Date-Nut Butternut Squash Muffins

Alright, we’ll I’m not going to waste any time with this one. These are, hands down, the best muffins I have ever made. Better than any pumpkin or bran or blueberry or vegan whatever muffin there might have been, these are #1 ruler of the Muffin Kingdom. And, yet again, I went off of a recipe but tweaked it a bit. I bought this particular book, Pumpkin: A Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year (might perhaps be the #1 ruler of any pumpkin or baking book to exist… I know, big statement, but it’s pretty much the shizzle) in Seattle three years ago and remember being astounded that someone was genius enough to come up with a cookbook with a ton of fabulous pumpkin-including recipes. I pretty much squealed with delight in the middle of the Elliott Bay bookstore. There are recipes for every style and part of a pumpkin you could ever imagine. Sometimes I have to shame myself for not utilizing it more often. I want to make everything in it: roasted ginger pumpkin-pear soup, wild mushroom pumpkin risotto (and sage-pumpkin risotto), blue cheese and pumpkin galette, pumpkin chutney, pumpkin pizza with gorgonzola, pork stew with pumpkin and prunes, crepes with spinach and creamy pumpkin sauce, mexican pumpkin lasagna, ten different versions of pumpkin bread, coffee cakes, scones, white chocolate pepita apricot pumpkin bars, pumpkin baked alaska, lemon pumpkin strudel, pumpkin-rice pudding… okay I’ll shut up now before you kill me for making you so hungry and enticed. I suppose typing out all of the recipes that I’ve been meaning to get to stirs up the motivation process and reminds me.
So yeah, back to how amazing this muffins are. My grandparents even called and left me a voicemail this morning exclaiming how they were (are?) the best muffins they have ever had. I can’t delete it, it’s so precious. I have already listened to it 3 times. In her twangy Texas accent, “Hi Kylie, this is Nana, I just wanted to say those muffins were the best I’ve ever tasted, including the Silver Spur or the Buttery” (um, if you had any idea how amazing the pumpkin muffins or any other baked good those places make, that’s saying a lot). Then she goes, “and your Pops agrees…” (hands over the phone). Pops: “Me too.” (In the background) Nana: “Well, you could’ve said more… but, you know…” (phone clicks).
They crack me up.
So the recipe originally calls to use pumpkin, but I have had this can of butternut squash puree lying around for a bit too long, saving it for something “special” or a rainy day, perhaps, and this was my chance to be daring. So I went for it and have no regrets. Also used 1/4 cup of walnut oil and 1/4 cup of Smart Balance EFA butter in replacement of 1 stick of unsalted butter. I tend to go for oils > butters in muffins as they tend to turn out more moist. On top of that, there is a buttload of pureed dates, in addition to the moist squash puree, so over all this is definitely not a dry muffin. Me no likey dry muffins. And dates are amazing. And so is butternut squash. And figs. Basically what I’m saying is you’d be crazy to not make these.
And I couldn’t resist topping a few with fresh fig slices.
These muffins practically scream Autumn.
Date-Nut Butternut Squash Muffins
Adapted from Pumpkin: A Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year by DeeDee Stovel
Makes 12 muffins

2 eggs

1 cup canned, unsweetened pureed butternut squash
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/4 unsalted butter
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup spelt or whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of clove, cardamom, & ginger
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 cup liners (bonus points if you use ones with Halloween/autumn themed cheer).
2. Whisk together eggs, butternut, oil, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in the dates, walnuts, and pecans.
3. Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, cardamom, ginger, and salt into the pumpkin mixture. Using a rubber spatula, mix in the flour mixture until it is just moistened.
4. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan when cool and either cool completely on wire rack or eat immediately. I would recommend the last bit.

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