Had someone appeared at my doorstep before October 2014 and told me what the rest of the year held, I would have reacted thusly:
One exciting thing that happened at the end of last year was that I changed jobs, finally! En fin! While there are so many great things about the new job, an exceptionally great thing is that I now work within a five-minute walk to The Sentinel, one of my favorite sandwich places in San Francisco. I have fulfilled my destiny.
With The Sentinel now on my walk to work, I was delighted to discover that it has a breakfast menu of baked goods that I can enjoy with the same fanaticism with which I approach The Sentinel's lunch fare. So far my favorite breakfast item is their (enormous) squash muffin, which I vowed to recreate at home after the first bite. These remind me a bit of carrot cake, and also of pumpkin muffins: eat them as is and call it breakfast, or top with some cream cheese frosting and call it dessert. Next time I think I’ll try making a more savory iteration of these muffins by replacing the cinnamon and nutmeg with some sage.
P.S. Alyna, I was so excited to see your chestnut curry post because I returned from China with a bunch of vacuum sealed packs of chestnuts. I'll also think up a chestnut post!
Butternut Squash Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
12 ounces of cubed butternut squash (will yield 1 cup of roasted and mashed butternut squash)*
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* If you’re not in the mood to wrestle with and cut up a whole squash, Trader Joe’s very conveniently carries 12-ounce bags of cubed butternut squash.
In a 400 degree F oven, roast the squash (with a few glugs of olive oil) for about 30 minutes, or until cubes are fork-tender. In a small bowl, mash the roasted squash with a fork until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together mashed butternut squash, turbinado sugar, eggs, sour cream, olive oil, and vanilla extract.
Then add the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices, and stir to combine.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Optional: Mix together 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over muffins before baking. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out with no batter.
Let muffins rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Muffins will last, stored in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
For instant muffins: After spooning the batter into the lined muffin tin, you can place the whole tin in the freezer until the batter is completely frozen (takes about an hour). Then remove and place the frozen cups of muffin batter into a Ziploc bag to store in the freezer so that you can bake up fresh muffins whenever you like. Just tack a few extra minutes onto the baking time.