December is a month in which I often bake in the early morning to fill the house with amazing aromas and a bit of warmth to fight the increasing chill of late fall. Muffins are among my favorite options because I get a taste (yay!) and can bag a bunch and freeze them for later. Then when unexpected guests arrive at my door or the morning rush calls for a grab and go breakfast, I'm set with easily microwavable muffins.
I use butternut squash or similar varieties (honeynut, butterkin, etc.) instead of pumpkin. This is mainly because my CSA tends to be bursting with them in late fall, but my family actually prefers them to pumpkin, in both flavor and texture. Use what you have and enjoy. You can use honey instead of the maple syrup, but I love the flavor maple syrup brings to this mix. Pecans are stellar, but walnuts or even chopped almonds will work. You could even just sprinkle some pepitas over the top of the muffins before baking.
These are very rich muffins and definitely a hit with kids. They won't even know they are getting stuff like pumpkin and nuts in them. So it's a win-win. They get a special treat and you get the reassurance that it's better than a cookie or cupcake first thing in the morning. And when the holidays are fast approaching, I'll count that as a win!
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 ½ cups butternut squash or pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 egg
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup chocolate chips
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix the butter, squash or pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and egg in the mixing bowl until well combined. Stir in the brown sugar.
Once the wet ingredients are mixed, add the dry ingredients to the bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon). Mix the batter thoroughly.
Once the batter is smooth throughout, add the chocolate chips and chopped pecans and stir.
Distribute the batter evenly between 12 muffin liners in a muffin tin. The muffin liners will be close to full. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 22-27 minutes until they have risen and a tooth pick inserted comes out completely clean.
- Yields: 12 servings
- Preparation Time: 40 minutes