Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

It’s not even the end of September and I’m already plotting which Halloween decorations will go where. Halloween isn’t even my favorite holiday- it just signifies the beginning of the holiday season, and perhaps more importantly, loads of candy. Since I’m diving right into fall with my decorating, I figured I might as well jump right on the pumpkin recipe bandwagon.

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Since it’s still relatively warm out, I didn’t want to make anything that has to be served hot, so muffins seemed like a good choice. I found this recipe on VeryBestBaking.com. It’s wonderfully simple; I just tweaked it to include vanilla and dried cranberries, as well as a streusel-inspired topping. I love grabbing a soft, crumbly muffin on my way out the door in the morning, or even eating one for dessert with some cool whip. They’re also great for taking in the car if you have to drive somewhere and need an easily accessible, hands free snack (i.e. NOT sushi, which I had to eat while rolling through Times Square while working at New York Fashion Week).

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cups  all-purpose flour

2/3 cup  packed brown sugar, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling

1/3 cup  granulated sugar

1 tablespoon  baking powder

1 teaspoon  salt

1 teaspoon  ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon  baking soda

1/4 teaspoon  ground ginger

1/2 cup  butter, melted

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

2 large  eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup  buttermilk

1 cup dried cranberries

1-2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease or paper-line 12 muffin cups.

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Combine flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and ginger in large bowl. Combine butter, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk in medium bowl. Add to flour mixture, stir just until moistened. Gently fold in cranberries. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, and dot with the cut up butter.

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Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely. I always take my muffins/cupcakes out of the oven a minute or two before they’re fully cooked, since they finish baking in the tin.

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Enjoy!

Leslie

Maple Muffins

I think we all know by now that I’m a huge fan of autumn and everything that comes with it. One of my favorite autumn flavors, which often gets overshadowed by pumpkin and apple, is maple. Though maple syrup isn’t harvested until the late winter or early spring, its decadent flavor reminds me of eating warm pancakes on chilly autumn mornings.

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My aunt recently lent me a very cute maple leaf muffin tin, so I’ve been searching for a recipe to use it with. I happened upon this maple muffin recipe on tasteofhome.com; what a perfect fit! For an easy recipe like this, I try not to buy any ingredients if I don’t absolutely have to. For example, this recipe calls for sour cream and milk. Presumably, the author intended us to use full fat sour cream and milk, but that’s not what I have laying around the house. So instead, I used skim milk and light sour cream. Let me cut to the chase: use whichever version of these ingredients you prefer.

These muffins are ideal for eating on your way out the door in the morning, or tossing in your bag for an afternoon snack. Or, if you’re like me, they’re perfect for munching while you write your blog post. I prefer my muffins with a glass of cold milk, but go crazy- try them with tea!

Original Recipe: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/morning-maple-muffins

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INGREDIENTS:

BATTER:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

TOPPING:

3 tbsp all purpose flour

3 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine milk, butter, syrup, sour cream, egg and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. For topping, combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pans and moving to wire racks. Serve warm.

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Enjoy!

Leslie

Breakfast Cinnamon Buns

One of the most comforting scents of fall is that of cinnamon baking, especially when it’s accompanied by butter and sugar. It’s a unique spice in that’s familiar and exotic at the same time. Cinnamon buns, though excellent, take a pretty long time when you make them the standard way, which involves yeast. In contrast, this yeast-free recipe takes a measly 45 minutes including prep time, which makes it perfect for breakfast. Because they lack yeast, these breakfast buns are more biscuit-like than regular cinnamon buns, which err on the lusciously gooey side of things (eat at Cinnabon for reference). Normally I’d be all about lusciously gooey cinnamon buns, but in the morning I like to keep it pretty low key, which is why I recommend these delicious delights. If you don’t have time to make the dough and bake them in the same morning, simply prepare the dough and filling the night before, and bake the next day. Cinnamon buns are always best warm, so try to eat them as soon as possible after baking them (it won’t be hard).

This is a slightly modified version of a recipe I found on epicurious.com. Based on suggestions from other bakers, I doubled the filling. If you like a lot of icing, I recommend doubling the icing amounts as well since what’s listed below is only enough to drizzle sparsely on top.

Original recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Shortcut-Cinnamon-Buns-101437

INGREDIENTS:

FILLING:

4 tbsp granulated sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

DOUGH:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp granulated sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp cold unsalted butter

1 large egg

scant 1/4 cup milk (I used fat free since it’s what I have, but whole milk is usually best for baking)

ICING:

3 1/2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp water

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

FILLING:

In a small bowl stir together 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and cinnamon.

ICING:

In another small bowl stir together confectioners’ sugar and water until smooth.

DOUGH:

Into a large bowl sift together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. In another small bowl whisk together egg and 3 tablespoons milk and add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined.

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Transfer mixture to a lightly floured surface and gently knead, 3 or 4 times, until it forms a dough. Pat dough into a 10- by 6-inch rectangle. It doesn’t have to be exact, so no need to pull out the ruler!

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ASSEMBLY:

Brush dough with some remaining milk and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar.

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Beginning with a short side, roll up rectangle to form a 6-inch log and cut crosswise into 4 pieces.

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Arrange pieces on the center of a baking sheet, cut sides up, with seams touching.

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Bake buns in middle of oven until pale golden and cooked through, about 16 minutes.

Drizzle icing over warm buns.

 

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Enjoy!
 
Leslie