Several friends have asked me how to get their kids to eat more vegetables. A very simple way to get more nutritious foods in kids is to hide them in sweets and baked goods. These acorn squash muffins have vitamin C, A, B1, B5, B6, manganese, potassium and magnesium. Plus, they have cinnamon to help the kids process the sugar and boast their brain power.
Make a batch and throw some in the freezer to pop in the kids lunch boxes for a healthy snack. You can also enjoy one when you are rushed in the morning and need to grab something quick. I know those mornings too well.
1) Roast the acorn squash at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. You only need one squash for a dozen muffins but cook 2 or 3 so you can serve the acorn squash for dinner or stuff them with sausage. They are delicious. Here are more detailed directions on roasting acorn squash.
2) Spoon out the acorn squash and set aside 1 cup in a bowl.
3) In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, 1/3 cup of hazelnut flour, (use 1 2/3 cup all purpose if you do not have hazelnut), 2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder, 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or sea salt. You can use the Tuscan Himalayan with fresh rosemary and sage for a new twist. I used a little for the antioxidants and you really could not taste it.
4) Create a well in the center and set aside the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the 3 teaspoons of egg replacer and 4 tablespoons warm water and beat until frothy. Use 2 eggs if you are not allergic or a vegan. Then add the cup of roasted acorn squash, 3/4 cup of maple syrup, 1/3 cup of coconut or canola oil, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture; stir until just moistened. (Batter should be lumpy).
Note: If you like some sweetness, add a tablespoon of applesauce. For eggless recipes, the applesauce helps with the texture.
The Ultimate Cookbook recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of pecans and 1/2 a cup of raisins. I add the hazelnut flour so the kids do not know there are nuts. They do not like the crunch in their muffins. I usually finely chop the raisins in the cuisinart when I add them to cookies or breads. If you like pecans and raisins, feel free to add them now.
5) Line the muffin pan with unbleached large baking cups. Pour the batter until they are 3/4 full. Add a couple organic cranberries on top for a little tartness.
6) Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes. They should be light brown in color. The cranberries will burst and add a little color to the top.
The Ultimate Cookbook
Acorn Squash Muffins
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup mashed cooked acorn, butternut, or other squash (one 12-ounce squash)
3/4 cup maple-flavored syrup
1/3 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins
Margarine or butter (optional)
Lightly grease eighteen (2 1/2-inch) muffin cups; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt; make a well in the center and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, squash, syrup, cooking oil, and vanilla. Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture; stir until just moistened. (Batter should be lumpy). Fold in the pecans and the raisins. Fill each muffin cup about three-fourths full with batter (about three tablespoons). Bake in a 375 degree oven 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center of one muffin comes out clean, Serve warm with butter or margarine, if desired. Yield: 18 muffins
Note: If reheating, place foil-wrapped frozen muffins in a 300 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until muffins are heated through. To reheat in a microwave oven, unwrap frozen muffins and place on a microwave-safe plate. Heat, uncovered, on high until muffins are just warmed through, allowing about 10 seconds per muffin.
Loaf-pan Directions: Follow batter directions, except grease the bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan. Pour batter in to prepared pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out cleam. Yield: 12 to 16 servings