PUMPKIN MUFFINS with CRUMB TOPPING

If “the muffin man” knew about these muffins, he’d still be in business today.  Dark, moist, spicy and absolutely delicious.  I’m pretty sure this easy-to-make recipe will become one of your “keepers” … and not just in the fall season.  The ingredient list might look long, but it is repetitive, so don’t be concerned.  You really don’t need that much at all.  And, if you bake, I’m sure you already have all these ingredients in your cupboard and frig.  If not, you might want to go shopping.

PUMPKIN MUFFINS with CRUMB TOPPING
Bake 375° 30 to 35 minutes.  Makes 9 to 12 (depending upon size).

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 15oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup milk

Topping
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Icing – optional
2 cups 10x sugar
1 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, baking power, salt, spices – whisk together til well blended and then set aside.  In another bowl, beat the oil and sugars, canned pumpkin, eggs and milk until smooth and well blended.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Don’t overbeat.  When completely blended together, spoon into paper lined (or greased) muffin pans.  Don’t overfill the muffin cups because you need to leave room for the topping.  Depending upon how large you’d like the muffins, you should get 12 good sized muffins.

In a third bowl, mix together the flour, sugars and cinnamon.  When well blended, add the melted butter and, with a fork, mix til crumbly.  Spoon this topping onto each muffin cup.  Press the topping down a bit so that it doesn’t fall off.

Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the pan and onto a rack.

In a small bowl mix the milk, maple syrup and confectioners sugar together until smooth.  Drizzle liberally over the tops of the cooled muffins.

That’s it!  Easy, peasy lemon squeezy!  Now go put the kettle on because you are definitely going to want a nice, hot cuppa with one of these moist, delicious pumpkin muffins.

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Cranberry Nut Bread

My most favorite holiday of all, Thanksgiving, is almost here.  I’m not really sure why, perhaps because its just about family and tradition.   Christmas comes in at a close second, but Christmas can be stressful.  Not Thanksgiving.  And Thanksgiving occurs at the most beautiful time of year … cool, crisp Autumn weather, perfect for having an enormous feast.  And, hopefully, you get to share this feast with people you truly care about.  Even with all the work and chaos, I love it!

This is one of the recipes I have been making for about (cough, cough) 45 years, which MUST appear on the Thanksgiving table.  45 years ago we didn’t have the Internet or celebrity chefs and cooking shows, we found recipes wherever we could.  I found this recipe on the back of the bag of Ocean Spray cranberries.  I cut it out, taped it to a 3 x 5 card and put it into the recipe box, where it’s been ever since.  Although I’ve tweaked it just a bit over years, it’s basically the same.

Hope you enjoy it!

CRANBERRY NUT BREAD (or muffins)
Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 1 lb. loaf pan, bundt pan, or muffin tins.

2-1/4 cups all purpose, unbleached flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts)

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together, including grated orange peel.  In a smaller bowl, mix all wet ingredients together.  (See how easy this is.)

I chop the cranberries in the blender.  You can use whatever way to chop the cranberries that is easiest for you.  For the nuts, I just use a knife to chop.  Otherwise they become too fine and I like them chunky.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Don’t overbeat or the bread will become heavy.   Stir in the cranberries and then add the nuts.  Pour the batter into a well greased pan (or pans).  I think a bundt pan makes a nice presentation.  This will make one large loaf, or many smaller ones or muffins.

Bake for one hour (depending upon the size of the pan – muffins bake for about 25 mins.) or until toothpick inserted into center comes out dry and clean.  The bread should just pull back from the outside of the pan.

Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then cool completely before slicing.  This quick bread freezes beautifully, so if you want to make it ahead, do it with confidence.  Otherwise, find a plate, dust with powdered sugar and garnish.

To be enjoyed with your Thanksgiving dinner, or for Thanksgiving breakfast, or even later in the evening with your cuppa, enjoy!

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