Small town life is growing on me. Though I've only lived here for two months, it feels longer. The town is modest, with only a few main roads, so getting around has been simple. I've settled in quickly, my new job as a high school teacher introducing me to a hundred fresh names and faces. In fact, lately it seems I can scarcely leave the house without running into a familiar face.
Familiarity is comfort.
Last weekend I went to buy groceries as I do each week, pulling items off shelves and gathering them in my red basket. As I approached the checkout, the woman working greeted me, complimenting me on how my hair always seems to be in place, no matter the day. As my basket emptied, she stopped on a lone chocolate bar, pointing out how she always seems to find one buried in my basket. Good for you, she said. You know how to treat yourself.
Our society has become so anonymous, it feels strange to be recognized. To be a friendly face and to have a story, even if it is as simple as my love for dark chocolate.
Since the advent of fall and all its cool weather, I've gravitated towards hearty dinners. A recent choice includes butternut squash mash, smoked sausage, and roasted mushrooms. After dining on it for two consecutive days, I decided it needed a new component, lest I grow tired of my new favorite. Instead of turning the entire squash into a mash, I saved a little of the puree and made biscuits.
Seasonal and spiced, the flavor melded well with my dinner. With a spread of cream cheese, an old mealtime favorite turned into something new.
Butternut Squash Biscuits bring the taste of autumn to the traditional biscuit. Pureed butternut squash puree is mixed into biscuit dough and seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The lightly sweetened biscuits have a savory flair, pairing well with comfort food such as soups and potato dishes. For tall and flaky biscuits, follow these biscuit tips and tricks!
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Butternut Squash Biscuits
Yields 10-12 biscuits
1 3/4 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 grams) butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup (130 grams) butternut squash puree**
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender or your hands until mixture resembles coarse sand. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together squash puree, egg, vanilla, and heavy cream. Pour over the biscuit batter and lightly mix until the dough comes together. The dough will be somewhat sticky.
Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface, form a circle, and flatten it until it is about 3/4-inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter, carefully cut out biscuits. Transfer to a baking sheet using a flat spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Serve warm, with a spread of butter, jam, or cream cheese.
**To make butternut squash puree, roast a butternut squash in a 400 degree F (205 degrees C) oven for 25-30 minutes, or until fork tender. Peel the squash and place into a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth. Drain out any excess moisture.