Sunday, October 19, 2014

Spiced acorn squash apple muffins

How is it October already? Wasn't it just January a few weeks ago? While fall is my favorite season of the year (hello, pumpkin and apple recipes!), it seems like it arrived way too quickly this year. I knew that fall was here when our CSA delivery included 2 acorn squash. Honestly, I had never cooked with acorn squash before we signed up for the CSA, so I am happy that I have been forced to use this new ingredient.

Last year, I made acorn squash bread, vegan muffins and baked custard. Since 2014 is apparently the year of the muffin around these parts, I chose to bake two different kinds of acorn squash muffins with my gourd stash.  These spiced acorn squash apple muffins were the first recipe.

The squash provided a nice moist texture to these muffins, and they resembled a pumpkin muffin in that aspect. The apples were soft yet crunchy and were a nice contrast to the otherwise soft yet dense muffin. Thankfully, these muffins didn't crumble too easily, which is always a plus when I have a 4 year old snarfing these down (side note: if I had a nickel for every crumb I've had to pick up...). If you are a fan of fall flavors, you may want to dial up the spices a notch in these muffins. I didn't think they came out as prominently as I would have liked. Also, feel free to substitute the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour to make these a tad bit healthier.

 Spiced acorn squash apple muffins
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 ounces (8 Tablespoons or ½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup pureed acorn squash (approximately 1 small squash*)
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
* To get pureed acorn squash, cut 1 small acorn squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff from the middle and discard. Place cut side down in a high-sided baking pan and fill with about 1/2 inch of water. Roast in a 350 degree F oven for about 50-60 minutes or until the squash is soft. Scoop out the squash "flesh" after it has cooled slightly and puree in a blender or food processor.

Directions
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease a standard muffin pan and set aside (I used a silicone muffin pan and did not grease it).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add the eggs individually - make sure each egg gets fully incorporated before adding the next.

Turn the mixer off. Add the vanilla, acorn squash and buttermilk by hand (using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula).

Gently fold in the dry ingredients by hand until there are a few flour streaks remaining. Fold in the chopped apples until the apples are evenly mixed in and there are no dry streaks remaining.

Evenly distribute the batter into your prepared muffin pan. Fill each well about 3/4 full.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool completely before serving.

Muffins should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.

Yield: 12 muffins

Source: Savory Simple

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