Aaarrrghh!!!! Anyone else feel burned out and dejected? About…you know, right? I am still quite exhausted from this week. I cannot get over how most in my company assumed things would go a certain way. This has been creating so much stress and anxiety. I imagine it is very similar to Brexit. Oh well. I don’t know how much I’ll be posting about politics, because after all, this is a baking blog, but I did have to acknowledge what was going on. Life goes on, I guess, food blogging-wise.
BTW, though the vibrant orange of this squash matches something, this is in no way indicating that I’ve reached any level of acceptance. I’m still going through the Kübler-Ross model for the 5 stages of grief. Bear with me. In the meantime, I will still bake, as it is what sometimes keeps me sane.
Kabocha Ginger Muffins. Kabocha is a type of squash that is naturally sweeter than most other squash. It is often used in savory stews, soups, side dishes, but also of desserts. This is a sort of international squash, as the name comes from Japan, but it wasn’t originally from Japan. The Portuguese introduced it to parts of Asia, but it was already available in various other parts of the world. In the grocery store, it is often bunched together with sugar pumpkins.
I confess that I’ve not heard of these until this year, but just looking at the vibrant color of it, I knew that I would soon be posting about it! Despite recent U.S. events, I still like this color very much.
I think the best part of making this is the smell of it when you roast the squash in your kitchen! That, and it’s also relatively easy to prepare this recipe. I decided to make it simple with all emphasis on ginger, rather than using pumpkin spice mix, or any of the other spices, but this is a versatile recipe that of course one can adapt, so feel free to use the more traditional mix of spices often associated with autumn.
I hope you enjoy it!
Kabocha Squash Ginger Muffins (makes about 20 muffins)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 Tablespoon crystallized ginger, chopped finely
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup roasted kabocha squash flesh
2 eggs, room temp.
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup buttermilk
demerara or turbinado sugar, optional, for sprinkling over
Roast the squash by cutting it in half, horizontally with the skin sides down, on a baking sheet lined with foil, seeds removed first, rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Roast in preheated oven to 375 degrees F. for roughly an hour, until flesh is soft ith some browning on the edges. Strain, or mash, after it has cooled completely. You should be able to get a few cups of flesh out of a medium sized kabocha squash, but you only need one cup. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line or grease 20 muffin tin molds. Set aside.
Add the first five ingredients in a bowl and stir thoroughly with a whisk several times to ensue ingredients are well combined and integrated. Set aside.
Add the butter milk and kabocha in a bowl and mix well until incorporated. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat with a hand held electric mixer until incorporated. Add the vanilla and do the same.
Alternate adding a little flour mixture, mixing and scraping down sides of the bowl and then adding a portion of the buttermilk/kabocha mixture. So, you should start with a third of the flour mixture, mixing, scraping down the sides of the bowl, adding half the buttermilk/kabocha mixture, repeating this process, finally ending with the last third of the flour mixture.
Portion out evenly for each muffin tin mold. I added three tablespoons, a little less than 1/4 cup for each muffin, coming up with 20 muffins. Sprinkle tops with demerara or turbinado sugar, before baking, if desired. This gives it a slight crunch and a little browning.
Bake for about 20-24 minutes, or until tops are slightly browned on the edges, and no longer wet in the middle. Do a toothpick test to see if the muffins in the middle of the muffin tin are done. Take out of oven and let cool in tin for a few minutes if not using liners. Enjoy!