Spiced butternut squash waffles

Butternut squash adds a delicious seasonal flavor to waffles. Serve them for a weekend breakfast as a special treat.

The Garden of Eating
To make your butternut waffles extra light, beat the egg whites before adding to the batter.

I'm so turned off by the way Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte has paved the way for the commercialization of autumn that I've tended to avoid all things "pumpkin-spiced." But I had some extra puréed roasted butternut squash leftover from making the pie last week and I woke up crazy early as a result of the time change so I decided to try my hand at these waffles. And you know what? They're so good!

The ingredients are simple and wholesome – puréed winter squash (you can use pumpkin, hubbard, delicata, etc., if you don't have butternut on hand), eggs, butter, milk, spices, vanilla, a little sugar and some oil. There's a bit of measuring and mixing and a little separating of egg whites from yolks – a task I always find immensely satisfying.

You beat the egg whites to help add a bit of lightness to the waffles though if you are in a hurry, you could definitely skip that step and the results would still be extremely tasty. Once you've got it all mixed together, fold the egg whites in at the very end.

I greased the little waffle iron I got to replace the one our little guy broke using my foolproof method to protect its non-stick coating, watched the deliciously scented steam rise, and waited for that little light to turn green. The first waffle went to my 2-year-old who LOVES waffles and, as a result, freaks out and screams/whines from the time he hears the word "waffle" until one is sitting on his plate. He began happily dipping the waffle pieces in "memp" which is what our family calls maple syrup since our older son dubbed it a few years back, before his talking was totally up to speed.

I didn't get to sample them for a good 10 minutes but it was worth the wait. In addition to their beautiful color, these waffles have a delicious, subtle, richness from the roasted squash that's amplified by the mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. They're especially decadent with maple syrup and some sausage.

Spiced Butternut Squash Waffles
Adapted from Andrea Chesman's pumpkin waffles in "Recipes from the Root Cellar"
Serves 4-6

1-1/2 cups cooked, pureed winter squash (you can use pumpkin, butternut, delicata, hubbard, red kuri, etc., and you can either steam or roast it before mashing)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups organic milk
4 tablespoons organic butter
3/4 cup sunflower oil
2 eggs, separated (try to find pasture-raised eggs from a farm near you)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons organic sugar
1 teaspoon  pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pure maple syrup for serving

1. Preheat your waffle iron and turn your oven or toaster oven to 200 degrees F. to keep the waffles warm as they come off the iron.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine the puréed squash, milk, oil, butter, vanilla and egg yolks. In a third, small bowl, beat the egg whites until they're stiff.

3. Stir the flour mixture into the squash mixture and mix well, then fold in the egg whites.

4. Grease your waffle iron then spoon about 1/3 cup of batter into it if you have a single waffle iron or into each waffle area if you have a bigger waffle maker. Cook until ready, according to your waffle iron's settings. Keep the waffles warm in the oven until ready to serve. Serve with plenty of maple syrup and some fake or real breakfast sausage.

Related post on The Garden of Eating: How to grease your waffle iron

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