Butternut-Pine Nut Muffins

Butternut-Pine Nut Muffins, photo courtesy of author Jean Anderson.

(recipe from MAD FOR MUFFINS by Jean Anderson (published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); © copyright Jean Anderson 2014)

Makes 1 Dozen

I’ve short-cut things by using frozen puréed winter squash — the unseasoned (package sizes vary from 9 to 12 ounces). You may have more squash than you need for this recipe. If so, just smooth the excess into a vegetable soup, pasta sauce, casserole, or gravy. Note: For 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pine nuts, you’ll need about 2/3 cup shelled nuts.

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  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf rosemary, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped lightly toasted pine nuts (3 to 5 minutes at 350º F.)
  • 1 cup firmly packed thawed, frozen butternut or winter squash (unseasoned)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons moderately finely chopped untoasted pine nuts (topping)


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease 12 standard-size muffin pan cups or spritz with non-stick cooking spray or, if you prefer, insert a crinkly muffin liner into each cup. Set pans aside.
  2. Combine first seven ingredients (flour through black pepper) in medium-size mixing bow, add toasted pine nuts, toss well, and make well in center of dry ingredients.
  3. 3Whisk butternut purée, milk, olive oil, and egg in second medium-size bowl until smooth, pour into well in dry ingredients, and stir only enough to combine — specks of flour should be clearly visible.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin pans, dividing amount equally — each muffin pan cup will be approximately 2/3 full though occasionally a bit more or a bit less. Sprinkle centers of muffins with untoasted pine nuts, again dividing amount evenly.
  5. Slide onto middle oven shelf and bake 20 to 25 minutes until muffins have risen, their tops are nicely rounded and lightly browned
  6. Serve muffins oven-hot with unsalted butter. Or set out little bowls of extra-virgin olive oil, then split the muffins, and dip just as you would with chunks of focaccia.

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