluten-free flour be used? Or would the amount of flour need to change?
These look like the perfect Thanksgiving cookie, but my husband’s step-mom is GF.
Lisa Le says
If you’re using an GF AP flour blend, from what I can tell, you can replace it cup for cup. =)
These sound and look delicious. I love that you made these cookies just because, which I also find rare these days when constantly trying to create something new for the blog. Bring back the joy you had when you first started! Those are the best days in the kitchen, for sure.
These are amazing! I love baking with squash and pumpkin, but every cookie recipe I tried was either too “cakey” or didn’t have enough squash/pumpkin flavor. Thanks for sharing your baking brilliance.
Lisa Le says
Glad you enjoyed them! I need to remake these cookies soon, they were good XD