Salt (not required if you use salted butter), Vanilla oil
a small amout
Keep the butter at room temperature or microwave to soften. Combine the flour and baking powder and sift twice.
Microwave the kabocha squash until it becomes soft, peel the skin, and chop up into small pieces in a food processor (then you can strain). Keep the skin aside.
Mix the butter until it becomes creamy, add the sugar, and keep mixing well until it turns pale and white. (I used half butter and half margarine)
Beat an egg (keep 2 tablespoons aside for brushing), pour into the butter mixture slowly to prevent separation, and keep mixing.
When it's blended, add the kabocha squash paste, a small amount of vanilla oil, and salt, then continue mixing.
Switch to a spatula, pour in the sifted flour all at once, and mix with a cutting motion. Continue mixing until it's no longer floury. Do not knead!
Separate into two portions and wrap in plastic wrap. Form into logs, and refrigerate. When they become a firm, take them out and push down a chopstick in the centre line to make a pumpkin shape (the stem will be added later). Return to the refrigerator.
When they are firm enought to cut, slice, and brush with the remaining egg. Make lines with the edge of a cup or a skewer.
Cut facial features from the skin you set aside with kitchen scissors, and press on the pumpkin faces.
Preheat the oven at 170℃/ 340℉. Bake for 20 minutes. If it seems like the temperature is too high, turn down the heat.
I put them into separate bags and wrap with ribbons and masking tape.
You can make a lot and they make perfect gifts.
Story Behind this Recipe
I came up with this recipe where you don't need cookie cutters. You can make lots of them for Halloween parties for kids.
When you chop the kabocha squash in a food processor it will be lumpy. I like it this way, though. If it's stringy, please strain it. The cookies won't be very sweet with 80 g of sugar. You will taste the sweetness of the kabocha squash, but kids seem to enjoy a sweeter taste.