BUTTERNUT SQUASH MUFFINS WITH LEMON MASCARPONE FROSTING
Ah yes, fall is upon us, and therefore gourds! I’m not so much of a snob that butternut squash + sage + brown butter has lost its appeal, but yes, it’s been done to death though not without good reason: these flavors are perfect together. And so, to start my butternut squash kick, I bring you breakfast. These adorable little muffins are slightly spicy and perfect with a scrape of butter and some honey. But if you feel a bit decadent, a dollop of lemon mascarpone does the trick.
Butternut squash muffins:
14 ounces butternut squash
2 cups light soft brown sugar
½ cup sugar
4 large free-range or organic eggs
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Ginger Powder
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
Handful of walnuts, chopped
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup raw sugar
1 lemon, zested
½ lemon, juiced
½ cup sour cream
1 cup marscapone cheese
3 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel, deseed, and roughly chop squash (I can find squash already prepared in this way at Whole Foods) before putting in a food processor and blitzing until finely chopped. Add the sugar and eggs and mix in the food processor until blended. Add a pinch of salt, the flour, baking powder, walnuts, spices and olive oil, and mix just until combined. You may need to pause the machine at some point to scrape down the sides.
Fill paper cups in muffin pan with the batter. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. After 5 minutes, open the oven and sprinkle each muffin with the raw sugar. It adds a nice crunch, sweetness, and sparkle when cooked. After 22-25 minutes, check to see whether they are cooked through by sticking a skewer or a knife into the center one of the muffins - if it comes out clean, they're done. Remove from the oven and leave the muffins to cool on a wire rack.
For the mascarpone, let the mascarpone soften so that it’s mixable by leaving it out for an hour. In a bowl, mix the mascarpone, sour cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice together. Taste and adjust the mixture to your liking. Remember, the muffins aren’t particularly sweet, so if the mascarpone is on the sweet side, that’s fine.
Once the muffins have cooled, plop a dollop of the mascarpone and enjoy your morning!