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Butternut Apple Muffins and Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze

Butternut Apple Muffins and Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze

Butternut Apple Muffins and Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze

Butternut squash is often prepared in savory ways, but it really holds its own in sweet dishes, too. When roasted, it has a lighter texture than pumpkin, with a vibrant, golden glow. It has a subtle sweetness similar to a carrot, which makes it ideal for autumnal muffins and cakes; pairing it with classic seasonal favorites such as apple and cinnamon gives the mellow butternut a chance to shine.

Resting the batter is crucial to preparing fluffy, rich muffins. It allows the flavors to meld together overnight and hydrates the dry ingredients, giving muffins a balanced texture throughout. Making them the night before is convenient, too; simply grab batter from the refrigerator and portion with your ice cream scoop, and you have fresh-baked breakfast muffins with zero mess or effort.

Serves | 16 to 18 |

Squash

  • 1¼ lbs butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or other flavorless oil

Apple Filling

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced ¼-inch thick
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Muffins

  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • butternut squash puree mixture (see above)
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 9 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp hot water

| Preparation – Squash | Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large bowl, combine butternut squash cubes and grapeseed oil; toss to coat thoroughly. Spread on a lipped half-sheet pan in a single layer, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until squash is tender and lightly browned, flipping halfway through cook time. Remove from oven and place in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Set aside to cool.

| Preparation – Apple Filling | In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Chop apple slices into ½ -inch pieces and add to pan along with brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir to coat apple pieces and incorporate ingredients, then let cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until apples are tender but not mushy, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

| Preparation – Muffins | In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat on high for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating for about 10 seconds after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl again; beat for another 10 seconds. Add butternut squash puree mixture and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Scrape sides of the bowl and beat for another 10 seconds.

With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, scraping the bowl between additions; the entire process should take no longer than 1 minute. Remove bowl from the stand, and use the spatula to work the batter, scraping down the sides and up through the bottom to ensure there are no dry spots or unmixed ingredients. Transfer batter to an airtight storage container and let chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease cups of a standard muffin tin. Using a spatula, fold in the apple-pie filling until evenly distributed. Use a 2¾-oz ice-cream scoop to portion batter into prepared muffin tin; fill the bowl of the scoop, then press it against the side of the bowl to remove any excess. Carefully eject the batter into the muffin tin, keeping the flattened area flush to the bottom and the rounded portion facing upward. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, checking at the 15-minute mark. Muffins are done when a cake tester or small skewer comes out almost clean; a few crumbs are fine, but no raw batter should be visible. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

| Preparation – Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze| In a large bowl, add confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and melted butter. Whisk together to combine. Add hot water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until glaze has reached desired consistency. Use immediately.

| To Serve | Transfer glaze to a small bowl, deep enough to allow space for dunking muffins. Hold each muffin by the base and turn over, dunking the top portion into the glaze. Lift out and dunk a second time. Lift out again, allow excess to drip off. Rotate your wrist slightly and swivel the muffin until it is right-side up again; set onto a serving tray. Space muffins slightly apart from one another to avoid glaze touching. Serve.

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Shannon Weber is the creator, author and photographer behind the award-winning blogaperiodictableblog.com, and her work has appeared on websites such as Bon Appétit, Serious Eats and America’s Test Kitchen.

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