Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Butternut Squash Mini-Muffins

I bought some beautiful butternut squash the other day at the grocery store. The fact that they were on sale and the weather was more fall like than winter like where I live was part of the reason I had the urge to eat squash. I’m not one for baked squash, unless I turn it into soup, so I tend to use it in my baking. This is also one of the few ways I can get my kids to eat squash of any form.

When it comes to baking with squash, from pumpkin to kabocha, I prefer to use only the orange varieties in my baked goods. They have more of a nutty flavor than their yellow cousins have and usually have less moisture so that I do not have to make a huge adjustment to the liquid amounts in all those fall pumpkin baked goods recipes we all have tucked into our recipe boxes.

I have used this recipe with both pumpkin and butternut squash. I think it would even work with baked sweet potato if you happen to have some leftover from the night before. I have made it with and without the cocoa powder and both options are delish and it really just depends on how much of a chocoholic you feel like that day. The photo below is of the ones I made yesterday to throw into the kids lunches and I opted for cocoa free (not chocolate free as you can tell) because I think we are still recovering from eating too much chocolate over the holidays.

Kelly's Mini-Muffin Recipe

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Coat mini muffin pan with preferred cooking spray, I use Spectrum grapeseed oil spray.

Wet ingredients:
1 cup Hemp milk or non-dairy milk of choice
1 cup precooked butternut squash or pumpkin
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup light oil (safflower or sunflower are good ones)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
(or just 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice instead of nutmeg and cinnamon.)
2 Tablespoons flax meal mixed with 6 Tablespoons of hot water (2 organic free-range eggs if opting for the non-vegan version)
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder (op.)

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour or sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons gaur gum

Stir in ideas: (optional)
½ cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts or chopped nut of choice

Combine flax and hot water and set aside for 10 minutes. Blend all other wet ingredients until well combined. Sift or whisk the dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients into the wet squash mixture and beat until blended for 2 minutes. If the batter is too thick, add a little non-dairy milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the batter is smooth. This batter will be thick like quick bread batter, but it should not have any lumps in it. Fold in chocolate chips into your batter, being careful not to over stir. Use a teaspoon to spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for up to 30 minutes. It may take only 15 minutes at lower altitudes. The muffins should be firm to the touch and golden brown on top.

Turn them out onto a rack, as the bottoms will get soggy if left in the pan too long. Can serve these still warm or freeze them as an easy way to throw into lunches. They can be reheated in the microwave if desired. Yields 24-36 mini-muffins, depending on how high you like muffin tops.

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