Butternut-Maple Butter and Spiced Maple Scones

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A couple weeks ago I was at a farmers’ market and I couldn’t help but stock up on winter squash. (Don’t blame me though…who could turn down a beautiful sugar pumpkin for $1?!) I also got a gorgeous, nearly four-pound butternut squash for under $2. And maybe the best part (even though it isn’t squash), was a huge (and I do mean huge…it was also almost four pounds!) rutabaga that I picked up for $1!

When you buy more than you can use, you’re basically at the point where a bargain is no longer a bargain. Luckily, this was not the case since all the things I bought are easy to process and preserve for later. (Even the rutabaga! I peeled it up, cubed it, flash froze it, and then packed it in freezer-safe containers for later use. But that’s a chat for later, right now we’re talking about that gorgeous butternut.)

Speaking of butternut, if you like pumpkin butter, oh boy do I have a treat for you today.

Pureed butternut squash tastes very similar to pumpkin puree, but I find butternut to be ever-so-slightly richer, sweeter, and nuttier tasting. I find that butternut also has a creamier texture and is a bit less stringy. Because of this, it stands to reason that butternut would make a superior butter. (Something very interesting, did you know that some manufacturers of canned pumpkin actually include a mixture of winter squashes along with pumpkin – perhaps for these very reasons? For more info on it, check out Canned Pumpkin: What is it Really Made Of?on The Kitchn. Incidentally, I remember when I was a kid my mom telling me about how most canned pumpkin products aren’t really 100% canned pumpkin…she was pretty outraged about it and would go out of her way to make sure she was purchasing a product that was only 100% pumpkin. This just made me think of that, lol.)

Maple and warm spices accentuate the natural flavor notes of butternut, but what would a lovely butternut butter be without something to spread it on? Toast is good, scones are better.

I bumped up the maple flavor in these scones by not only using pure maple syrup as the (subtle) sweetener, but also by using a little bit of maple extract. I’ve tried two brands of maple flavor/extract; a natural flavoring from Frontier Natural Products Co-Op and an imitation extract from J.R. Watkins. In my experience, the natural flavoring is less than $2 more, so if you can find it I would go for that one; if it isn’t available, I’ve seen the imitation extract everywhere (even at Walmart!) and it is still a pretty great product.

I served both the Butternut-Maple Butter and the Spiced Maple Scones as part of my Autumnal Afternoon Tea. This is my contribution to this month’s 5 Star Makeover – our theme is squash! A huge thank-you to Laz and Natasha for hosting the event!

Butternut-Maple Butter and Spiced Maple Scones
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: Yields about 5 cups of Butternut Maple Butter and 8 smallish scones
Butternut-Maple Butter:
  • 1 (3½ to 4 lb) whole butternut squash
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Spiced Maple Scones:
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons milk (any kind you like), divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 cup plus 3-6 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
Butternut-Maple Butter:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F; line a baking sheet that’s large enough to hold your squash with foil. If there’s any dirt on the outside of the squash, give it a rinse and pat it dry. Poke several holes in various spots around the squash. Roast the squash on the prepared pan until it’s very tender and a paring knife easily pierces the squash and slips right out. (My squash was 3 lb 10 oz and it took 90 minutes to roast.) Let the squash cool a bit and then cut it in half the long way. Scoop out the seeds, saving them to roast if you want, and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Transfer the flesh to a food processor (working in batches if it doesn’t all fit at once), and process until smooth. (You should get about 2 lbs of squash puree.)
  2. Add the pureed squash to a medium saucepan along with all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring almost constantly. Once simmering, turn heat down to low and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly (it will thicken more upon cooling). Taste a little bit (careful, it’s hot!) and adjust the sweetness and spices according to your tastes (for the whole batch, I add ½ cup regular sugar if I’m making it for my mom who likes it very sweet; then I cook it about 1 minute more to dissolve the sugar).
  3. Process through canning, or store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.
Spiced Maple Scones:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, 3 tablespoons milk (reserving 1 tablespoon to brush on top before baking), vanilla, and maple extract; set aside.
  2. Whisk together 1 cup flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Use a fork to cut the butter into the flour until it looks like coarse meal and you have a few pieces the size of peas. Mix in the maple syrup mixture, then knead in 3 to 6 tablespoons flour (just enough flour so the dough comes together nicely).
  3. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a ball and flatten each into a disk about 3½ to 4-inches in diameter; wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours (overnight is fine).
  4. Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner. Cut each disk of dough into 4 equal pieces (so you have 8 scones total). Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet and lightly brush the tops with the reserved 1 tablespoon milk. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm with Butternut-Maple Butter.
Roasting a Whole Squash: For step-by-step photos of how to roast a whole squash, please check out this post.

Update, 10/25/2012: Regarding the Butternut-Maple Butter, one commenter below mentioned that it isn’t safe to can pumpkin butter even with pressure canning because of the density. I am not an expert on canning so I don’t know if this is true for sure, but it is always better to be safe. Anyway, this Butternut- Maple Butter keeps well stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks (and I’ve also had success freezing it for longer periods), so that might be the better option.

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  1. Letty K says

    Hey Faith, I have a question… for canning the butternut squash butter, I am assuming that it would need to be pressure canned because of low acidity?

    • says

      Letty, Yes, that’s what I was thinking also. I didn’t can it myself, I divvied it up into small jars and gave it to friends and family, telling them to keep it in the fridge. :)

  2. says

    DROOOOOL! You know I was looking forward to these :) I bet all that maple syrup makes them just amazing. I have to make breakfast for tailgating this weekend- I may be making these!!!!

  3. says

    Yum, the Butternut-Maple Butter and Spiced Maple Scones looks so good. What a bargain at those prices! I avoid canned pumpkin…to me it is the equivalent of buying a cake mix. Definitely the butternut would change the texture and taste experience.

  4. says

    Wow, what a nice way to use the butternut squash…must taste delicious with the maple syrup…and it pairs perfectly with your scones.
    Hope you are having a fabulous week Faith :)

  5. says

    Yum! I think I’ve heard the same thing about canned pumpkin, and from experience, I think it’s true. Canned pumpkin always tastes milder and sweeter than the pie pumpkins I’ve processed. This butternut butter sounds wonderful, and looks like the perfect complement to your delicious scones! :)

  6. says

    Wow- that butternut-maple butter looks insane. I definitely will be making it sometime within the next week or two. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  7. says

    seeing a comment above, from what i looked into last year, canning pumpkin butter isn’t safe, even in a pressure canner b/c of the density. although i’m just learning about all that now so I’m not 100% positive!

    this looks simply fabulous, and who knew that 100% pure pumpkin wasn’t all pumpkin?! those scones are the perfect vehicle for butternut butter… wishing i had one for my afternoon snack :)

  8. says

    I grew pumpkins and baked and pureed them for years (after draining them!). The smallest were the best. I am learning a lot about squash on this challenge and love kabocha now. I haven’t used canned pumpkins in decades!

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