Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving and we had a full house. The older I get, the more I appreciate holidays like Thanksgiving- lots of good food and drink, lots of family (but just over a long weekend so no one starts pushing each others buttons yet), and no one has to buy gifts, decorate, or wear anything but stretchy pants and a hoodie (thus negating one’s need to even wear a proper bra. Amazing.)
It also means I had a house full of taste testers for my next batch of recipes, a fact I took full advantage of, even after the over-the-top gluttony-fest that was Sunday dinner.
If you’ve read any of my other recipes, you’ll know I love love love using produce I grow myself. The rainbow carrots in my garden have grown huge and sweet and were a big hit over turkey dinner, but now I have to shift my focus again to use up the abundance of butternut squash growing off my vines. I have so many butternuts and they are all rather massive. It’s a good problem to have.
If I didn’t run a food blog, I would probably just whiz up some soup, make a couple galettes and call it a day. Alas, that is one of the added benefits of documenting my foodie adventures online- it keeps me moving forward and prevents continuous repeats of the same (albeit beloved) recipes. I keep learning, discovering and perfecting.
I have been making butternut squash bread for ages; it’s a seasonal favourite of mine. The off-sweet dough is chewy and melt-in-your-mouth soft- it reminds me a lot of brioche- and is simply heavenly topped with any variety of holiday spreads, cheeses or jams.
This time, I decided to play a bit with the recipe and create a post-Thanksgiving ‘Oktoberfest lunch’ for the family (beer included, obviously… it was a holiday Monday and there was a Harry Potter marathon on the Space channel. We had a lot of hours ahead of us.)
I love a good dipping sauce. In my opinion, any food you can dip is a winner in my books. In lieu of a rich beer-cheese sauce, I opted for a lighter and tangier mustard based sauce. Adding a bit of apple cider vinegar gives the sauce body and kick while leaving that classic fall cider flavour linger on the palette, complimenting the sweet earthiness from the butternut squash. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a cinch to whip together (I’m making more just to add to my leftover turkey sandwiches this week, yum!).
I used unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in this because I find it has a lot more flavour than the pasteurized stuff. Furthermore, my nutritionist friend tells me it’s healthier- pasteurization kills of all those nutrients and organisms that make it so good for you. Win-win!
|Butternut Squash Soft Pretzels with Dijon Apple Cider Sauce|| |
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp warm water
- 1 cup mashed cooked butternut squash
- 2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup milk
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup baking soda
- 3 cups water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten + ½ tsp water (egg wash)
- ⅓ cup dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- In a small bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Set aside until foamy.
- Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, combine squash, milk, butter, salt, egg, brown sugar, sage and 2 cups flour. Add additional flour slowly as needed until a soft dough forms. Remove the paddle attachment and replace it with the dough hook and kneed until smooth and elastic, roughly 8-10 minutes. If the dough is sticking, sprinkle additional flour in as needed.
- Place kneaded dough in a bowl and coat lightly with olive oil. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. Punch dough down and divide into 6 pieces.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. (You may add more vinegar to taste, I love the flavour and it cuts the richness of the pretzels so wonderfully!)
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a long rope. Tie into a pretzel shape and place on the parchment covered baking sheet.
- In a small bowl mix the egg wash together and brush over each pretzel.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, until pretzels are golden. Serve warm with dijon cider dipping sauce.