Delicata Squash with Brown Butter & Cocoa Nibs

Squash with Brown Butter and Nibs //

There was a bit of hesitation before I decided to post this recipe. Perhaps because it was so far from what I originally intended to post. I thought in its place I’d talk about walnuts. Having just returned from a trip learning about the process of harvesting they happen to be fresh on my mind. In my plans there was pumpkin yogurt alongside butter-toasted walnuts and then a drizzle of olive oil over the whole lot. There’s still time for that too.

The hesitation could also come from the simplicity of this recipe; it’s really no more than sliced squash roasted with a whisper of sugar then sprinkled with butter browned until nutty and dark. But then there are cocoa nibs – which I realize may not be in everyone’s pantry. So then I worry that this quickly becomes a “fussy” recipe; one that requires a trip to the store and possibly a few mumbled curse words when you get excited to start cooking and then realize you don’t have all its parts. I’d hate for a recipe to be a bother.

But I’m here with squash and cocoa nibs because when I took a bite it gave me a pause and a few flutters of delight which then ignites the instinct to share it with someone else.

If I’m completely honest, hesitation and I have become perhaps too good of friends lately. There is often a pause, just long enough for the action to stop and the voices of doubt to creep in but in this case those voices just seemed crazy, even to me. Because really, who wouldn’t mind another recipe for squash particularly when chocolate (or its roasted bean) is involved?

Squash with Brown Butter and Nibs // Squash with Brown Butter and Nibs //

To remove any sort of the fussiness let’s go ahead and say that although nibs do really play a staring role here perhaps toasted, ummmm WALNUTS might do nicely in their place?! Or pecans. You know what, maybe even peanuts with cilantro scattered on top?! I think you get the idea.

I’m partial to Delicata squash because I love that it doesn’t require peeling. In fact once out of the oven that skin is crisp enough to be pleasant against the softness of the flesh and tender enough to be delicious. But really any squash will do.

It is just the sort of recipe that is simple enough to sit alongside Wednesday’s roast chicken but worthy of snuggling up right next to your holiday bird. Leftovers turn a humble bed of peppery greens into a not-so-humble salad.

Squash with Brown Butter and Nibs //

Delicata Squash with Brown Butter & Cocoa Nibs

Serves 4 to 6 side servings

The recipe comes from the newly released book, Theo Chocolate which includes all sorts of intriguing sweet and savory recipes that highlight chocolate. The Nibby Crackers are also a favorite. So the lesson of the day is: cocoa nibs are indeed a pantry staple.


1 winter squash (about 2 pounds), halved and seeded*

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt*

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 generous tablespoon (about 1/4 ounces) roasted cocoa nibs

flake salt


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cut the Delicata into 1/2-inch half moons.

Add the squash to a sheet tray and drizzle on the olive oil, kosher salt, and brown sugar. Toss well to coat.

Roast until the squash is tender and the edges are nicely browned, about 30 minutes.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook until the foam subsides, you start to see brown specks at the bottom of the pan, and the butter smells nutty. Add the cocoa nibs and cook for 10 seconds just to warm them through, then spoon the mixture over the squash and serve immediately.

*I used two small Delicata squash and actually a bit less kosher salt then listed but added a crunchy flake salt at the end.

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Apple Cider Fritters with Cider Glaze

Apple Cider Fritters //


Homemade donuts mark an occasion. They call out the day and deem it special simply because of their presence.

I love how food can do this; how it can turn an ordinary Sunday into something significant because of what is on the table. There are some celebrations such as birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries that ask the food to help illuminate the occasion and then there are the days, like today, where I ask the food to give us reason to pause, say thanks for all the good and to help set it apart from the others that passed without us really noticing.

Donuts, even in their humble beginnings, have this sort of power. Anytime a yeasted dough is involved I find a sudden reverence for the process because so much of it is out of my hands. I add a few things to the bowl, use the same folding, smooshing, turning and pushing technique my mom taught me and her mom taught her and then I wait. I wait for the dough to rise, always a bit anxious because of my lack of control. Please rise, please rise, please. I plead.

A hot pot of oil also gives us the occasion. While I probably fry at home more often than most, it’s not everyday and that alone is reason for us to see this day, a day of donuts, as different.

Apple Cider Fritters // Apple Cider Fritters //

So while the house is still quiet I slip into the kitchen to wake up some yeast and set this day apart with something as simple as homemade donuts. The rest of the day can go on as normal and yet this day will feel different and perhaps even a bit memorable.

These Apple Cider Fritters are worthy of an occasion or powerful enough to create one. They require a few steps and need a bit of encouragement and folding to lure the apples into the dough. But what happens in the folding is evident as you fry – stunning laminations of cider poached apples and dough. While some still refuse to cooperate, jumping ship from the dough and bathing solo in the oil instead, enough stay put to give these fritters a bit of heft and a tart bite. An apple cider glaze and a sprinkle of flake salt aids in the occasion-making.

As I step back into the kitchen to hopefully find a risen bowl of dough destined for a hot pot of shimmering oil, I hope you will head over the Live.Love.Lux for the recipe and give this day a reason for celebrating.

Apple Cider Fritters //

Apple Cider Fritters with Cider Glaze

Click this link to Live.Love.Lux. for the recipe!

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