Baby puffs are such a great snack for babies. Few healthy ingredients, no additional sugars, baby puffs used to keep my little ones engaged and busy when meal time was not ready or we were out on the stroller. Once you learn the proportions between the basic groups of ingredients in baby puffs, you can really start switching single ingredients following what’s in season and what your little one’s likes the most. Baby puffs are basically made of a mix of fruit/veggies + a binding ingredient (eggs, chia, banana..) + a fat (coconut oil) + an ingredient that gives body (rice, oats, wheat or other cereals).
Today I’m using butternut squash and blueberries, a lovely combo both in terms of flavors and texture. I’m using chia seeds as a binding ingredient to make the puffs egg free as many babies are sensitive to eggs. I also used rice cereal to make the puffs gluten free too.
The procedure is very simple: all the ingredients are blended together into a creamy paste and than baked in drops.
Let’s start roasting the butternut squash. I usually peel it with a potato peeler, remove the seeds inside and chop in 2 inches cubes. They do not need to be precise, but it’s important that they are more or less the same size so that they will bake evenly. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in preheated oven to 425F for 25 minutes. That’s it! Your butternut squash is roasted and ready to be used.
In a food processor add 1 cup of the roasted butternut squash with the blueberries, coconut oil, baking powder, chia seeds, baby rice cereal and water. Blend everything into a smooth cream.
Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
Now you have two options:
- Using two teaspoons gently scoop 1/2 teaspoon of the mix in a drop on the parchment paper. Keep scooping small drops of mix one next to the other.
- Or fill a plastic bag with the mix. Close it. Cut a corner. Pipe small 1/4 inch drops one next to the other on the parchment paper.
Both ways will work 🙂
Bake the baby puffs in preheated oven to 350F for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 275F and keep baking for additional 15 minutes. The baby puffs are ready when tapping your finger on them you will feel that they are not sticky nor soft but dry. Remove from the oven, let them cool down 5 minutes. The puffs will easily detach from the parchment paper simply moving them on the side with your fingers.
How to store baby puffs?
Baby puffs can be stored in a container without lid on the countertop for up to 10 days. Do not use the lid or
What can you do if your baby puffs come out not cooked in the center, mushy and chewy?
If the baby puffs are soft in the center and difficult to remove from the parchment paper it means that they are not properly baked and usually the reason is in their size.
The tricky part of homemade puffs is the baking phase. The puffs need to be properly baked in order to completely dry and consequently melt in your baby’s mouth. After many baby puffs recipes and tests I learned that the trick is in the size of the puffs. Tiny 1/4 inch puffs bake properly in the suggested time.
Large 1/2 inch drops end up undercooked in the center, still sticky, difficult to remove from the parchment paper and consequently chewy. That doesn’t mean that your little one will not enjoy them, simply that they will not melt in their mouth as expected. Luckily there is an easy fix if you undercook the puffs too!
If you end up with a batch of large soft baby puffs simply place them back in the oven at 275F and keep baking them checking every 10 minutes. In within 20/30 min they should be done pending how big the drops are. To check if they are fully cooked you will need to tap them in the center and feel them dry, not sticky nor soft. Also they are fully cooked when it’s easy to remove them from the parchment paper with your fingers.
What to do with the extra butternut squash roasted?
For the baby puffs I will only need 1 cup of cubed roasted butternut squash. If you want some ideas on how to use the remaining quantity, check out this playlist.
- Butternut squash and kale Mac&Cheese
- Butternut squash cheesy balls
- Turnip Apple Butternut Squash Puree
- Butternut squash Kale Mac&Cheese
- Avocado Squash Persimmon Pear Beet Baby Puree
- Turkey Squash Red Potato baby puree
- Pasta with squash and spinach
- Pumpkin and Carrot Cake
- Pumpkin coconut rice pudding
- Pumpkin gorgonzola bake pasta
- Pomegranate Pumpkin Pear Puree
- Pumpkin yogurt brownies
Can I substitute butternut squash with something else?
Yes! You have some options: sweet potatoes, parsnip, taro, yucca.
Can I offer chia seeds to my baby?
Double yes! Chia seeds can be introduced in you baby’s diet starting from 6 months of age. Chia seeds are not a common allergen, safe to be offered. They are highly nutritious, rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (brain fuel!), protein and fibers. They are recommended as they support your little one’s brain and eye development all together with cells’ growth. Thanks to the fiber content they also help with bowel movement. The only recommendation is not to offer dry chia seeds to your baby. Soak them in a liquid (in this recipe we added water to the mix) for 15/20 min so that they will increase their volume and become gelatinous, easier to be swallowed.
- 1/2 cup rice baby cereal
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1 cup roasted butternut squash in cubes
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp baking powder
Roast the butternut squash. Peel it, remove the seeds and chop in 2 inches cubes. Place the cubes in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven to 425F for 25 minutes.
In a food processor add 1 cup of the roasted butternut squash, blueberries, coconut oil, baking powder, baby rice cereal, chia seeds and water. Blend for 1 minute to obtain a smooth cream.
Pipe the mix in drops on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You will need two baking sheets. You can either use two teaspoons or a plastic bag cut in a corner to pipe.
Bake in preheated oven to 350F for 10 min. Reduce the temperature to 275F and keep baking for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let the baby puffs cool down for 10 minutes than remove them from the parchemnt paper.