Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ten Posts of Pumpkin: (5) Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

I am so going to fail. I tried! But then I ended up on a plane. With a baby. And a nice helpful grandmother who cared for her while I added "stranger/grandmother" to my list of things to be thankful for. And then there were the friends! With their lasagnas and trips to the park and Starbucks beverages and nuptials. And I had a dance card to fill, a bride to dote on, a family-size portion of warm apple crostada to consume all by myself, a Hwy 5 to tackle, and a toddler to keep tabs of (sort of - as soon as we parted ways with stranger/grandmother we had aforementioned friends and subsequently a real grandmother to do my dirty work). Then there was Aptos and siblings and nephews and Thanksgiving and Scrabble and homemade brioche and cinnamon rolls and the best stuffing on earth and endless food, food, everywhere you turn, food! I have been too busy digesting to actually WRITE about food! Oh, also, I forgot my computer.

The worst part is that I actually made and documented all my pumpkins-a-plenty creations. I just haven't had an opportunity to sit down and put it all together into a useful, aesthetically acceptable format.

So about those muffins...

that I made like a month ago...

with my homemade pumpkin puree...

1 lb of pumpkin

after I ate a pumpkin-cranberry muffin at a coffee shop and fell in love with its moderate sugar content and bursts of juicy warm fresh cranberries...

and of course felt I had to make them myself...

and try out the mess-free-trick I'd read about elsewhere on the internets...

kitchenaid tip!

They're good. Really good. Not too sweet. Not too spicy. Just perfectly pumpkiny with a tart bite. I made muffins as well as a loaf and the loaf is in my freezer in Minneapolis and as I write and reflect on these little treasures, I mostly can't wait to get home, thaw the loaf, and dig in.

pumpkin cranberry loaf

Probably because I am wasting away here at the Lenz house, where it's just really hard to find something to eat.

pumpkin bread batter
before and after

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
From Bon Appétit, November 1995
Yield: 24 muffins or two regular-sized loaves (I made 12 muffins + 1 loaf)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup grapeseed or other mild oil
3 large eggs
1 pound pumpkin puree (equivalent of 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (or an 8- or 10-ounce bag frozen cranberries)

Optional cinnamon sugar topping: 4 tablespoons sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour loaf or muffin pans.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, not including brown sugar. In a large mixing bowl, beat together brown sugar and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, then pumpkin puree and vanilla. Beat until incorporated. With electric mixer turned off if that's what you're using, carefully pour in the dry ingredients. Cover top of bowl and mixing attachment with a kitchen towel and mix on low speed until the messy puff of flour smoke has dissipated (about 20 seconds or so). Move the towel and mix on low until just combined. Stir in the cranberries. Pour batter into loaf pans or spoon into muffin tins (make muffin cups about two-thirds full). Top with cinnamon-sugar mixture, if using. Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, rotating about half way through, for a total of about 60-70 minutes for loaves and 18-22 minutes for muffins.*

*Confession about baking times: Because my oven does not cook especially evenly on the regular "bake" setting, I actually used the "convection bake" setting and baked the muffins at 325 degrees for 16 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. The loaf took about an hour with same setting and temp. The temp/time listed above are from Epicurious, a far more trustworthy site than my own. But then, they probably have more reliable ovens in their test kitchens.

No comments:

Post a Comment