Tag Archives: whole wheat

Butternut Squash and Apple Muffins with Pumpkin Seed Streusel

I have received one butternut squash and one dozen eggs every Tuesday for the last three weeks from my CSA.  Up until yesterday, I had exactly three butternut squashes on my counter and three dozen eggs in my refrigerator.  I always like to kid myself and say things like “When fall gets here and the kids are back in school, I will finally organize their baby books.  Or clean out the storage area.  Or have that yard sale I’ve been meaning to do since June.”  Instead, I am confronted with back to school nights, violin shopping, supply acquisition, homework helping, pick ups and drop offs, driving, soccer, snacks, and maintaining some level of personal hygiene.

(Memo to my kids: I really have tried with your baby books.  Although I am very sentimental and keep things like your baby teeth and dried up belly button stubs, I am very poor at organizing these items into beautiful volumes for you to treasure one day.  I really hope it is OK that everything is crammed into a baby book with a cracked spine, papers falling out, and notes written in any color pen (or pencil) I had handy.  I do love you.  But not enough to scrapbook.)

And this entire month has been consumed by the Bloomsburg Floods.  We have the luxury of not being in the epicenter of the destruction and our busy schedule is pretty trivial compared to what the residents are going through.  But it has meant a lot of back and forth travel — which means bags that don’t have a chance to get unpacked before they are being packed again. Whirlwind is how some describe it, I think.  But as I talk with friends who are having their homes condemned, I am pretty sure a whirlwind would be a welcome feeling.  Never mind the “problem” of having all of your children’s baby book items in a box, rather than in a muddy heap never to be looked at again.

This whirlwind seems to blow cooking and eating rules out the window.  The grown ups have eaten a lot of Thai takeout. The kids have eaten way too many pasta dinners and lots of dessert.  It was the boy’s 5th birthday too, which seemed to provide an endless supply of cookies, rice krispy treats, cakes, and cupcakes.  But no more!

I turned on the oven yesterday (and it still worked!) and I made these muffins in an attempt to make a relatively healthy treat or breakfast that the kids would enjoy.  They are whole grain, quite low in sugar and fat, and filled with both butternut squash and apples.  They were a nice fall treat and used up one whole squash and 4 eggs.

Only two squash and 32 eggs to go.

Butternut Squash and Apple Muffins with Pumpkin Seed Streusel

Makes about 18 full size muffins

Muffins:
1 1/2 cups of cooked butternut squash (I like to halve mine, scoop out seeds, and slow roast for about an hour at 325 degrees Fahrenheit)
4 eggs
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar (can use more — up to 3/4 cup for a sweeter muffin)
1/3 cup applesauce
6 T vegetable oil
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 medium apple, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped

Streusel:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (can use more here too if you like)
1 t cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped and toasted pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  In a large bowl, mix wet ingredients by whisking together cooked squash, eggs, dark brown sugar, applesauce, and vegetable oil.

3. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients by combining salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and whole wheat pastry flour.

4.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Stir in chopped apples.  Spoon into greased muffin tins about 2/3 of the way full. (You can use cupcake papers if you like.)

5.  Combine streusel ingredients (brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin seeds) and sprinkle a nice spoonful over top of each muffin before baking.

6.  Bake muffins for about 15 minutes until just done and a tester comes out basically clean.  Let cool a few minutes in tins and then remove muffins to a cooling rack.  (I had to use a knife to loosen them before removing.)

 

 

 

 

Whole Wheat Cheese Straws

Whenever we have friends over, I am always lacking in hors d’oeuvres.  I usually get so in over my head with a main dish and a dessert that I am lucky to put some cheese and crackers out.  I’ll blame it on the fact that everyone in my house is a slob.  Including me.  So if I can pull off a good meal, the kids are fed and clothed, and the house actually looks presentable, I have done my job to the best of my ability.  Alternatively, if I invite you over and we have pizza and the laundry is sitting in the family room unfolded, you will know that I took the day off.

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But these little cheese straws are pretty damn easy — and you can pull them off in no time flat if you have unexpected guests.  My version uses whole wheat pastry flour and I think they are every bit as delicious as their white flour counterparts.  Make sure you use the whole wheat pastry flour as it ensures a very tender pastry — other types of whole wheat flour will probably not be as good.  The type of cheese and seasonings can be changed based on your mood — try them with parmesan and a bit of oregano or fontina and rosemary… the possibilities are endless.  Unless you run out of cheese, of course.  Then you can open up a box of crackers.

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The simplest version, and one of my favorites, uses some great sharp cheddar and cayenne pepper.  They are a tad spicy, so you can cut back if you are cooking for the kids (or choose another herb or spice).  And while they keep in a sealed container for a day or two, I think they are definitely best when served the same day.  Preferably with a nice glass of wine or chilled champagne.

Whole Wheat Cheese Straws

Makes 2-3 dozen, depending on how long you make them

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), cut into cubes
8 oz. sharp cheddar, grated
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper
5-6 T heavy cream

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  In bowl of food processor, combine butter, cheese, flour, salt, and pepper and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.

3.  Add about 4 T of cream and pulse until dough comes together into a mass.  I usually need about 6 T for this to happen because whole wheat flour generally requires more moisture than white flour (the humidity also impacts this).  But use just as much as needed so it doesn’t become too sticky.

4.  Turn dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and bring together into a flattened ball.  Roll out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick (your preference — thinner will be crispier, thicker will be chewier).  Cut into strips about 1/2 inch thick and place on another sheet of parchment, leaving a little space between them.  This batch I left about 4-6 inches long, because I wasn’t feeling fussy.  You can make them longer — which makes a cool presentation in a vase or glass.  You can also twist them if you like.

5.  Put parchment and cheese straws onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 F for about 15-17 minutes, until golden.  (If you go thinner, they may take a little less time … thicker, a little more.)  If you need two baking sheets to cook them all, make sure you rotate the sheets halfway through.

6.  Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes on baking sheets.  Remove the cheese straws from the sheets and allow to fully cool on racks.

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