Spiced Butternut Pecan Muffins
Makes 14 muffins
This is one of Melissa Novak's creations for XOCO using roasted butternut squash in an unexpected way. It's currently on the XOCO Winter 2012 menu and is not only popular with our customers, but it's also a staff favorite. It has a delicate texture, not at all a heavy muffin and the brown sugar topping along with the pecans blend well with the roasted butternut flavor. Melissa has adapted this XOCO recipe for the home kitchen.
1 to 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, quartered lengthwise and seeds discarded
Approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup (5 ounces) cake or pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably Mexican cinnamon (canela)
Pinch of one of these ground spices: star anise, ginger, allspice, cloves or nutmeg
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (6 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, preferably Mexican vanilla
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Lightly oil the cut surfaces of the butternut with the oil and place skin side up on a baking sheet. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until soft. Scrape the flesh from the peel and puree. Measure out 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (10 ounces) of the puree and freeze the rest.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
Scrape the butter and sugar into the mixing bowl and beat using the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream, eggs, vanilla and the butternut puree to the bowl and continue beating on medium speed until well combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the dry ingredients and pecans until just combined.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 to 3/4 full and place into the oven. After 15 minutes, slide out the top rack and sprinkle the top of each muffin with the brown sugar. Slide the rack back into the oven and repeat with the other rack. Bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until the muffins are done. Cool on a wire rack.