Earlier this month, we went to the grocery store, and Jeremy somehow talked me into agreeing to cook two cute little squashes called Gold Nuggets. I’d never heard of them, and don’t like eating squash, so I’m still not sure how he managed that. But cook them I did. Jeremy hacked them open (quite a feat, as it turns out), and I cooked them like acorn squash, roasting with brown sugar and butter in a casserole with a bit of water in the bottom to steam them soft. I valiantly ate a bite or two of mine, noted the characteristic squashy stringyness and beta-carotene sweetness, and pushed it away. Jeremy, for his part, tried valiantly to eat it all and couldn’t, so I decided to try and fool myself by pureeing the remaining squash and hiding it in a baked good as if it were pumpkin.
I tracked down some millet muffin recipes with pumpkin and improvised something that worked out really well. I couldn’t particularly taste the squash with all the millet and spices, but it added a moistness and a lovely orangey color to the muffins. I would tone down the spices next time as they were a little strong, but otherwise this would be a satisfying muffin either for breakfasts or dinner, almost reminiscent of a spiced bran or corn muffin somehow.
The addition of half whole wheat pastry flour was an on-the-fly decision, and these would be a bit more delicate (and maybe a bit more squashy?) with all AP flour.
Squashy Millet Muffins
This was my own adaptation of a squash spice muffin and the Café Fanny millet muffin, intended to use up leftover squash puree. Some options for variety: Try adding some orange zest and dried cranberries instead of the pie spices, or maybe cinnamon chips?
2 large eggs
1 1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ C buttermilk
3/4 C hulled millet
1 C cooked squash or pumpkin puree
1 ½ C plus 2 T AP flour
1 ½ C whole wheat pastry flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 T cinnamon
about ½ tsp ea nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger
Beat the eggs and the sugar and vanilla. Add the butter, buttermilk, and squash puree. Grind ½ C of the millet lightly in a food processor, just enough to break it up from ball form, not to pulverize. Stir this and the remaining whole millet into the batter. Sift together the dry ingredients and stir into the liquid ingredients gently, just until combined.
Prepare muffin tins with papers or baking spray (or use silicone) and bake for 22 min at 350F. If mixing up the night before, save the whole millet to add just before baking to keep it crunchy, as it will soften in the batter overnight a bit. A bit of cinnamon sugar, brown sugar or raw sugar can be sprinkled over the tops of these muffins before baking for a little variety.
Yield: about 2 dozen smallish muffins