Saturday, November 20, 2010

pumpkin cranberry nut muffins

Yummy note: I am always looking for those versatile recipes that are good morning, noon, or night... This muffin recipe fits it quite well. It is not only great for breakfast, but it is also a nice flavorful treat for a snack or dessert even. This recipe also hit my other top qualifier of easy to eat on the go. Muffins, bread, scones, you know, those little things that you can grab and run out the door with in the morning and snack on later when you don't have time to eat it at home. This muffin has a nice fall flavor of pumpkin and other spices, combined with the dried cranberries and nuts, it makes for a nice combination. I think this would make a perfect little housewarming goodie to bring to your Thanksgiving holiday parties for your host as a nice thank you!

Pumpkin Cranberry Nut Muffins

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup canned pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie filling kind, just the pureed canned pumpkin)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg beaters substitute
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, if desired
decorating or coarse sugar, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare your muffin pan with either 12 paper cup liners or grease muffin pan. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. Next, stir in the canned pumpkin, oil, eggs, cranberries, and pecans until just moistened. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups.

A nice tip is to use a large cookie scoop or an ice cream scooper worked great for keeping the muffin batter evenly distributed. Plus it makes for easy cleanup and less batter spills :-)

Sprinkle the optional decorating sugar or coarse sugar over the muffin batter before baking to make a nice finished look. Bake muffins 20-25 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove baked muffins from pan to cooling rack and enjoy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cheese and Fruit Danish

Yummy note: I originally had this variation of a cheese danish the other day at work. A coworker's wife made this treat and it was just so good, I insisted on the recipe. It was originally made to it a 9x13 pan, but I wanted to scale back the recipe a little bit, since I was inspired to try something a bit different with the recipe. I wanted to add a fruit filling into the cheese portion. I really liked the plain cheese danish, but not knowing how well the fruit filling would hold up to the rest of the danish, I thought I'd better only half the recipe just in case. I had some family over, and I wanted to make sure we had something to eat for breakfast.. haha.. just in case I needed to use the other half of the ingredients to make a pan of the plain cheese danish. So you can either add in the fruit if you wish in your recipe or follow it straight for a plain cream cheese danish. Either way, it is pretty crispy, flaky and outright yummy to eat for breakfast or snack.

Cheese and Fruit Danish

2 packages of cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup of sugar for filling
1 egg separated
2 packages of crescent rolls (the crescent sheets work well for this, too!)
1/3 cup of sugar for topping
optional: about 1/4 cup jelly or jam for fruit filling

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix the following ingredients together: 2 packages of cream cheese, 2/3 cup of sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, juice of 1/2 lemon, and the egg yolk. Note: save the egg white for
the top. Unroll 1 package of crescent rolls in a 9X13 pan. Spread the cheese filling over the crescent rolls. Next, if you want, spread on the fruit filling. Then, unroll the 2nd package of crescent rolls over the top of that. To finish it off, brush the egg white over the top and sprinkle generously with the 1/3 sugar.

Bake for about 25-35 minutes at 375. Note: I think the fruit filling in the cream cheese mixture takes a little bit longer when baking, so please adjust accordingly and watch for it to get nice and puffy, flaky and a golden brown or poke it with a tester to see if it is done.