I’m baking more and more with my littlies these days which is wonderful. At the ages of 2 and 4 they really enjoy getting involved at all stages. Every wednesday, as there’s no school on Wednesdays here in France, we bake at least one thing together, usually some sort of muffin, cake or biscuit. They love doing all the stirring, whisking, dolloping, sprinkling, decorating. Then obviously the scoffing.
We’ve made these muffins many a Wednesday baking session lately and I’ve only just realised they’ve yet to be blogged. So easy peasy to make, especially for little hands that like to do stirring, and pretty healthy to boot with all that deliciously sweet roasted pumpkin and red onion. I’m sure they must count as at least one of your five a day? If you or your kids are cheese fiends (like all of us!) then savoury muffins are the way to go, great for snacks, lunches and lunch boxes, picnics and even tea time treats. Fresh out of the oven is best, but they still hold their own cold.
Unusually for me I made large muffins this time round, I usually prefer to make smaller mini sized ones in fairy cake cases. It’s up to you. As for the cheese, I used about half Cheddar and half Parmesan in this batch but you could use all Cheddar or all Parmesan equally as successfully. You can happily substitute the pumpkin for butternut.
Pumpkin, Cheese & Red Onion Muffins
Makes 12 large muffins or 24 small mini-muffins
500g of pumpkin or butternut squash, skin and seeds removed
a large red onion
a tablespoon of sunflower oil
275g of plain flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
½ a teaspoon of English mustard powder
salt & pepper
2 free range medium sized eggs
200ml of milk
100g of grated Mature Cheddar or Parmesan or a mixture of the two
Special Equipment: Cake or Muffin Trays, Cake or Muffin Cases
Preheat your oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6.
Start with roasting off your pumpkin. Cut into large chunks and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until pretty soft and cooked through, turning once or twice during the cooking time. Once roasted place in a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Set aside cool a little. This part could always been done before when you happen to be using the oven for something else. Over the pumpkin season I tend to always have some pre-roasted pumpkin in the fridge to be used in cakes, muffins, pasta dishes or soups.
While the pumpkin’s roasting, finely slice the red onion. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for 10 to 15 minutes until softened.
Sift the flour, baking powder and mustard powder into a large bowl. Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper.
Melt the butter and allow to cool a little. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, then whisk or stir in the milk. Once the butter’s cooled a little whisk into the eggs and milk.
Attention littlies, lots of stirring action now required!. Throw the wet mixture into the dry and stir, stir, stir. Once combined chuck in the roasted and mashed pumpkin, red onion and ⅔ of the cheese.
Dollop the mixture into cake or muffin cases in cake or muffin trays. It’s about a dessertspoon of the raw mixture for a fairy cake sized mini-muffin or a heaped tablespoon for a large muffin. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tops.
Bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes for mini-muffins or 40 to 50 minutes for normal full sized. They’re ready when they’re golden on the top, firm to touch and an inserted cake skewer or fork comes out crumb free.
Remove from the trays and cool on a cooling rack. Particularly lovely eaten warm, and if you want to be exceptionally naughty, ahem, break in half and smear in butter.
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November 22nd, 2012 at 1:17 pm
These look fab Louisa. I love baking with my daughter and sometimes feel guilty that we make far too many sweet things – great to have a savoury muffin recipe.
November 22nd, 2012 at 3:28 pm
Funnily enough we tend to make more savoury than sweet as my monsters are both cheesy fiends! Whilst they love chocolate they haven’t on the whole inherited my cake loving genes. Which is a good thing!
November 22nd, 2012 at 3:13 pm
Mmmm – like the look of these! Wish my kids were still young enough to want to help me in the kitchen – now they want to cook on their own, but somehow I still end up cleaning up a huge mess!
November 22nd, 2012 at 3:30 pm
Oh no! I guess I’m pretty lucky that mine are only just starting to get really into it and I’ve got many happy, messy baking years ahead!
November 22nd, 2012 at 3:18 pm
Absolutely stunning, I must say you have made me want a muffin now! My kids are the same age as yours as well (so many similarities – perhaps we have been separated at birth?) I am bookmarking this recipe and will give them ago next Wednesday!
November 22nd, 2012 at 3:35 pm
How funny they’re the same ages too! Are they boys or girls? I’m guessing they’re at school? My daughter, Francesca, started school as soon as we arrived 2 years ago, and she’s now just over 4. Jacques was 2 last April and started mornings in September, he’s supposed to be trying one full day a week but has been poorly on and off the last few weeks. And home again today.
November 22nd, 2012 at 3:41 pm
One of each. Only one at school so far though. My son was just 2 in July and is still in nappies. He will start in September next year I think – boys can be a bit slower with these things 🙂
I just looked on a map to see where you are and you live fairly near my in-laws who are in Mielan, just over an hour I reckon! Hope Jacques gets well soon….tis the silly ill season though. Good luck x
November 24th, 2012 at 1:38 pm
Boys are generally slower out of nappies, though Jacques was out fairly young he’s since regressed so maybe he was too young. We’re about 40 mins south of Auch, I go occasionally as it’s the nearest ‘big’ place to us. Maybe we should try to meet up some time?
‘Tis definitely the silly ill season, was the same last year for both of mine. Jacques got better for about a day from his virus then now has a bad cough, which I think is the start of nasty cold that seems to be going round here 😦
November 23rd, 2012 at 3:28 am
I have the same bowls. 🙂 Love those smiles!
November 24th, 2012 at 1:43 pm
Ahr thank you! Cheesy smiles indeedy! They’re brilliant bowls for baking aren’t they, really want to get a few more in various sizes.
November 24th, 2012 at 2:52 pm
Two of mine are cracked from over-use so I would like a few more too!
November 25th, 2012 at 9:32 pm
Beautiful! The smiles and the muffins!
November 30th, 2012 at 1:20 pm
Why thank you!
November 27th, 2012 at 8:05 pm
Delicious! We often make this kind of thing and they always go down well. I love the photos, your children are gorgeous and look like they’re having a lot of fun!
November 30th, 2012 at 1:23 pm
Thanks Sian, they really do seem to enjoy baking with me now which is wonderful. And gives me the added excuse to bake more!
November 30th, 2012 at 7:37 am
These look great. And what perfect little kitchen helpers you have! If you and your kiddies are interested, you should join me in December for my new round-up Pantry Party! http://lawstudentscookbook.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/introducing-pantry-party/