Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Loaf/Muffins

Halloween is only a couple of days away. Have you carved a pumpkin or are you wondering what to make with the pumpkins or squash that you've grown, bought or been given?

I take full advantage of the fall harvest of squash. I buy mostly butternut squash, as they have a very thin skin, little waste in the pulp and are very flavourful for baking and eating as a vegetable. Just before our Canadian Thanksgiving, I found assorted squash on for 67 cents/pound. I bought two good sized ones that weighed 8 1/4 pounds in total. After I pealed, seeded and cubed them (about 1 inch cubes), I put them, some water and a bit of salt in the dutch oven, covered it with the lid, and brought it to a boil, then simmered on medium until the squash was tender - about 15-20 minutes. I carefully drained the squash, then used the potato masher to mash the squash into an even texture. Once it cooled, I measured 1/2 cup portions into zippered snack bags and flattened. I froze them flat on a cookie sheet and then transferred them to a zippered freezer bag for longer freezer storage. From those two squash, I got twenty 1/2 cup portions. That is a lot of Delicious veggie servings and baking quantities at the ready. It worked out to about 27.5 cents/package. Economical and tasty!

I love squash as a vegetable with just a bit of margarine, salt and pepper - but I also enjoy my muffins or a loaf. So here is a recipe that I have modified from "Company's Coming - Muffins and More"

Pumpkin Muffins/Loaf

4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup cooked and mashed pumpkin or squash
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Combine the cream cheese, margarine and sugar. Cream until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time until well blended. Mix in the pumpkin or squash.

In another bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour over batter all at once and mix just till evenly but completely moistened.

Loaf: Spoon batter evenly into a well greased 9"x5"x3" loaf pan and bake at 350F oven for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick test is clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.
Muffins: Divide batter evenly among 18-20 muffin cups lined with paper cups. Bake at 350F oven for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Turn each muffin so that it is sitting at an angle in the muffin pan cups to allow for even cooling.

Both of these versions are very tasty and freeze well. The loaf is somewhat dense and a bit heavier than the muffins as it does not have the expansion room that the muffins do as they are baking.

Hope you enjoy!


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