Savory Butternut Squash Muffins with Apples, Caramelized Onions, and Cheddar Cheese
Caramelizing the onion and roasting the butternut squash give these muffins pleasant depth of flavor. Since they're laced with fresh herbs and sharp Cheddar cheese, they're also enticingly fragrant. You could eat them plain, but why would you, when you can smear them with herb butter? These muffins get along really well with hearty soups and chilis as well as salads.

Makes 12 regular size muffins.

Muffins:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup milk

1/3 cup honey

2 large eggs

1/3 cup canola oil, plus 2 teaspoons, divided

1 small yellow onion, diced

a pinch of sugar

1 medium mildly sweet apple (such as Fuji), peeled and shredded

1 cup roasted, mashed butternut squash

1- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as rosemary and sage

3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts

Simple Herb Butter:

Add 2 tablespoons fresh minced sage and/or rosemary to 1 stick of softened butter and whisk until smooth. This can be made ahead and refrigerated. Just take butter out about 30 minutes prior to serving.


1. Place rack in center of oven, and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray a 12 mold regular size muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine flours, baking soda, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl and stir well.

3. In a separate bowl, combine milk, honey, eggs, and 1/3 cup oil and whisk well.

4. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, warm 2 teaspoons oil. Add onions and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until tender and lightly caramelized. Remove from heat. 

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Whisk until combined. Fold in onions, apples, squash, herbs, Cheddar, and walnuts. 

6. Spoon the batter evenly into the into 12 muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffin and placing on a wire rack to cool.