Healthy Winter Squash Muffins [recipe]

I don’t think there anything better than warm bread from the oven. Oh, maybe warm bread with a slab of butter melting on it after emerging from the oven, mmmmm and the crack of the crust, and teeth sinking into a soft crumb.   Ahhh.  But most days, I don’t want to wait for the sourdough starter, and then firm starter to rise, and then playing with the dough and waiting. The quicker path to satisfaction is a muffin. The texture is there and it takes under an hour from opening the recipe to having a warm muffin in hand. And what a great snack for a chilly winter day, sitting with a cup of tea or warm in your pocket as you wander in the snow onto the next adventure.

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Do not let the name of these muffins dissuade you. These are delicious and have great squash flavor.  The recipe just happens to have about 2 cups of vegetables in it and you can swap out the chocolate chips for nuts or raisins as you please, to make it even healthier.

When I have favorite recipe like this one, the pages are weathered, covered in stains.  The margins get scratched with my scribbles, little check marks or codes and fragmented thoughts. “Choco. chips! Puree roasted pumpkin!! Mix in carrots. YUM.”  This particular recipe has traveled with me everywhere. I used to make it when I taught a playgroup of parents and children and it was with egg substitutes and gluten-free.  I have brought mini muffins with whole wheat flour to many play dates and potlucks.  When the main ingredient is missing, I substitute any kind of orange squash, Red Kuri Squash and Blue Hubbard being our family favorite.

squash vs. pumpkin
A pie pumpkin and a nice winter squash are not really that different!

So while the volume measurements are there, keep an eye on the weight measurements, and substitute gluten-free flour, squash for pumpkin, and the add ins are totally up to you.  I like a blend of shredded carrot and chocolate chips AND walnuts.  If you have toddlers, small children, or just want to sneak more vegetables into your own diet then play with this recipe.

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Healthy Winter Squash MUFFINS – Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) whole wheat flour (or gluten-free flour blend of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg  (we like freshly ground)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick of butter or butter substitute)
  • 1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) packed light or darker brown sugar ( or coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup (9 1/2 ounces) purreed blue hubbard squash (or pumpkin, or your favorite roasted pureed squash)
  • 1 1/2 cup add ins (up to 7 ounces) chocolate chips, shredded carrot, chopped nuts, dried cranberries, raisins, peanut butter chips…etc

Directions

1. Before starting: Roast and puree a blue hubbard squash as with any squash or pumpkin cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast at 400 degrees for an hour.  Scoop out the flesh and purree with an immersion blender, or in a blender, or in food processor.

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This is a pie pumpkin but Blue Hubbard squash are a huge version of this and BLUE!

2. Preheat the over to 375 degrees and grease your favorite muffin pan.

3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in one bowl.

4. In the bowl of your mixer cream the butter and the brown and granulated sugars until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one at a time and scrape the bowl to make sure it is well mixed.

5. Add the vanilla and Blue Hubbard squash puree and continue to mix thoroughly.

6. Mix in the flour, and when it is evenly moistened, then stir in add ins.  I really like my hand shredder for throwing carrots into everything.

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My favorite tool for adding carrots to everything!

7. Pour the batter into the greased muffin tin cups.  Bake at 375 degrees for 22 minutes or until the toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. Enjoy after letting the muffins have cooled on an oven rack for 5 minutes.

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8. These store well in the fridge wrapped in plastic or in an airtight container.

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