Friday, November 18, 2011

This experiment was started  to lure the client who loves cranberry flavors and is tired of pumpkin by now. I stumbled upon a basic recipe like it, but, as I am prone to do with all recipes, I altered a few things to my taste. Please note that the key to maintaining the tart side of this sweet-tart muffin is using fresh or frozen cranberries, NOT dried or candied.
Chop your cranberries roughly in half or quarters (coarse chopping) for tart flavor that pops! Chop them even smaller if you prefer the flavor to blend a little more. Coat the chopped cranberries in the 2 T flour to keep them from floating to the bottom of the batter in the muffin cups!
A side note while you premeasure those wet ingredients to reach room temperature *wink*: for this recipe, lightly spray the INSIDE of your muffin cups with PAM. Even when cooled, this particular recipe sticks to the cups after cooking. I'm still working on a solution for that one!   
Melt your butter RIGHT before you are ready to pour into the wet mixture. 
When your batter looks about like this, add the cranberries. Adding "fold in" ingredients at this stage (rather than when the mixture is completely combined) will keep the muffins that much more moist/tender. 

 Add the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the tops of your batter. More topping makes for a more even 'tart-sweet' muffin. Less topping will REALLY make the cranberries stand out!
This batter makes about 5 tall jumbo muffins or 6 nearly flat jumbo muffins. 


1 egg
3/4 C milk
3/4 C sweetened applesauce
1/4 C butter, melted
1 3/4 C flour
1 C fresh cranberries, chopped (coarse)
2 T flour (to mix with cranberries)
1/4 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine flour, sugar, bak. powder, bak.soda, salt in a medium bowl. In seperate bowl, combine milk, egg, applesauce, melted butter. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Do not overmix (batter will be lumpy). Toss cranberries in a bowl with 2 T flour. Fold into batter. Spoon evenly into lightly sprayed muffin cups. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over tops of muffins. Bake 20-25 minutes until slightly golden. Cool on wire rack.  

We haven't baked all week, which is highly unusual. Today, though, I mustered up scrapings of motivation to bring you this special flavor so that you can perfect it before your holiday season is in full swing! It's a favorite for my chocolate-loving husband and daughter, and it will make a great  treat for whoever you bake for in December! I enjoyed baking today, because it wasn't a pumpkin apple muffin, and it took thought to execute.
Remember to premeasure your wet ingredients first, so that they have time to reach room temperature. Also, premeasure and coat your mint candies in flour in a seperate bowl.

 This is one of my favorite egg mixtures, because it is so smooth!Again, I melt the butter right before I'm ready to add it to the wet mixture. It helps the butter stay smooth, rather than reforming into cold butter chunks.

Working with cocoa powder is interesting. It's so light and flighty that mixing it with smooth wet mixtures takes a bit more time. And I always have some on my apron or on the table. LOL! When combined, the batter will be thick, almost like brownies.

When the mixture is nearly combined, add your creme de menthe baking candies (pre-chopped mint chocolates) or mint chocolate kisses.
This recipe rises amazingly high compared to others, so filling your cups 2/3 full will give you a nice size muffin top.
Your muffins should come out with a cracked top, like these. You won't be able to judge 'doneness' with a toothpick, because of the cocoa powder. Take the muffins out of the oven when the tops present with somewhat of a firmness.

See the muffin tops on this batch? I filled them a little higher than 2/3 full. BEAUTIFUL!


1 3/4 c flour
1/3 C cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C oil
3 T butter, melted
3/4 C sour cream
3/4 C sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp mint extract
1 C creme de menthe baking chunks (or chop your own Andes mint candies)

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Combine oil, sour cream, sugar, eggs, mint extract, and melted butter in a separate small bowl. Coat mint candies in a bit of flour and add to mixture. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full (or more). Bake for 18-20 minutesw (25 minutes for jumbo muffins). Muffins are done when they are well-risen and firm to a gentle touch. Let stand in pan for 5 minutes. Cool on a rack.

ENJOY! And let me know how you liked them!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The Apple Spice Muffin was supposed to be my first post, but I haven't made them in a few months! This is an Autumn AND Winter flavor (heck, it's an all year-round flavor!), and it doesn't take as long as other recipes that I've posted.

So, grab your baking tools and print this one, because you're going to want to add this to your collection!

Here's how your topping should look once you've blended it. I use a blending tool, but a fork works fine, too.

I tend to pour my wet ingredients first in order to help them reach room temperature.

Wet into dry....

When your mixture is like this, add your grated apples. I used thinly sliced and chopped apples today, because I have several bags of frozen, already-prepared apples, but I highly suggest the grated apple in this recipe.

Just a sneak peak of both of us baking today...for the Fam on the west coast!

Use a tablespoon measuring tool to sprinkle the topping, mess-free. Today, I didn't use as much as I usually do, which I advise against. You'll see why in the last photo.

Clearly, I've forgotten what "fill cups 3/4 full", because I seem to have a habit, lately of filling them 100% full! That's fine, except this recipe doesn't rise in a high dome form. It spreads and flattens!

Here's today's finished product, with too little topping. It's more appealing, in my opinion, when more evenly covered with topping.

After I finished muffins for the day, I decided to experiment with my bulk raw grains. Today, I went with cous cous. A generic type of taboule, I guess... Raw spinach, raw yellow bell pepper, carrot slices, and tomato.
Cous cous is surprisingly easy to prepare! I'll have to eat it more often. Boil butter and water with salt, remove from heat, add cous cous, stir well. Add whatever vegetables I desire, along with a splash of lemon juice and a whole lot of olive oil!


1 C sugar
1/2 C oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp apple pie spice (allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon)
2 C grated apples (~2 medium apples)
3 T sugar
1/2 C flour
4 T butter, cold (4 T or half a stick)

INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 350F. For topping, use a pastry blender to combine butter, flour and sugar  in a medium bowl. Cream oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl. Mix flour, baking soda, and spice. Add creamed mixture to dry mixture until ALMOST moistened. Fold in apples. Do not overmix. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full (for smaller muffins, or 3/4 full for overflowing muffins). Spoon evenly (and generously) over batter. Bake 20-30 minutes.