Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

We must be getting closer to the (eating) holidays. I have a sudden urge to bake - more than ususal!I've become a big King Arthur flour fan and I must tell you about my baking experience with them.
You probably already guessed that I'm not a big fan of mixes. "From scratch" simply tastes better.
BUT, I have come to love the King Arthur scone mixes. In particular, the Cranberry Orange Scone mix. Late last summer I decided to branch out (After all, Cranberry Orange is somewhat of a fall flavor, right?) and ordered the Almond Cherry Scone mix. I was terribly disappointed! The flavor was -- well, there was NO flavor. Unfortunately, we had house guests when I made this awful discovery! They were good sports and ate the scones, but I was sorely disappointed! I stewed over it for weeks, then finally wrote an e-mail to the King Arthur Customer Service Dept. I just wanted them to know what a disappointment it was. I expected nor asked for anything in return/exchange.

The nicest e-mail from Mary Jane arrived with apologies, questions and offers of replacement products. I assured her that I was not just some crazy consumer who complained at the drop of a hat (and gave her my foods resume). She was most gracious, insisting on sending "goodies" and connecting me with their blog relationship manager (what a different business world we live in!).
End of story, I received a "goodie box" with my favorite Cranberry Orange Scone mix and a Cheesecake Bar mix to try. Then the media person asked if I would sample and report on their new self-rising flour. So, today, a 5 lb bag of flour arrived! How nice of them! Now I am REALLY a big fan. I will be trying out the flour and let you know how it bakes. I suspect it will be wonderful! But, I did warn them that I have a LONG term relationship with Martha White flour! Goodness Gracious, it's Good! (Tennessee Ernie Ford, ads on the Grand Ole Opry  - for you young kids!)

Meanwhile, in addition to the baking bug, I've also been thinking about pumpkin... canned pumpkin!
This muffin recipe sounded much better than a bowl of cold cereal. It was a winner in our house!
I made half of the muffins without cranberries. If you like chocolate chips and pumpkin, add them instead of cranberries. If you don't have all the spices, use Pumpkin Pie spice. Add nuts, raisins, etc.... this is an easy recipe to alter. And the best news - it's low fat! (Of course, SOMEONE in this house slathered his theirs in butter!)

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 cup sugar ( I used half white sugar, half brown sugar)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup buttermilk (or plain yogurt or sour cream)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Make a well in center of the ingredients, add remaining ingredients except cranberries. Stir to combine, making sure all ingredients are wet. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Helen's Tips: Do NOT overmix muffin batter. It will make tunnels in the texture and mountain peaks on top of the muffins! Stir only until dry ingredients are wet. If you use cupcake papers in the pan, spray them with Pam.

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