Maple-Butternut Muffins (The Leftovers Club)

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These muffins are dense and filling—perfect for breakfast or for a snack on the snowshoe trail. They’re also moist and sweet, and the sugar-walnut topping makes them craveable. The combination of squash, apples, and nutmeg is reminiscent of autumn’s pumpkin mania, but I don’t mind. I can’t wait nine months to cook with these flavors!

You can defrost a package of frozen squash for this recipe. It’s a great addition to oatmeal and sauces, just like canned pumpkin. I had some leftover roasted squash (35 minutes at 425 degrees, coated in cooking spray), so I mashed that with a fork. If you use leftovers, make sure they haven’t been salted.

I sent these muffins to Jennifer of Recipe for Random for this month’s edition of The Leftovers Club. If you’re a blogger who has leftovers and you want to receive baked goods in the mail, sign up and join us! Click below to see what everyone baked this month.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp white flour
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • heaping 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash puree
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 a Gala apple, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
FOR THE TOPPING:
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 heaping tbsp walnuts
  • pinch of cinnamon

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  2. Use an electric mixer to beat the egg, sugar, maple syrup, oil, applesauce, and vanilla on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients in a few batches, mixing on low speed until well combined.
  3. Add the butternut squash puree and oats and mix for 2 minutes. Stir in the walnuts and apples by hand. IMG_4980
  4. Make the crumble topping by pulsing the sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in a mini-chop until blended.
  5. Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into 9 paper-lined muffin cups, and sprinkle with the topping.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

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Makes 9 muffins. Adapted from
http://www.thesweetchick.com/2013/10/maple-butternut-squash-bread.html

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Fruit & Cheese Phyllo Puffs

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Did you know that phyllo dough is less rich than other pastries? It actually isn’t that unhealthy, so it’s a great crust option if you want to make low-fat desserts or pot pies.

I made these appetizers for a small party at my house—luckily, because I would have eaten them all myself if no one else was around. The goat cheese is creamy but has texture from the walnuts, and the dried fruit pairs well with the honey. A tiny drizzle of balsamic vinegar provides complexity without adding too much acid. The filling is wonderful, but the best part is the flaky crust.

These puffs look complicated, but they aren’t difficult to make. Just be sure to dry your cutting board between the first and second batches of phyllo stacks; otherwise the water you used to seal the first group of puffs will make the second group fall apart.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz goat cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1/4 cup dried Turkish apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix goat cheese, walnuts, and honey in a small bowl. Microwave for a few seconds if the cheese isn’t soft enough for you to incorporate the ingredients.
  3. Stack four sheets of phyllo on a cutting board, lightly brushing each sheet with oil. Cut the stack into six equal squares.
  4. Place 1 tbsp of mixed apricots and raisins in the center of each square. Top with 2 tsp of the goat cheese mixture, and drizzle lightly with vinegar. IMG_4625
  5. Use your fingers to wet the edges of each square with water, and bring together the opposite corners to form a triangle. Press the edges together to seal the puff. Place on the baking sheet and spray the tops with cooking spray.
  6. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and fillings.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, until the edges of the phyllo are golden brown. Serve warm.

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Makes 12. Adapted from http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/947489/5-fabulous-phyllo-appetizer-recipes