You Say Butternut Squash...I Say Doughnut

My sweet friend Stephanie came over the other night with red beans and rice for dinner and a big butternut squash from her garden. Leave it to me to find a completely unhealthy use for such a vitamin rich vegetable.

But I can definitely boast that if you were ever to have a doughnut, this would be the healthiest of them all. They are baked, not fried and loaded with gorgeous orange squash puree.
I have a couple more butternut squash recipes up my sleeve I'll share in coming days. Bring out the loose fitting sweat pants!

Butternut Squash Baked Doughnuts
adapted from Fifteen Spatulas

1 cup mashed butternut squash puree ( I baked the squash upside down, skin on, and scooped out the soft pulp)
3Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/4 tsp. instant dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon (you could also use nutmeg in addition, or in replacement)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 egg yolks
3.5 cups flour, more for rolling

Melt the butter, and set aside to cool.
Heat the milk to warm. Put in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl to mix by hand. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk and let sit for 5 minutes until bloomed. Add the sugar, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, nutmeg, and whisk to combine. Add the mashed sweet potato, butter, egg and egg yolks, and beat until well combined.

Change to the dough hook or get a good arm workout. Add the flour. Mix at medium for 2 minutes, then increase the speed up to medium high and knead until a soft dough forms and the dough pulls away from the sides about 5-7 minutes. (I enjoy kneading dough, so I did this by hand for a good 5 minutes) If it doesn’t pull together, add a little bit more flour.
Dump the dough out onto a floured countertop or into another large bowl (it will be soft and sticky), form it into a loose ball, and let it rise for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to about 1 inch thick.

Using a circle cutter (or a mason jar ring ;), gently cut out circles and poke the middles to make holes ( I used the cover for my candy thermometer). Place the doughnuts on parchment paper lined sheet pans, and let them rise another 2 hours, covered with plastic wrap or a cloth kitchen towel.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the doughnuts for 10 minutes, until they have risen and are golden brown. Depending on the thickness of your doughnuts, this may take more or less time. Just keep an eye on them.

While the doughnuts are baking, make a basic cinnamon sugar topping by melting the butter in one bowl, and whisking the sugar and cinnamon in another. While the doughnuts are hot out of the oven, dip them in the butter, then immediately toss in the cinnamon sugar.

Additionally you can make a quick maple glaze by mixing melted butter and confectioners sugar to a thick Elmer's glue like consistency. Add a drizzle of maple syrup and mix again. Dip the warm doughnuts in the glaze.