Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kabocha Squash Muffins

Entering a blustery first day of November, the rain was relentless today.  But towards the late afternoon, the sun peeked for a few hours among the black clouds.  The color of changing leaves looks so pretty.  I've been observing the red, yellow, and brown of the scenery and I felt that autumn is a lovely time of the year.  It also helps that the temperature is surprisingly mild this year, I hardly need to turn up the heater at home.  And look, the moon is visible while I'm writing...

Just when I think that I will have time to savor the slowness of my life's pace, I'm asked to do assignments.  Excited?  Sure.  Every assignment is a blessing and I like to do them when I've plenty of time to research, think, and execute.

Lately, I've grown to love kabocha squash for its naturally sweet taste and smooth texture.  My mom has cooked thin slices of kabocha and dipped them in tempura batter for a few times already.  They came out crispy on the outside and tender inside, and I could eat all of them; nothing for the rest of my family.  Yes, I'm selfish that way when it comes to food that I love.

Last Saturday I finally made a batch of kabocha squash muffins.  These are incredibly delicious, especially when they're still warm because they're immediately coated with melted butter and rolled in cinnamon-nutmeg sugar coating.  Oh, these smell not unlike snickerdoodles...  And no, I'm not selfish to have the recipe for myself, I'm happy to share it here.

Kabocha Squash Muffins

Yields 12 muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup kabocha squash puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

Cinnamon-nutmeg coating

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°; coat a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.  Blend buttermilk, milk, squash puree, and vanilla extract in a small bowl.

Cream butter and brown sugar together in a bowl with an electric mixer.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Alternately stir dry and wet mixtures into the butter, starting and ending with the dry; do not overmix.  Fill muffin cups 1/2 full and bake 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg in a shallow dish.  When cool enough to handle, yet still warm, remove muffins from the pan, brush them completely with the melted butter, and roll in sugar mixture to coat.  Serve warm.

Source:  adapted from Cuisine at Home magazine, October 2006.