Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Halloween butternut squash & pecan muffins

As a family we've never been big on Halloween. I come from a generation before it really started to catch on in the UK. About 30 years ago, inspired by American TV shows and films, I tried trick or treating with a couple of friends. The reaction was not good and one lady was particularly unimpressed: "You should be ashamed of yourself going round the streets beggin'. I'll be tellin' your mother!"

Needless to say, that was my first and last attempt. I didn't go trick or treating again until Chickpea was small and we stuck to close friends and neighbours. Of course, she loved it and particularly enjoyed dressing up as a witch in a black bin bag or as a cat with alice band ears and a clip on tail. The last time we trick or treated was probably 10 years ago.

However, we do consider ourselves a Halloween friendly household and I love to see the little ones out in their costumes. This year I decided it was time to embrace Halloween and celebrate with some baking (any excuse!). Pumpkin was the obvious choice so I looked round my books and magazines for inspiration. These muffins are the result and have been created by taking elements from several different recipes.

I really enjoyed making them and hope you do too.

Butternut squash and pecan muffins

Makes 12

150g butter
225g caster sugar
2 eggs
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
150ml sour cream
125g grated butternut squash
75g pecans, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160 Fan/350F/Gas 4
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4. Sift or mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices.
5. Add the grated squash to the sour cream.
6. Fold in the flour mix and sour cream mix alternately into the butter mix until just combined.
7. Fold in the pecans.
8. Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 15-20 minutes until well-risen and firm. Put onto a wire rack to cool.

They're delicious plain as shown here. However, this is Halloween so some decoration was called for. I chose to make a butter and cream cheese topping to decorate.

Maple butter and cream cheese topping
100g cream cheese
50g butter
1.5 tablespoons maple syrup
250g icing sugar

1. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
2. Add the maple syrup and icing sugar and again beat until smooth.
3. Add a generous swirl to each muffn and decorate with sprinkles and sweets.

1 comment:

  1. Yum - these look very nice indeed. I especially like the Halloween styling, with the spooky sweets and plate.