When Starbucks announces the release of their fall flavors, it does something to the air. Something about that pumpkin spice changes some people fundamentally. While many love a good pumpkin spice latte or a warm apple pie, there are some fall flavors that get left out of the hype. Squash, the broader category that includes pumpkin, can be used in a bunch of fall staples due to its unique savory taste. So, let’s shed some light on the little lumpy guys for once.
It seems as if autumn is the one time of year where students are eager to whip out the cookware. The season unleashes the inner chef in everyone as autumn-inspired dishes flood our timelines. Fall staples, like pumpkin and squash are indispensable; the two fruits are remarkably versatile with endless dishes deriving from them every season. Need some inspiration for an upcoming autumn feast? Here are three squash and pumpkin infused recipes that are sure to charm up your dinner table this season.
Perfect Pumpkin Cupcakes
Cupcakes are the ideal mini-but-mighty dessert. Their simplicity and size is great for small gatherings. Mix the ingredients, pop ’em in the oven and voila — a scrumptious fall snack.
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 cups flour
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
Option cream cheese frosting:
- 2/3 cup softened butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, sift the sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla.
- Combine the pumpkin mixture and the flour mixture. Stir until fully blended.
- Fill the liners ¾ full with batter.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Test for readiness by inserting a toothpick in the center of a cupcake. Repeat until toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool and enjoy.
For the frosting:
- Using a standard mixer, beat butter until smooth. Medium speed is recommended. Add cream cheese and beat on same speed until creamy. Make sure to scrape sides of the bowl.
- Beat in salt and vanilla.
- Sift powdered sugar in a separate bowl.
- On low speed, add the powdered sugar to the mixer. Once fully combined, increase speed.
- Using a piping bag, or Ziploc with one corner cut off, pipe frosting over cupcakes. Decorate as you please.
Calabaza, also known as the “West Indian Pumpkin” is the ideal recipe for those craving an Autumn twist on Miami’s Caribbean fusion.
- ½ Calabaza, cut into 1 inch strips
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- ½ tbsp honey
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 2 ½–3 tbsp canola oil
- Pinch of salt or kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp cumin
- Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk ingredients in a small bowl to create the dressing. Don’t mix in cilantro; reserve for before serving cooked squash.
- Cut squash in half, vertically.
- Remove seeds from each half. You can save them; roast them for a light, healthy snack later.
- Slice half the squash into one inch pieces. Keep the skin on while peeling for seamless cutting.
- Brush a light amount of dressing over each side of squash. Place on the parchment paper. Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Place in oven and roast 20–25 minutes. Inserting a toothpick or fork to test completion. If it comes out clean and the squash is soft, it’s ready.
- Transfer squash to a plate.
- Add cilantro to dressing, then spoon over the warm squash. Sprinkle a bit of finishing salt or kosher salt and serve.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with the seasoning. Add rosemary to bring about a sage-herbal flavor or spice it up with chili powder.
Spiced Maple-Glazed Roasted Squash
Calling all sweet tooth enthusiasts: this final recipe is sure to satisfy all cravings and serves as the ultimate Thanksgiving desert.
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled into one inch cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp pure maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Divide cubed butternut squash across two baking sheets.
- Sprinkle olive oil, pumpkin pie spice and salt over the squash on the two baking sheets. Toss coated squash to fully coat. Spread squash cubes evenly out on the baking sheets.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven to flip and toss squash. Bake for an additional 10–15 minutes, or until squash is toasted and caramelized. Remove from oven and toss with maple syrup before serving.
Not a maple-syrup lover? No problem. Swap syrup for brown sugar for an equally sweet treat.
words_kaya langley. photo_kelsie bernard. design_marita gavioti.
This article was published in Distraction’s Fall 2023 print issue.
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