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How to prepare butternut squash for use in baked goods

Use caution when cutting open a tough-skinned squash.
Use caution when cutting open a tough-skinned squash.

Start with fresh squash for better flavor in baked goods. 

Butternut squash is a great replacement for pumpkin. Its sweet, light taste is, in my opinion, superior to pumpkin in baked goods because it doesn’t taste “squashy.” 

If you have guests that don’t like pumpkin pie, chances are excellent that, like me, they’ll scarf down the butternut squash version. 


1 medium-size butternut squash
Preheat oven to 350°
Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. 
Scoop out the seeds and membrane and discard. 
Lay the squash cut-side up on a baking pan.  
Bake about 1 hour or until the squash yields to fingertip pressure. 
Remove from the oven and cool 1 hour or until it is safe to handle with your hands.  
Using a large metal spoon, scoop the cooked squash out of its skin into the work bowl of your food processor or blender. 
Puree for 30-60 seconds until the cooked squash is smooth. 
Store refrigerated in a covered container until you are ready to use.  
Cook’s notes: 
  • Line your baking pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup. 
  • Don’t worry if the squash browns while baking. The caramelized sugars add to the flavor. Baking produces a much more flavorful filling than the steamed or boiled product you find in a can from the grocery store. 
  • A medium squash yields 1½ to 2 cups of pureed squash – more than enough for a deep-dish 9-inch pie or this butternut squash cookie recipe. 
  • Use caution when cutting the raw squash. It is very firm and the skin is tough. It will resist your knife and punish you with an emergency room visit and stitches if you’re not paying attention. 
  • Combine a butternut squash filling with pecan shortbread for a fabulous alternative to pie. These cookie bars travel well and are suitable for potlucks and holiday brunch. 


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