Winter Squash Butter

Velvety-smooth and creamy, this spread is excellent on pumpernickel bread.

2 cups roasted winter squash*
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons spice blend (see below)
½ teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons apple cider

Spice blend:
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

*To roast squash: Preheat oven to 450°. Cut your winter squash of choice in half and remove the seeds and stringy flesh. Drizzle with a bit of neutral tasting oil, and roast until the flesh of the squash is very tender, 40 minutes to 1 hour.

1. Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, pulverize the cloves and cardamom seeds. Mix with ground cinnamon. Set aside.

2. Scooping the roasted squash flesh from the skin, measure out two full cups of winter squash, packing it into the measuring cup. In a food processor, combine squash, plus all other ingredients and process until smooth.

3. Using a spatula, scrape the mixture from the food processor into a medium saucepan. Bring the squash mixture to a simmer, and continue to simmer, scraping the bottom to prevent sticking and burning, for 10 to 15 minutes, until it thickens and becomes velvety.

4. Allow the squash butter to cool, and then funnel into small jars. The butter will keep, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

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