Food

Move Over Pumpkin There’s a New Squash In Town: Butternut Squash Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

OK, so butternut squash isn’t really new on the scene but, I bet it is to most of you when it comes to baking. Pumpkin get so much attention during this time of year that it’s easy to forget how wonderful all of the other squashes can be in both savory and sweet dishes. Butternut squash is a favorite in our house and I always pick up a couple every time I’m at the farmers market. I use it to make everything from soup to baby food for my 9 month old and it always saves the day.

Such was the case last week when I found myself in need of something to bring to my son’s preschool potluck. I knew my pumpkin mini muffins would be a hit with both the kids and parents. Except for one thing, I was all out of canned pumpkin. Bah! Rather than panic (or worse), schlep to the supermarket at 7:30pm on a weeknight, I decided to roast and puree some butternut squash as a substitute. I wasn’t entirely sure how it would work out but I figured it was worth a shot. I basically kept the recipe the same except for omitting 1/4 cup of the sugar I normally use to take into account the natural sweetness of the butternut squash.

The result was fantastic. Both the taste and texture was delightful and I can honestly say I liked it better than the pumpkin. The butternut gave the muffins a slightly lighter feel and I just love the golden yellow color that the muffins took on after they were baked. So pretty! These babies are definitely our new favorite muffin. I actually made the muffins again since then and used half pumpkin, half butternut squash and that too was a delicious discovery.

I like to make a big batch on Sunday night (minus the chips) and serve them to the boys as a quick breakfast or snack all week long. Their small size makes them perfect for snack week at school or as a healthier dessert inside your kiddos lunch box. How delicious would these be on Thanksgiving morning with a steaming cup of Joe or as a tasty fall treat for your next weekend brunch? Add in chopped walnuts for  some crunch and a protein boost. Muffins will keep for up to five days in an airtight container or up to a month inside a freezer storage bag. Thaw on the countertop or defrost in the microwave for 10 seconds before eating.

Butternut Squash Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Makes 72 mini muffins

Ingredients:

4 eggs, beaten

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups roasted butternut squash puree (or pumpkin puree or a 50/50 combo)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a mini muffin pan with paper liners.

2. Add eggs and sugar in a standing mixer and beat until combined. Stir in oil and squash (or pumpkin).

3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and ginger. Toss in chocolate chips. Add wet ingredient to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fill each muffin cup with 1 heaping teaspoon of batter and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a oothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Enjoy.

Christina Stanley-Salerno is a mama, recipe developer, food stylist, photographer and blogger atTakeBackYourTable.com. She loves cooking for and with her family. Life is hectic, but Christina is passionate about mealtime because she believes that family meals are the glue that holds everyone together. Creating simple, quick and healthy meals is her specialty and her trick to keeping the family meal a reality, even on busy weeknights.

Follow her on Twitter @TakeBackTables

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