One of my favorite things to do with winter vegetables like beets and winter squash–both of which take a while to roast–is to roast big panfuls to have on hand for any number of savory or sweet uses. Since the roasting is basically unattended you can do it while you’re in the kitchen making something else for dinner or whenever you happen to be home for a bit or your oven is already on. It then seems like such a coup to have those sweet, tender chunks of goodness in your fridge whenever you want them. I think of this as another element in my prepared pantry. A term I use to describe all those things (veggie bouillon, cooked, frozen beans, etc.) that enable you to make fast food with real, wonderful ingredients.
Sometimes I don’t even manage to make the squash or beets into anything but just snack on them or serve them as a side with good olive oil and salt and a drizzle of sherry vinegar for the beets. But often they go into salads or a risotto or soup or curry. The other day I had a bunch of roasted squash in the fridge as well as a partial can of coconut milk which I knew wouldn’t last much longer. So out of these two items these muffins were born.
The bake-with-what-you-have strategy does not always work but this time it did and I will open a new can of coconut milk and roast squash for just this purpose in the future. I added some chopped golden raisins (whole my son picks them out but chopped he doesn’t mind them) for sweetness, a bunch of fresh, grated ginger and some toasted shredded coconut. Next time I’m going to try adding some lime or lemon zest just for fun but there already is plenty going on in these. And in the bake-with-what-you-have vein, I’m sure these would be good with nuts instead of raisins or other dried fruit or different sweeteners so play around and let me know how it goes.
Winter Squash Coconut Muffins
These muffins are not very sweet so up the sweetener a bit if you’d like. And the sweetness will also depend on the kind of squash you use. I used buttercup and would recommend it, kabocha, hubbard or butternut. You want a dense, dry-ish fleshed, sweet squash. But then again, use whatever you have and see how it goes!
About 16 – 20 muffins (I made 12 regular sized-ones and 8 smaller ones — see photo)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or spelt flour, etc. )
3/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown or regular granulated sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
Generous 2 cups roasted winter squash
1/2 cup golden raisins (chopped up a bit if you have raisin haters in your circle)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut lightly toasted, divided (I did this while I was preheating the oven)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (preferably full fat)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons coarse sugar such as demerara or turbinado
3 tablespoons toasted, shredded coconut (from quantity listed above)
Preheat oven to 375. While it’s heating spread the shredded, unsweetened coconut on a sheet pan and toast until just beginning to turn golden. This can take anywhere from 5- 10 minutes. Check often and be careful not to burn.
Put the squash, eggs, ginger, coconut milk and vanilla in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Alternatively you can mash the squash with a fork (it should be nice and soft and easy to do) and then whisk all the wet ingredients together by hand.
Whisk the flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the squash coconut milk mixture, the raisins and toasted coconut (be sure to reserve 3 tablespoons for the topping) and stir until just combined. Don’t over mix.
Portion the batter into muffin tins, filling each one about 3/4 full. Sprinkle each unbaked muffin with the coarse sugar and toasted coconut, lightly pressing down on the topping so it sticks well.
Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.