Baked Delicata Squash Latkes

I encountered my first potato latke when I was in the second grade. I was absolutely in awe of the room mom who came in to make them for our class. Out of seemingly nowhere, griddles full of steaming hot potato pancakes popped up, replacing our usual worksheets and textbooks. Ummm food in place of work? Sign me up!

After we received our fresh, hot, latke, we were allowed to top it with applesauce or sour cream. I remember thinking that anyone who picked applesauce must be absolutely crazy. I mean, it’s a potato, people! There is only one topping option! Even our principal got in the latke action . . . and he picked applesauce. No. words.

That was the last time I had a latke. Which, in retrospect, is absolutely crazy, given these established facts: 1) I love potatoes. 2) I love fried potatoes. 3) I love sour cream. 4) I love sour cream on potatoes. Sense a theme here?

It took a recipe challenge from the Modern Home Kitchen to start me thinking about latkes again. Get this, though: The ingredient for the challenge was not potato, but rather, squash. Squash! Since I’ve only ever steamed squash, I was equally excited and intimidated by the challenge.

I started thinking about all things squash – squash bowls (adorable), squash and risotto, squash fries, you get the picture. But then. I had a revelation: Squash dessert . . . squash pancakes? SQUASH LATKES! I found out, via a quick Google search, that squash latkes were not an entirely insane idea. I looked at a couple of squash latke recipes before coming up with my own, slightly sweeter version.

I used a Delicata squash, which was one of the three I picked up in Kroger’s $10/10 pounds of fall squash deal. You should’ve seen me rifling through that bin of squash. Or, maybe not. It’s a good thing two of my squash were labeled, too, because I am such a squash amateur that I didn’t even know all of those gourd-shaped things were varieties of squash. Hope you guys like it, though, because I have two more squash to go!

P.S. First one to correctly tell me how many times I used the word squash (it’s an embarrassingly high number) in this post – including the recipe – gets cookies. Seriously.   Continue reading

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Cinnamon-Glazed Pecans and Two Cookie Recipes

Happy Halloween, lovely people!

Have I told you about my sister? I think I’ve let you in on some fun tidbits . . . like how I’m living with her this year, that she owns awesome kitchen gadgets (hellooo food processor), and that I learned all my baking skills from her. Though she’s a lot more organized in the kitchen, believe me. Somehow I missed that tutorial?

But the most important point about her today is that she loves holidays just as much as I do! Which is pretty ridiculous, considering my insane level of holiday cheer (I’m SO excited to break out my Little Miss Christmas shirt!). As lovers of the holidays, one of our favorite things to do is spread the holiday spirit through treat bags.

Why yes, I do actually own this sign. What can I say? I’m a festive person!

This has led to some pretty crazy baking (mis)adventures for us. One time, a day of testing molten lava cakes led to a sugar high for me, followed by a massive headache, resulting in my sister basically force-feeding me dumplings to stabilize my blood sugar as I tried to simply wallow on the couch. True. story. By the way, that was literally the first time I realized that consuming too much sugar could produce such a terrible result. Before that point, I thought people were weak when they talked about getting “sick” from too much candy. Yeah, point taken.

In celebration of Halloween, she decided to make treat bags for her co-workers! And by that I mean, we made treat bags for her co-workers. I may also have eaten some of the cookies (and I also tested the pecans just for quality purposes). However, that’s really not the point.

The point is, treat bags are delicious, sorta nutritious, and totally brighten the days of the recipients! Especially if they are bestowed with cute little treat tags tied on with ribbon. The treat tag pictures, by the way, are most definitely not my work. Way too profesh (from here). These are super adaptable for all seasons/holidays as well.

For the bags, we decided to make the cinnamon-glazed pecans that my best friend Hannah and I tested out this past weekend! If you’re buying these from a vendor/store, stop it right now. As Hannah put it, “Man, we’ve been getting ripped off for years!” Because these pecans are quite easy to make at home. Though we tried out a recipe using brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice, I would actually recommend just using brown sugar and cinnamon. Hannah tried this simpler version at home and gave it mad props.

We also made two kinds of cookies. One cookie is based off these award-winning chocolate chip cookies that I adapted in my very first post. These are, as I said, my very favorite chocolate chip cookies – so ridiculous soft and melty! For the second, we tried out these amazing Peanut Butter Cup Pudding Cookies. There’s really no going wrong with chocolate and peanut butter, and these were just about perfect. Simply based on my own tastes, I’ve slightly increased the pudding amount in my version below (more chocolate always), and changed up the ratio of white to brown sugar.

What are you waiting for? Make treats, eat treats, trick or treat . . . whatever you do, I wish you a safe and happy Halloween!

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