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Traveling Toddler Treats

Erin P
Posted by Erin P on May 4, 2016

It's travel season, and last month, my family set out on one of the great trials of parenthood: taking a toddler on a plane. We asked for lots of advice before we left and the one common denominator was to just keep feeding him because, presumably, a full mouth will keep him (and everyone around us) happy on a 3 1/2 hour flight. Easy, right? Well, if you've flown any time in the last 5 years you know that "easy" is the last word anyone will use to describe the act of carrying anything on to a plane.

I needed a snack that:

  1. Isn't too big (gotta fit in the carry-on)
  2. Doesn't need refrigeration (delays are everywhere!)
  3. Isn't liquid-y or gooey (don't want to spend any more time in security than I have to)
  4. Isn't candy (toddler must NOT run up and down the aisles of the plane)
  5. Has at least some nutritive qualities (to assuage my mom guilt)
  6. Is reasonably tasty (non-tasty things do not make effective toddler bribes)

Taking all of these things into consideration, I came up with what I thought was the perfect idea - a muffin! Not just any muffin, though, a delicious muffin packed with veggies, whole grain, protein with just enough sugar and buttery goodness to make the medicine go down. This mostly virtuous but mildly decadent combination of roasted butternut squash, whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, walnuts, and raisins is one of my all time favorites. 

teddy muffin

Roasted Butternut Squash Muffins

Yields ~15 small (2oz) muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/ tsp salt

1 1/2 cup roasted butternut squash purée

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled 

2 large eggs

1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

3/4 cup raisins

1 tsp orange zest

Roasting butternut squash is easier than your might imagine. Just cut in half lengthwise, lay cut-side down on a parchment-lined pan, and bake at 375 F for about 45 minutes or until soft and the skin is blistered.

butternut squash
I purée the squash in my food processor, but you can also simply break it up with a potato masher for a more rustic texture. Squash purée freezes really well, so I always make a big batch, and freeze it in muffin-ready quantities.

butternut squash puree

This particular muffin recipes goes together quickly in three sets of ingredients: dry, wet, and "mix-in goodies."

Combine all purpose and whole wheat flours, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl.dry ingredientsIn a second bowl, combine squash purée, yogurt, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla bean paste.wet ingredientsFinally, gather the goodies. I used a combination of toasted and chopped walnuts, raisins, and orange zest. I soaked the raisins in hot water for about 10 minutes to plump them up a bit. You could also use orange juice for an even more intense orange flavor!


Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until about 90% combined.
wet to dry ingredients
Add goodies, and mix just until there are no more dry streaks. Overmixing makes tough muffins and sad toddlers!muffin mix

Use a 2 oz scoop to portion the batter into either a muffin tin lined with paper cups, or, my favorite, a silicone muffin pan. The scoop ensures even sizes and even baking! I love the silicone pan because then there is no paper liner to throw away later. I garnish my muffins with a sprinkle of oats, but your could leave them plain or even use a little bit of brown sugar for a bit more sweetness.muffin scoop

Bake at 350 F for about 22-25 minutes or until the center of the muffin springs back when pressed lightly. 

Eat warm, or cool completely and freeze for up to a month.


Love the idea but need something gluten free? The Chopping Block's Owner/Chef Shelley Young demonstrates how to make a gluten-free version of this muffin in this video:


This recipe is just one of six amazing gluten-free recipes you can get in The Chopping Block's free Gluten Free Gourmet guide.Gluten Free Gourmet

Topics: butternut squash, baking, Recipes, muffin

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