The abundance of long-lasting winter squash this year has led me to cook it in as many ways as possible, including using it as a substitute for pumpkin. While many recipes for baked goods using pumpkin suggest that the canned version is more reliable in flavor and moisture content, the roasted buttercup squash that we’ve had is so rich and flavorful that I wouldn’t hesitate using it for any pumpkin recipe.
This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s famous Baking from My Home to Yours, who in turn was inspired by Sarabeth Levine. The trick to this or most other quick breads and cake is to cream the butter thoroughly until light and continue to cream it after the sugar is added. Since pumpkin and squash can create a dense crumb, that step is particularly important here. Also, while the batter seems too great for a standard muffin tin (since most recipes call for filling the tins only ¾ full), it’s just perfect for well-rounded muffins. I used pepitas (squash or pumpkin seeds) instead of Dorie’s suggested sunflower seeds. It may seem like gilding the lily, but these were delicious with orange marmalade.
Roasted Winter Squash Muffins adapted from Dorie Greenspan
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground allspice or cloves
1 stick (1/2 c) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ c white sugar
¼ c firmly packed brown sugar
¼ c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ c packed puree of roasted winter squash (buttercup)
½ c raisins
½ c chopped walnuts
2-3 tbsp unsalted pepitas
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a regular 12-compartment muffin tin (or use paper cup liners) and place it on a baking sheet.
Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside.
Cream the butter with a mixer for several minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the buttermilk and vanilla. With a large spoon or spatula, mix in the flour mixture, combining thoroughly but lightly.
Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes and remove to a rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container.