Butternut Spice Cookies

These little bite-sized cookies are a Sweet Digz Farm adaptation of a classic pumpkin spice recipe.  Sweetened with maple syrup, you’d never know they’re vegan & sugar free! A mini butternut squash makes about 2 to 3 recipes worth.  **You can substitute acorn, carnival (a type of acorn), or kabocha in this recipe too.

Makes approx 25 bite-sized cookies.

Dry Ingredients:
• 1 cup spelt or all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
• 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
• 1/2 tsp ground flax seed
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/2 to 1 tsp (to taste) of: nutmeg, cloves, & ground ginger

Wet Ingredients:
• 3/4 cup winter squash puree
• 3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil (slightly melted)
• 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave syrup
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preparation
1. Prepare squash puree so it’s roasting while you prepare other ingredients – cut butternut in half lengthwise and roast in 1” of water, face-down for about 20 minutes or until soft (425 degrees). Once cooled, scoop pulp out of skin, or peel skin off. Mash with a fork, or puree with a blender.
2. Let oven cool to 350 degrees.
3. Pre-melt coconut oil, but only partially as it will blend better with the squash this way.
4. Stir together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
5. In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients.
6. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated and let sit for 5 minutes (this lets the flax thicken up as an egg replacer).
7. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto a prepared baking sheet. Lightly press balls with the back of a fork to slightly flatten. Space cookies about 1 inch apart.
8. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes.

Notes
• Do not over-bake – these are meant to be slightly moist, and actually are way better the next day, once the oil & squash have fully cooled & solidified.
• The ground flax and squash puree serve as “egg replacers”, giving the binding properties.