I first had these muffins two winters ago, during a period of time when my roommate and I had been supplied with more butternut squash than we could begin to know what to do with. Between her family and mine, there was a common tendency to be overzealous with certain garden plants, and this particular year butternut squash was apparently one of those. We had a steady stream of butternut squash from October to February, and because no one wants to eat squash soup for six months, we got creative. There was squash stew, squash bread, squash soup, squash lasagna, even butternut squash pudding (really good, actually), but one of the most memorable experiments turned out to be these muffins, which are NOT your typical squash (nee pumpkin) muffins.
I'm not one to argue with a British accent, and certainly not when it comes to someone like Jamie Oliver, so when he instructs us to leave the skin on the squash and "whiz" it raw in a food processor, I listen. He says to add olive oil, okay. When I'm told to use sour cream for the "frosted cream" topping, I obey. The result is a muffin that tastes so distinctly like butternut squash, it's kind of incredible. I've made a few tweaks to his original recipe (mostly related to the amount of sugar in the batter) but it's more or less the same. Oh, you can also just forgo the topping and simply eat them with plain yogurt--because pretty much everything is amazing that way, IMO. —gingerjillian
butternut squash, skin on, deseeded, and roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin tins with paper cups.
Whiz (Jamie's word) the squash in a food processor until finely chopped (I used the grating attachment for my food processor and it worked great).
In a large bowl, add the sugar and crack in the eggs. Whisk in the olive oil, stir in the squash, and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients: combine a big pinch of salt, the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon, and mix well. Add your dry ingredients to the wet, along with your walnuts, and gently mix together til everything is moistened. Try not to overdo it with the mixing - you want to just combine everything and no more.
Fill your paper cups with the muffin mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Check to see whether they are cooked properly by sticking a wooden skewer or a knife right into one of the muffins - if it comes out clean, they're done. If it's a bit sticky, pop them back into the oven for a little longer. Don't overbake! When they are done, remove from the oven and leave the muffins to cool on a wire rack.
To make the frosty topping: Place most of the clementine zest, all the lemon zest and the lemon juice in a bowl. Add the sour cream, powdered sugar, and the vanilla, and mix well. Taste and think about it - adjust the amount of lemon juice or powdered sugar to balance the sweet and sour to your liking. Put into the fridge until your muffins have cooled down, then spoon the topping onto the muffins. It'll be runny--this is what you want!