The Washington Post

Squash Cookies

Squash Cookies 24.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Holiday Cookies 2018 Nov 29, 2018

Cookbook author Kate McDermott calls these creamy-textured treats Mystery Squash Cookies in her newest cookbook, because she says when folks take a bite, they can never figure out what the main ingredient is.

They can be served plain or coated with one of the options listed in the ingredients, below.

Need more inspiration? Check out our Holiday Cookie Generator, featuring more than 300 recipes to suit any taste.

Make Ahead: The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

24 cookies

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 24 cookies

  • 1/2 cup flesh from cooked/roasted winter squash (may substitute yam, sugar pumpkin or sweet potato)
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal/flour, or more as needed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Pine nuts, for coating (optional)
  • Shredded coconut, for coating (sweetened or unsweetened; optional)
  • 1/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, for coating (optional)


Combine the squash, egg yolk, almond meal/flour, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest in a mixing bowl, stirring to form a smooth, very soft dough. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 1 day. If the dough seems too pasty and wet, add a little more almond meal/flour, keeping in mind that the dough will firm up further as it chills.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Divide the dough into 24 equal portions (about 2 teaspoons), rolling each one into a ball. Before spacing them on the baking sheets at least 1 inch apart, roll some of them in one or more of the coating options listed below. Bake (middle rack) for 15 to 20 minutes, during which time the cookies should not spread much.

Cool completely on the baking sheets before serving or storing.

Recipe Source

Adapted from "Home Cooking With Kate McDermott" (Countryman Press, 2018).

Tested by Sarah Meyer Walsh and Diana Maxwell.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per cookie: 70

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 4g 6%

Saturated Fat: 0g 0%

Cholesterol: 10mg 3%

Sodium: 0mg 0%

Total Carbohydrates: 8g 3%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 7g

Protein: 2g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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