Thursday, October 6, 2011

Winter Squash Muffins (gluten-free)

Even though I'm sad that the nice weather seems to have gone, I am pretty excited for fall. Autumn in the Pacific Northwest is generally a cold and rainy season, and soon enough, we will be dealing with 34 degree rain. So I am not particularly looking forward to rainy fall weather. No, I am mostly looking forward to the food. As much as I am going to miss summer produce, I love squash and root vegetables! The Man and I walked past a big display of squash a couple of days ago, and I had to buy one, even though I had no idea how I was going to cook it.

I supposed the easiest answer for most squash is to turn it into soup, or cut it in half and bake it for dinner. But I didn't really feel like doing that. We aren't quite far enough into autumn for squash dinners at our house yet. Probably the most famous of the winter squash is pumpkin, and any baked good with pumpkin is one of my favorite things. Therefore, I decided to make squash muffins! It certainly isn't the weirdest baked good I have made (Guinness cupcakes and yam bread for instance. Warning: those are not gluten-free).

These muffins tasted pretty dang good, and had a nice flavor that reminds me of Thanksgiving, or Halloween. Use any squash you like the flavor of, pumpkin and butternut would be great. As always, make sure all ingredients are gluten-free, and free of any potential allergens (dairy, soy, etc.) for you or those you are cooking for!

Adapted from this recipe.

Winter Squash Muffins

Dry ingredients
1 ¼ cup GF flour mix*
½ cup almond meal
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda **

Other ingredients:

1 ½ cups of squash puree (12 oz or 340 grams. Canned pumpkin puree would be fine)
1 stick (½ cup) of softened butter or vegan margarine (½ cup of vegetable oil would also work)
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses (spray the measuring cup with oil first if you don't want a big mess)
1/3 cup nondairy milk (almond or coconut are awesome)
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla

*I used a 2:1:1 mix of sorghum, millet, and quinoa, respectively. Use the flours you like!

** I actually used just one teaspoon of baking soda, but these muffins were flatter then I would have liked. I think increasing the soda to 1 ½ tsp would fix this.

There is a nice guide to making pumpkin puree here that would work for any winter squash. I don't have a food processor, so here is how I made mine!

I used a Red Kuri Squash/Hokkaido Pumpkin.
Cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds.

 Cut the halves into smaller pieces, and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender. Remove the squash from the oven, and allow it to sit until cool enough to safely handle, about 30 minutes.

 Before baking.
After baking. The squash will now be squishy.

--> Scrape the flesh off of the squash rind, and place in a bowl. Squish the flesh with a fork. Alternately, use a food processor.
 Preheat the oven to 350 (again).


In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk together to incorporate ingredients.
 Add the other ingredients, and mix together until the batter is smooth. There will be some lumpiness if the squash was squished with a fork.
 Fill the cups of a muffin tin until about ¾ full. These don't rise very much, so they could be filled a little bit higher.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 15 muffins.
 These were very good. The muffins were a little dense, but that made them slightly custard-like in texture. As with many gluten-free baked goods, they improved after they cooled down.

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