Mum’s Marvelous Mystery (Squash Pineapple Easter Bunny Ear) Muffins
We are in what I think is the final lap of yet another sinus cold around here. Even though yesterday I made a super fantastic left overs and chicken soup to really give this cold a kick in the pants, today we want something more in the No More Soup theme! So my mission was to make some muffins loaded with healthy goodness, but also tasty enough for a still slightly sick 7 year old boy to want to eat. Which is why we are now full of delicious Mystery Muffins!
What are these mystery marvels? Well… they are a combination of basic muffin recipe and whatever is left untouched in the kitchen, that I was able to sneak into them. Having a cold the week after easter means we haven’t been grocery shopping in a while. So I wanted to make the most of what we have around. Being mostly a cute little spaghetti squash, some pineapple puree (which is actually the previously cleverly frozen baggie of the pulp that comes out when you juice things…) and the bottom of a bag of walnuts. I don’t worry about going nut free. I don’t usually send baking to school, kind of like having something different for him to have when he gets home. You know, 2 seconds after they come in the door is really the best time to put something edible in their hands.
I am a big fan of squash. But the boy isn’t. So I don’t buy it often, as I don’t bother to bake it just for myself. But someone gave me a little one recently and I hate to leave it waiting on the counter until it starts to sprout! (did you know that if you leave one sitting long enough the seeds inside will start to sprout their own sprouts!) So this whole thing started out with that squash in mind. But how to make a muffin without raising the suspicions of a child? He is not a fan of surprises in his food. He hates raisins, won’t eat jam, and I know he wouldn’t make it more than 2 bites into a muffin if he actually saw or tasted something as odd as a strand of squash or a chunk of pineapple! The solution is of course chocolate. Plenty of that around! And if he decides he is not a fan, the more for mum!
So I started with the squash. Cut it down the centre, scooped the seeds out and using an actual silver spork that was my mother’s, scraped it into a bowl. Looks like grated squash to me! Then I remembered the frozen pineapple pulp, so I put that in to thaw in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Then I pulled up a basic muffin recipe… (I have total respect and a bit of awe for people who can head in to a baking adventure completely prepared. I do like to be organized, but I am kind of a wing it and see where it takes me person as well.)
Squashed Pineapple Muffins
(as made this afternoon, based on what I had around… but I am a big fan of substituting, so I encourage that and happy baking to you all!)
- 1 ½ cup white all purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup light br sugar (if you substitute the puree mentioned in wet ingreds with honey, you could choose to leave out the sugar altogether…)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup coconut oil (I had to sit my jar in hot water for about 8 minutes to melt enough to pour)
- ½ cup pineapple puree (you could use ½ cup honey, or other fruit or apple sauce!)
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup grated yellow squash (or carrot, zucchini)
- ½ cup walnuts chopped
- ¾ cup dark chocolate chips, or roughly chopped/widely grated solid chocolate easter bunny ears
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Prep your squash and other things that might need to be thawed or melted. (Or even better be prepared ahead of time, but I like to wing it a bit.)
- Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. (If you are unable to sift due to circumstances such as having only a tea strainer that is not big enough to sift flour, gently draw whisk back and forth a few times through flour each time you add an ingredient, give the bowl a few good swift rolls and imagine that will do the trick).
- Add squash, walnuts and chocolate to the flour and toss to coat. It is better to add your extras to the dry mix so they don’t get gooey soft in the wet, or change the colour of the batter too much. (Although if you are ever using blueberries, it is kind of fun to mix them in with the wet and watch the batter turn blue. That makes for fun cakes and muffins, I can tell you!)
- Whisk the wet ingredients in a bowl, or blend in a food processor. I don’t use the hand blender, as I am trying to learn how to make less of a splattery mess, but that is up to you. I would love a food processor but for now I find a wooden spoon does fine.
- Pour the wet into the dry and stir but do not over mix.
- Spoon batter into muffin tins that are greased or papered. I fill mine ¾ way. As I am typing this think it would be fun to sprinkle a pinch of coconut and maybe some more shaved chocolate bunny ears on top of the batter, just make sure it is just a little bit for each muffin or they won’t raise well. (I also have a fun tip for greasing. Whenever my butter is nearly done, I fold the foil up and keep it in the fridge for using to grease muffin tins. Ok maybe I am a bit of a hoarder, or maybe I just like to make the most of everything!)
- Bake 17 minutes (ok or 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven. 17 seems to be my magic number)
- Cool muffins for about 8 minutes before removing from muffin tin.
- Pull or cut into 4 pieces and smear butter through to serve, still warm!
He told me that it smelled like cinnamon rolls in here! So that is a positive! I did cut a couple of muffins in half to make sure I wasn’t giving him one with obvious signs of squash or pineapple, but the verdict is that they are acceptable. Can’t go wrong with chocolate!