Are you mad for muffins? Don’t be, muffins are a happy thing, which is why we’re baking our way through cookbook maven Jean Anderson’s latest work: Mad For Muffins. This collection of classic, updated and downright creative sweet and savory muffins is a must-have for the avid cold weather baker. You’ve had butternut squash in soups, salads and sides — why not break out the mixing bowl and muffinize one of fall’s seasonal treats?
Instead of baking a butternut squash, scooping out and mashing the flesh, I’ve short-cut things by using frozen pureed winter squash — the unseasoned kind (package sizes vary from 9 to 12 ounces). You may have more squash than you need for this recipe. If so, just smooth the excess into a vegetable soup, pasta sauce or gravy. Or mix into a casserole.
- 2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup thawed frozen unseasoned butternut or winter squash, firmly packed
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons untoasted pine nuts, finely chopped (for topping)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Lightly grease 12 standard-size muffin pan cups or spritz with nonstick cooking spray, or if you prefer, insert a crinkly muffin liner into each cup. Set pans aside.
- Combine the first seven ingredients (flour through black pepper) in a medium mixing bowl.
- Add toasted pine nuts, toss well, then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and set aside.
- Whisk squash, milk, oil and egg in a second medium bowl until smooth, pour into well in dry ingredients, and stir only enough to combine–specks of flour should be clearly visible.
- Spoon the batter into muffin pans, dividing the amount equally–each muffin pan cup will be approximately two-thirds full, though occasionally a bit more or a bit less.
- Sprinkle centers of the muffins evenly with untoasted pine nuts.
- Slide onto the middle oven shelf and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until muffins have risen and their tops are nicely rounded and lightly browned.
- Serve muffins oven-hot with unsalted butter. Or, set out little bowls of extra virgin olive oil, split the muffins and dip just as you would with chunks of focaccia.
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