October 1, 2010

Butternut squash muffins

I've been on a muffin kick lately. Usually I would make a batch of granola bars (usually without chocolate) every Sunday so that we had those for our easy weekday breakfast all week. But the past few weeks, I've been in a muffin mood. It started with the most delicious muffins I've ever had. I'm not sure any muffins will ever live up to those, but these butternut squash ones come pretty close. I very loosely followed the recipe from Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home cookbook. I say loosely because, for example, I didn't make the frosting (because I wanted to keep them breakfast-friendly), I cut the sugar out by more than half, and at the very end I decided to throw in some bittersweet chocolate. The recipe I used is below and it will make 12 good-sized muffins. 

Butternut squash muffins
14 ounces butternut squash puree (either canned or fresh)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 heaping tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
zest and juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and either spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or line it with muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and zest until the sugar dissolves. Then whisk in the butternut squash, olive oil, and applesauce.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder. Add the wet ingredients to the dry all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Then fold in the walnuts and/or chocolate chips, if using. 

Distribute the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. The muffins should be "springy" to the touch, lightly golden, and an inserted toothpick should come out cleanly (except for maybe some melted chocolate).

Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate if keeping for more than one day.

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