Friday, October 16, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecans and Chocolate Chips

I might as well fess up right away...the title of this post is so misleading. There is no pumpkin whatsoever in this recipe. It's a total lie and I feel like a fraud. But I just can't eat all of my roasted buttercup squash fast enough - it's been made into a huge pot of soup, and a lovely fall salad, and I still had a big tupperware full of squash in my fridge. I needed a new way to use it up.

After racking my brain, a lightbulb finally went off. I thought I was so clever in mashing it up and substituting it for pumpkin in a muffin recipe. Because everyone has heard of zucchini bread or muffins, right? And what is zucchini...but simply a summer squash! Pumpkin is also in the squash family - so I felt pretty safe in my substitution. However, Squash Muffins just don't sound very appealing to me, hence the lie in the title. You can call them whatever you want to, because once you pop these little babies in your oven and your house starts to smell all spicy and sweet, all you will care about is eating them!

The batter is pretty thick and the finished muffins are super moist due to the olive oil. This is the first baking recipe I've ever improvised on - I usually follow instructions to the T but things just weren't looking right so I added a few things here and there to a recipe I found online for pumpkin bread.

The final product is sweet, but not overly sweet like dessert. It's the perfect muffin to go with coffee in the morning or to bring somewhere for a brunch with mimosas. And, despite the sugar, it's still got loads of nutrition from all that beautiful squash so you won't feel guilty for starting your day with a few chocolate chips.

Pumpkin (or Squash) Muffins with Pecans and Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 cups flour (I use whole wheat flour)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Whisk these dry ingredients together and set aside.

3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups cooked and pureed squash or pumpkin (or 1 can pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix wet ingredients together. Fold in dry ingredients. Add nuts and chocolate chips last.
Pour into greased muffin or loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees (30 minutes for muffins, 45-50 minutes for loaf - or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).

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