The Best Way to Save Squash, and Streusel Muffins to Savor It
Got squash? It’s that time of year, and I know I have gotten carried away at the Farmer’s Market a time or two. The piles of orange, blue, green and gold squashes are too gorgeous to pass by without grabbing a few choice ones.
It’s ok, since I love squash so much. I’ve even devised an easy way to save it. I simply bake and mash it, then pack it into a half cup measure. I tap put each half cup of squash onto a parchment lined sheet pan, and making little pucks of squash. Then, I freeze them all until solid, then transfer to a zip-top freezer bag. That way, I can squeeze out most of the air, so they will stay moist longer.
Now, I am armed with convenient, quick to thaw portions of squash that will work in all sorts of recipes. Want some body in a soup? Add a chunk to the simmering broth. Making a creamy pasta? Stir in some squash. Baking? Of course, this is where the squash will really shine. Skipping the step of baking the squash will make my wintertime baking much more convenient.
Suddenly, a squash cake, muffin, pie, or scone is a quick recipe. All because I set myself up now.
Each half cup of golden squash is perfect for a batch of muffins. To make them even more appealing, I used my favorite palm sugar in the batter, and also to make a streusel topping. I love to bake with palm sugar paste, the kind you buy at Asian markets. It’s in the Thai section, and is the essential raw sugar that gives Thai sauces their complex sweetness. It’s also a relatively healthful sweetener, with a low glycemic index and some minerals. But most importantly, it tastes slightly caramel-y and adds depth to your baked goods.
I went with half whole wheat pastry flour and half unbleached Einkorn flour, to keep the muffins light. You could certainly make them with all whole wheat, as well. If you wanted to throw in some cinnamon, that would be delicious, too.
Banking that squash in my freezer means that I can make these muffins several times, without baking a squash. That means that when the harsh winter winds blow, I can bake up a comforting batch of muffins, and remember the Fall day when I bought a Blue Hubbard squash at the market.
You certainly can’t get that out of a can.
Nutty Squash Streusel Muffins
1 cup unbleached Einkorn or wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup palm sugar paste or brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup mashed squash
3/4 cup vanilla or plain non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/4 cup neutral oil, like canola
Line 11 cups of a muffin tin with paper liners, reserve. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, combine the unbleached and whole wheat flours, baking powder, soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
Scrape the palm sugar out of the jar and pack into a 1/4 cup measure, then place the in a medium bowl and mix with the walnuts. Rub to mix well, and reserve.
Mix the remaining 1/2 cup palm sugar and squash, mashing to pulverize the palm sugar. In a cup, stir the non-dairy milk and flax seeds and let stand for five minutes to thicken. When it looks thick, stir into the squash mixture and add the canola oil. Stir to combine.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, just until combined. Scoop 1/4 cup portions of batter into each prepared cup. Sprinkle the batter with the reserved walnut mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out with no wet batter clinging to it.
Cool muffins on a rack, then transfer to a storage container, where they keep for a week, refrigerated, if you don’t devour them all within hours.