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Butternut squash muffins?  Does it sound weird to you?  I guess not terribly weird when you consider things like carrot cake and pumpkin cookies and zucchini bread, but then Jamie Oliver goes and puts this zingy-sweetly tart topping on them, and what you’ve really got is butternut squash cupcakes, and that does sound weird.  Right?

But if the idea of these muffins slash cupcakes even vaguely appeals to you, then I suggest you do yourself a favor and get thee to a food processor.  Why?  Because not only are they super easy to make and filled with healthy no-need-to-feel-guilty stuff, but they also go over like gangbusters with children, co-workers and full-grown veggie-hating husbands alike. To put it simply: they are totally yummy.  Kind of like Jamie Oliver.

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Jamie Oliver’s Butternut Squash Muffins with a Frosty Top
makes 12 – 16 muffins

14 ounces butternut squash, seeded and roughly chopped (ok to leave skin on)
2 & 1/4 cups light brown sugar (I used 1 & 1/4 cup)
4 large free-range or organic eggs
pinch of salt
2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
2 heaping tablespoons baking powder
handful of chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1/2 cup)

For the Frosted Cream Topping:
1 clementine, zested (I used an orange)
1 lemon, zested
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup sour cream (I used 2% Greek yogurt)
2 heaping tablespoons icing sugar, sifted (this is confectioner’s sugar)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out (I used 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  In a food processor, buzz the butternut squash until finely chopped.  Add the sugar and eggs.  Buzz in a pinch of salt, the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and olive oil and mix until well beaten.  Scrape the sides if needed, and mix only until everything is well combined.

Fill a regular sized muffin tin lined with paper cups until each cup is just over 3/4 full.  Cook 20 – 25 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Allow muffins to cool on a wire rack.

For the topping:  Place the zest and lemon juice in a bowl.  Add the sour cream (or yogurt), the sifted confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and mix well.  Taste, and adjust the sweet and sour accordingly.  Keep in the fridge until ready to top the muffins.  If you like, sprinkle the topped muffins with a little more orange zest.

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