These muffins were inspired by the butternut squash sitting on my kitchen counter and an intense love of homemade ricotta. The bacon streusel topping just seals the deal. Their savory twist makes them perfect for breakfast, though I may add them to my dinner bread basket one of these days too. —Jennifer Perillo
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners; set aside.
Add butternut squash to a small roasting pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, until tender and lightly golden. Transfer to a dish to cool.
Add bacon to the pan used for the squash, and bake for 15 minutes, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined dish to drain until ready to prepare the streusel topping (recipe below).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Add the butter pieces and rub together with fingers until pea-sized bits form. Stir in the buttermilk until just combined with the dry ingredients. Gently stir in the ricotta, leaving some "lumps" of cheese. It will be a rather stiff dough-like batter.
Evenly spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle tops with an equal amount of streusel topping (see recipe below). Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and metal skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the streusel topping
To prepare the streusel, combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Use a fork to mix well. Add the drained bacon from step 1, and stir to mix well; set aside until ready to top muffins.
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and FoodNetwork.com. She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).