A creamy soup made of sweet butternut squash—garnished with crunchy, toasted pecans and buttery croutons—comes together thanks to some classic pie spices, a pinch of heat, and lots of warm cinnamon.
For the Pecans:
- In a clean metal bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except the nuts. Continue whisking until entire mixture is bubbly and no clear liquid is left on the bottom. Fold in nuts and lay out on a sheet pan in one layer, preferably on a silicone mat.
- Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and, using a spatula, scrape and turn the nuts, breaking up chunks. Return to oven for another 15 minutes, then scrape, turn, and pour nuts out onto a wire rack to cool. Nuts will be soft when warm but will crisp up when they cool.
For the Soup:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in large saucepan on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 3 minutes or until slightly softened. Add squash; cook and stir 1 minute.
- Stir in chicken broth, orange juice, 2 tsp cinnamon and ginger. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minutes or until squash is tender, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
- Melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Mix with remaining tsp cinnamon and sugar. Brush bread batons with mixture and toast in oven until golden brown.
- With center part of cover removed to let steam escape, puree soup in batches in blender on high speed until smooth. Return pureed mixture to saucepan. Stir in half-and-half. Cook on low heat until heated through.
- Portion into small cups (such as shot glasses or espresso cups), top with small dollop of sour cream and a spiced pecan. Place cinnamon crouton over the opening of the cup.