See Helen on the set of KMOV-TV’s Great Day St. Louis!

Founding Member

Also listed on:
StLouisRestaurants.com

Sign up for my newsletter

I occasionally send out exclusive news and updates thru my newsletter. Sign up to stay in touch!

Subscribe to The Ardent Cook

Archives

Fall Muffins

pumpkin muffins cranberries apples  food photoWhile muffins are good all year long, I think of them particularly in the fall.  Temperatures start dropping, sweaters and jackets come out, massive amounts of colored leaves drift down in a lazy dance and it’s a good time to turn the oven on and bake a batch of muffins.  These easiest of baked goods are so simple to put together there is a term in baking called the muffin method.  Essentially all the dry and wet ingredients are mixed together separately.  They are then combined and that’s it.  Drop them into the cups, bake and enjoy.

What flavors are more indicative of fall than apples, pumpkin and cranberries?

As an added bonus, all these freeze well – if they stick around long enough.  They also have a good shelf life as they can be held at room temperature for a couple of days.The size of the muffins can be increased if you want the large “Texas muffins”. Just fill the cups to the same height and bake a bit longer.  A tester should come out clean when inserted in the middle of a couple of muffins.  Be sure to test the ones on the inside of the muffin pan as they will be the slowest to finish.  As a generality, you will get about 1/3 less muffins.

So turn that oven on, get a couple of bowls and start mixing.  Bake one or bake them all.  Bake them large or bake them small.   A small investment in time will yield a big reward in enjoyment.

STREUSEL TOPPED PUMPKIN MUFFINSpumpkin muffins cranberries apples  food photo

These are so easy, you can whip them up in minutes for hot breakfast muffins.  Don’t let the pumpkin stop you from serving them all year.

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed (50 grams or 1 3/4 ounces)
1/4 cup pecans (30 grams or 1 ounce)
2 tablespoons all purpose flour (20 grams or 3/4 ounce)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, cold

If making by hand, chop the pecans very finely.  Otherwise, just measure them. Combine the brown sugar, pecans, flour and cinnamon in a bowl.  Cut the butter in until the mixture is crumbly.  Alternatively, place all in the bowl of a processor and pulse until crumbly.

Pumpkin Muffins
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (170 grams or 6 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar (50 grams or 1 3/4 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup pecan pieces, coarsely chopped (60 grams or 2 ounces)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees if using regular muffin pans or 350 degrees if using dark pans.  Line cupcake tins with papers and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and pecans in a medium size bowl.  Set aside.

Whisk together the egg, milk, pumpkin and oil.  Whisk into the flour mixture just until combined.  Spoon into muffin cups 2/3 full.  Divide topping among the muffins.  Bake as directed below.

Regular size muffins – 15 to 17 minutes – makes about 15

Mini Muffins – 12 to 14 minutes – makes about 32

APPLE MUFFINSpumpkin muffins cranberries apples  food photo

These are the best apple muffins I have ever eaten.  They can be made with fresh or frozen apples.  If using fresh, the apples should be peeled and cut into about 1/4 inch dice.  If using frozen, put the fozen apples in the food processor  and pulse to chop.  Add them to the muffin mix while still frozen, drop into cups, top them and and get them into the oven.  Do not let the apples thaw.  I’ve been making these for over 30 years and you don’t keep a recipe around that long if it doesn’t work or isn’t that good.  At least I don’t!

Sugar Topping
3/4 cup sugar (150 grams or 5 1/3 ounces)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Mix together until the butter moistens the sugar.  Set aside.  Line muffin cups with papers and preheat the oven to 350 degrees if using regular pans or 300 degrees if using dark pans.

Apple Muffins
1 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed (350 grams or 12 1/4 ounces)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour (350 grams or 12 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups diced apple

In the bowl of a mixer, add the brown sugar, oil and egg.  Beat until well combined.

Combine the buttermilk and vanilla; set aside.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Add alternately with the buttermilk mixture starting and ending with the flour.  Add the apples.  Fill cups about 3/4 full and finish with the sugar topping.

Regular size muffins – bake about 17 to 20 minutes – makes about 18

Mini muffins – bake 14 to 17 minutes – makes about 50

CRANBERRY VANILLA MUFFINSpumpkin muffins cranberries apples  food photo

Even if you hate cranberries, I implore you to try these.  I once got people who swore they hated chicken livers to love them and I’ll bet you will love these.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees if using regular tins or 325 degrees is using dark tins.  Line muffin tins with papers and set aside.

Topping
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Stir together well in a small bowl and set aside.

Cranberry Vanilla Muffins
1 – 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (114 grams or 4 ounces)
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour (280 grams or 10 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

Freeze the cranberries hard.

Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Scrape down and add the eggs one at a time.  Beat until light and completely combined.

In the meantime, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix together.  Add the flour and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour mixture.

Lastly, place the cranberries in a food processor and pulse to coarsely chop.  Add to the batter and mix in just until well combined.  Fill the cups 3/4 full.  Sprinkle the tops liberally with the sugar/nutmeg mix.

Regular size muffins – Bake  23 to 25 minutes – makes about 20 muffins

Mini size muffins – bake 15 to 18 minutes – makes about 40

 

 

 

pumpkin muffins cranberries apples  food photo

2 comments to Fall Muffins

  • don

    Helen…

    I would send you a pic of my first batch of your pumpkin muffins, but you’d laugh horribly. Lesson 101 in baking – “have your stuff together!” Get all of your ingredients ready first, then proceed. Well, I was busy, thinking about doing other things and left out the baking powder in the first batch. These poor, lifeless lumps!

    Second batch, after doing it right, came out perfect! Thanks for sharing the recipe. It’s a good one!

    -don

    • Helen S. Fletcher

      Hi Don – I love you for sharing this with us. Mise en place forever!! (This is a French term for having all the ingredients prepared and ready to combine
      up to the point of cooking or baking)