These take a bit more work than usual for something as humble as a muffin, but it’s worth it. I’ve made them twice now in the space of a week.
Delicata squash is my favorite winter squash for its sweet taste and relatively petite size. We like to slice them in half and roast them as a perfectly portioned side dish. A bit of butter or Earth Balance and a sprinkle of brown sugar is all they need. But Thanksgiving seems to produce a national compulsion to turn orange vegetables into sweet treats, and I could no longer resist the urge to transform a few sugary delicatas into muffins.
Winter squash can be difficult to peel, but delicatas have fairly smooth skins and I find I can make quick work of it with an Oxo swivel peeler. Some people claim it’s easier to peel a squash if you microwave it for a few minutes first. Full disclosure: I wanted to try this for you but chickened out before 2 minutes, convinced that the squash was going to explode all over the microwave. If you really just don’t want to deal with the peel, halve or quarter the squash, scoop out the seeds and roast it with the peel on. You won’t get as much caramelization, but you can just scoop out the flesh and mash away.
Caramelized Delicata Squash Muffins
2-3 lbs delicata squash (2 lbs is probably enough, but extras are nice)
1 T brown sugar
1 T vegetable oil
1 T maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C sorghum flour
1/4 C brown rice flour
1/2 C corn flour
1/2 C almond meal
1/2 C tapioca starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 C brown sugar
1 T EnerG egg replacer
1/4 C warm water
3/4 C orange juice
1/4 C canola oil
1/2 C raisins
1-2 T raw sugar and/or toasted squash seeds*
Peel squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and goo. Cut squash into chunks about 3/4-inch long. Put chunks in large bowl and add sugar, oil, syrup and salt. Toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking pan lined with foil or parchment. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until browned and tender. Cool on pan for 5 minutes, then remove squash to a bowl. Mash enough squash to yield 1 C. Any remaining squash can enjoyed as a side dish.
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and grease a twelve cup muffin pan.
Combine dry ingredients (sorghum flour through brown sugar) in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk egg replacer with 1/4 C warm water until frothy. Add orange juice, oil and 1 C of the mashed squash. Stir to combine, then add to dry ingredients. Stir well, then fold in raisins.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle each muffin with a bit of raw sugar and/or some toasted squash seeds.
Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until tops are brown and toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove pan to a wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from cups to finish cooling on rack.
*To toast the seeds, remove as much of the squash goo as possible and rinse the seeds well. Dry them on paper towels, then toss with a bit of olive oil and salt and roast at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. I really like the salty flavor of the seeds on the sweet muffins, but the hulls are pretty tough. Shelled, roasted and salted pumpkin seeds might be a better bet.