As I live with my Sister we are sharing baking tips and enjoying each others cooking and baking.  I’m going to share with you something my Sister shared with me.  It is fantastic.  I don’t know why, but I have never asked here where she heard of this idea or if she just tried it out one day.  Maybe she will comment and let us know!  Maybe you already know this trick, but just in case you don’t here it is:

Use pumpkin instead of butter in your baking!

Yup, you got it.  Pumpkin instead of butter.  Crazy!  How does it work?  I don’t know but it is a healthier alternative and adds a nice taste (which most of the time you can’t even tell there is pumpkin in the baking).

First you will need to get your hands on a pumpkin.  I recommend going to a local farmer or pumpkin patch and buy (stealing is not good) a nice sized pumpkin.  If you do a little research you will be able to find a local farmer close by.  (If you are in K-W or C-Bridge I know where you can get one – so no excuses that you can’t find one.)

Once you get your pumpkin at home, cut it into quarters.  Heat your oven up to 350.  Then put the pumpkin pieces onto cookie sheets with parchment paper (easier cleanup after).  You might have to bake the pumpkin in batches depending on how big your pumpkin and oven are.

Now that your pumpkin is snug in the oven, bake for about an hour or until the pumpkin is soft.

Pull out the pumpkin (Don’t forget your oven mitts!  It’s hot!) and let cool until you can work with it.  Spoon out the pumpkin into a bowl.  At this point there are two options.  You can puree the pumpkin in a blender or just mix it around in the bowl with a fork (the second option will not be as smooth as the first).  This really depends on your preference.

Once you have pureed or mixed with a fork it’s time to measure, bag, and freeze.  My sister chose to measure in 2 cup portions.  She then zip locked it and put it in the freezer.  This way she can pull out a bag and it will probably last for the week in our baking.  (We like having muffins around and they don’t last long.)  Now it is ready to use in any of your baking.

I have had banana muffins and peanut butter cookies using the pumpkin as a substitute and it is great.  At first I thought it was some kind of special thing that my sister made and bottled and put extra things in the pumpkin.  Then I found out her trick and how easy it is.  As long as we have the pumpkin, I will use it this way!

Other butter substitutes:  apple sauce, banana, oil (although not oil for muffins – tends to go to bottom of muffin) and you may know other substitutes for butter.  If you do, drop a line and let us know!

Other use for the baked pumpkin:  pumpkin spice for lattes (mmmmm)  I have a recipe.  I’ll have to see if my friend doesn’t mind me sharing.

Don’t forget to save the pumpkin seeds and bake them for a nice healthy snack.  For a good recipe go to: Pumpkin Seeds There are other recipes and variations.  I did not use Worcester sauce.   I just used oil and some kind of spices.  Be creative!  They are tasty.

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