Not just any muffins, banana kabocha squash chocolate chip muffins to be exact. If that sounds like a random combination to you…you’re right, it is. However, sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. As you all know by now, I often feel the need to just create things in the kitchen. As a young child, my Mom would let me play with bowls of random ingredients and experiment with different combinations, and I still like doing the same thing 25 years later. So, the other night, I opened up my freezer (shielding myself from the impending avalanche of random Ziploc baggies), and out came a bag with 1/2 c of mashed kabocha squash. What to make, what to make…
Sidenote: My Nana used to throw random bags and containers in the freezer, but she was opposed to labelling them, instead relying on her memory. Nana was a phenomenal cook and her strategy sometimes worked in her favour, but it also meant that she never knew if her chocolate cake was going to be iced with icing, or with leftover gravy! A few bad experiments later, my Mother has become militant about labelling everything that goes in the freezer. I think if you had grown up with my Nana you would understand too. The only point of me telling you this is that yes, I’m SURE it was kabocha squash (and not, say, butternut or carrot soup) that I used because I label (most) things!
So, speaking of kabocha, have you ever heard of it before? My sources (i.e. Google) tell me it’s also known as Japanese pumpkin. It’s a rather ugly squash – picture a squatty dull green pumpkin – but it tastes sweet and you can eat the skin! I roasted one up a few months ago, and after eating away at it for a few days I froze the remainder in 1/2 c measurements…minus the skin. I debated for exactly 2.5 minutes what to make – soup? cake? souffle? enchiladas?- but when I opened up my fridge and saw some yogurt and a banana quickly approaching the end of its prime, I knew the decision had been made for me. Yes, my friends, the kabocha was going to become muffins whether it liked it or not.
Something else my Nana was famous for was not being able to replicate anything she had done in the past. My Mom has often said that as children, they’d love what she made for dinner so they’d ask her to make it again…except she didn’t write it down and couldn’t remember so no two dishes ever turned out alike. I can appreciate that, because I’m very much the same way. However, for your benefit, I wrote down the measurements of what I used as I went along so you (and I) can make these muffins again and again and again…if they work out that is.
Here’s what I used:
AP flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, white sugar, brown sugar, flax-seed, canola oil, vanilla, plain yogurt, egg, mashed kabocha squash, banana. Oh yes, and I almost forgot – chocolate chips!!!
Before I show you what I did, I must provide you with a short disclaimer – for those of you that scrutinize each and every photo, you will notice that I didn’t include all of the ingredients in the photoshoot. That is because I started with what’s in the photo, and then added some extras as I went along – a little creative license, if you will. It’s just how I roll, ok?
I started with 1 c of AP flour and 3/4 c of whole wheat flour, and then remembered that muffins usually involve some kind of leavener. I threw in 1 tsp each of baking powder and baking soda, and – for good measure – a good shake of salt (prob 1/2 tsp for you purists out there). Oh yes, and since kabocha is like pumpkin, I added a tsp of pumpkin pie spice too. Can’t hurt, right?!
Now, on to the wet ingredients. I added the 1/2 c kabocha to one mashed banana to get the party started:
Yin and yang = beautiful harmony.
I know exactly what you’re thinking – “But Jaclyn, I don’t have any kabocha squash in my freezer!” Stop your whining. I will hold off on chastising you this time, but …. well, but nothing, really. You can use another banana or canned pumpkin instead. I think either would work splendidly. However, just because you’ve never heard of kabocha doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it, so you need to at least promise me that you won’t judge a squash by its skin and go purchase one soon. Deal?
Now that those high-pressure negotiations are over (my career in law is on the back-burner, but thanks for asking) we can continue on with our muffins. You know, one of the nice things about having a blog that you take a lot of pictures for is that you can look back and see what you added. For example, I know, based on the picture that you’re about to see, that I added 1/2 c white sugar, 1/4 c brown sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 c plain yogurt, 1/4 c canola oil, and a tsp of vanilla to the banana/kabocha mixture.
Alright – you caught me. I felt so guilty about forgetting the flax in my spinach smoothie the other day that after I mixed up all of the wet ingredients, I threw 1/4 c of it in the muffins to compensate. Looks I should re-hire my therapist, huh?
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients – which by this point you will have whisked sifted together – or add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Come on now, which is it going to be? These types of quandaries reveal so much about our personalities, don’t you think?
Give the whole thing a stir – but please, for the love of tender muffins everywhere, be gentle!
Friends, I have another disclaimer for you: the next picture may shock you. Please prepare yourself for what you are about to see.
Are you ready?
Alright, here goes nothing…
Yes, it’s true – I added about 3/4 c of chocolate chips to the batter. SHOCKING, right?!?! I figured since I was using whole wheat flour and flax, it was the least I could do for whoever would end up as the lucky recipients of these muffins.
No time for turning back now folks, I’m in this for good.
Hmmm….well, based on the amount of batter that I have in the bowl, I think I can get 12 muffins out of this batch. What do you think?
Let’s fast forward 20 minutes @ 350 degrees (oh, the magic of the internet!) and see how these turned out.
Hmmm – the look promising. I think we should try one, for quality control purposes and all. Any objections? Good.
Well, since I was officially nominated to take one for the team and take the first bite, here are my thoughts. You should not make these muffins unless you want to have tender, light muffins with a hint of spicy-sweetness and bursting with chocolate to contend with. I hereby absolve myself of any responsibility; you must make these are your own risk.
Now if you’ll all excuse me, I think it’s that time again. What do you think will fall out of my freezer next? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe even better, depending on how skilled you are at frozen food identification.
P.S. If I make these again – which, let’s be honest, who knows if I’ll ever make them THIS way again – I’d only add 1/2 c of chocolate chips. I think 3/4 c is just a bit too much.
P.P.S. If you just had to re-read that sentence and then check the “about me” page, I don’t blame you. I would hardly recognize myself either, but don’t worry, it’s still me in all of my chocolate-loving glory!