And finally for this week, I am always looking for new puddings, cakes and desserts which help use up vegetable too. Firstly, it is a great way of ensuring that you get more veg into your and your kids diets but also it is really good at using up stray vegetables at the end of the week. I had a butternut squash hanging around and so I set to work thinking up something new. The only trouble with finding new recipes for cakes, is they have to work. It is not like a recipe for soup or curry; add a bit of this, chuck in a bit of that. Baking is a science and unless you have all your ingredients weighed out exactly, it just does not work.
I googled Butternut Squash Muffins and started wading through possible suggestions. Jamie Oliver’s received very bad press, a couple of American recipes did better. You have to be so careful with cakes with vegetables in them, as so often the recipe is completely precise until it lists “1 butternut squash” with no indication of even their size, let alone weight. I finally narrowed it down to the best sounding recipe with the most stars – “Perfect Butternut Squash Muffins.” It was a complete disaster. The batter was like glue, they were inedible and I had to completely start again. It was a bit distressing as it had made the hugest amount of mix which I hadn’t realised, as the measurements where all in cups. 3 cups of flour doesn’t sound much, but it is a whole lb in weight. The whole lot had to go in the bin.
I was determined to get it right next time. Just to be safe, I halved the recipe, made a lot changes and finally I am happy to share them with you. I have to say, they really are very good – lots of flavour, light and crumbly and a nice added crunch from the nuts. I just ate 3!
Butternut Squash and Pecan Muffins
The microwaving the squash is a strange one, but it does work. Muffins do not like to be overworked so go easy. Finally, you need to allow them to cool well before eating so that the baking soda can do it’s work.
Makes 11- 12 Muffins
1 small butternut squash or ½ a larger one (1 cup cooked)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Cut a 1/2-inch hole into the larger part of the squash and cook squash in a microwave for 6 minutes on high. Turn the squash over and cook for another 6 minutes until squash can be easily pierced with a fork. (If you would rather use the oven, cut the quash in half and roast in the oven at about 180⁰C for about 40 minutes, until soft.) Set aside to cool. If you haven’t turned on your oven then pre-heat it now, or turn it down to 170⁰C. Halve squash lengthwise, if you microwaved it and scoop out seeds. Measure 1 cup squash into a mixer or food processor. Add the eggs, vegetable oil, brown sugar and maple syrup into the squash. Whisk well. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves and add to the squash mixture until you have a smooth batter. Do not over mix, pulse the food processor if necessary. Stir in the chopped walnuts. Pour the batter into muffin cups to about 2/3 full. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the centre
of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 – 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.