Dishing Up the Dirt

Butternut Molasses Muffins

It’s officially winter. It’s been a long time coming but now it’s here.  As we enter the long, cold and dark days ahead I hope that we can all find comfort, calm and quiet moments to be still, present and to just endure. I personally was really dreading this winter. With Covid it was hard enough to see people in the summer but at least we could be outside. Now, as indoor time takes up the majority of where we’re hanging out I’m just allowing myself to endure the dark and isolation. I’m grateful for my daughter and husband and all of the animals. They keep me buys and distracted. And I’m also really grateful for my kitchen. It’s always been the place I turn to for comfort and this year more than ever I think we can all agree that comfort is necessary.

These muffins are something I’ve played around with a few times. I love the richness from the molasses and it took a few tries to get the proportions right but I think I finally nailed it. Blackstrap molasses is the molasses of choice here (if you use a light molasses the results will be quite different and less flavorful) I love blackstrap because it’s loaded with iron which is something I tend to be low in so I like adding it to my meals as often as I can (it’s great in oatmeal and pancakes!) These muffins are hearty enough to be enjoyed for breakfast and sweet enough to be enjoyed as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea, coffee or glass of eggnog. I think they’re pretty festive for this time of the year and I hope you all enjoy them as much as we do. In the spirit of sourcing all my ingredients local (the molasses is from Eugene, OR!) I stuck with hazelnut flour, honey, and local cream cheese for the frosting. If hazelnut flour isn’t local to you or you can’t find it you can substitute with almond flour. And of course, any variety of winter squash can be used in place of the butternut. Roasted pumpkin, kabocha, delicata, or acorn are all good options.

Happy winter everyone. I hope you are well and safe.

Butternut Molasses Muffins

Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours    Serves: 12

For the butternut squash 
  • 1 medium size butternut squash (or any winter squash) sliced in half, seeds removed
  • drizzle of olive oil, hazelnut oil or melted butter for the pan
For the muffins
  • 2 1/2 cups Hazelnut Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut oil (or another neutral tasting oil)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed butternut squash (see above)
For the frosting
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set to the side.
  2. Drizzle the butternut squash halves with a little oil and place face down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast in the oven until fork tender. About 45-55 minutes
  3. When cool enough to handle scoop out the butternut squash flesh and place in a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon until smooth (a few clumps are fine) Remove one cup of the squash puree and set aside. (Save the rest for another use)
  4. In a large bowl combine the hazelnut flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, honey, molasses, vanilla and butternut squash. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well.
  6. Divide the batter between the muffin tins and bake in the oven until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of a muffin. About 18 minutes.
  7. Prepare the frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter together with a mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla, honey and molasses. Continue to beat until smooth and well incorporated. Taste test and adjust as needed.
  8. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Notes

*Any variety of winter squash will work here. Cooking times will very from kitchen to kitchen so keep a close eye on the muffins while they bake.


Leave a Reply

4 thoughts on “Butternut Molasses Muffins

  1. Allison Shayne says:

    Hi Andrea, winters can be hard but especially now. You are not alone! Walks or hiking helps me so much!
    I was curious if you knew why people struggle with cutting a squash in1/2 to bake? Why not just prick it a few times and put it in the oven whole? This recipe looks delicious and healthy. I can’t wait to make them! Thank you Ally

    1. Andrea says:

      Three cheers for the fresh air and walks/hikes! Yes to all of that.As far as the squash, cooking times are faster once it’s sliced in half so that is typically why I do that (plus I find it easier to scoop out the seeds when the squash is raw instead of baked). But I usually do it this way for time saving purposes. It works either way though! Enjoy those winter walks! xo

  2. Jenny says:

    Could I sub almond flour. I used to have hazelnut but am out and don’t use very often so don’t want to get for just one recipe but I would love to try this!

    1. Andrea says:

      Absolutely! I mention that in the post but I’ll add it in the recipes notes. Enjoy!!

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