Whole Wheat Cornmeal Molasses Pumpkin Muffins

Another tasty treat from my oven!

A couple of months ago, I had some buttermilk in the fridge that I needed to use up, but I didn’t feel like making waffles or pancakes. So I pulled out one of my cookbooks, hit up the index, and found a recipe for some quick bread that used buttermilk as the liquid. It was delicious.

Fast forward to this week, and I’ve got another carton of buttermilk in the fridge. But this time I bought it specifically to make muffins. And maybe a pan of brownies.

The recipe upon which this is based is from The Original King Arthur Flour Cookbook, Commemorative Edition. But being me, of course I had to modify it. (I followed it as written the first time, honest!) The original calls for raisins; I used a little more than specified and I used a mix of golden raisins, pineapple, cranberries, papaya and crystallized ginger. And I added some ground ginger to give it a little spice.

Oh! And a tiny sprinkle of Turbinado sugar on top before baking gives these a little sparkle and crunch.

What’s interesting about these is that they contain no eggs and no oil. The only fat comes from whatever small amount is in the flour, cornmeal and buttermilk.

So without further ado, I give you

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Muffins!

Whole Wheat Cornmeal Molasses Pumpkin Muffins

  • Servings: 18-22
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup raisins or other small dried fruit
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350˚F. Prepare muffin pans by lining with papers and spraying the bottoms of the papers with baking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and ginger. Mix in the raisins.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, molasses, honey and buttermilk. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir only enough to combine.
  4. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a pick inserted comes out clean.

Recipe modified from Whole Wheat Cornmeal Molasses Banana Bread, The Original King Arthur Flour Cookbook, 1990, revised edition 2010.

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Recipe: Sour Cream Cutout Cookies

This one is an oldie. My aunt shared it with my mom back in 1974, and it’s been Mom’s go-to cutout cookie recipe ever since.

I generally follow the instructions. And then I get mad because chilling the dough thoroughly means that it has to sit out for at least 30 minutes before it softens enough to roll out. Grrr. This time, I chilled the dough for only 30 minutes, while I cleaned up the mixer and did a few dishes. They rolled out fine. So, yeah, the original chill time is a little excessive.

There are 2 spices listed: nutmeg and cardamom. The original recipe called for nutmeg. Mom uses cardamom when she wants a cookie that’s a little more exotic-tasting, or when she doesn’t want the little flecks of nutmeg to show in the finished cookies. You could use whatever spice you like. Same for the extract – use lemon or almond instead of vanilla. And for heaven’s sake, if you’re using nutmeg and you have it, use fresh-grated!

Continue reading Recipe: Sour Cream Cutout Cookies

Let me feed you the snack of my people

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Faygo Rock and Rye pop and Better Made potato chips.

Now if only I had some Sanders Hot Fudge on a vanilla ice cream filled cream puff.

Recipe: Sesame Candy

The forum that is my primary social outlet is having a food swap. There are a few of us who signed up, filled out a questionnaire about preferences (including whether we would be willing to eat homemade food from a virtual stranger), allergies, etc. and were matched up with a name. The responses from the name I was assigned are funny and reminded me of this recipe.

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Toasted seeds and nuts

I have made this before. But like many recipes, I tried it when I first got the cookbook. Then when the novelty of the book wore off, I put it on the shelf and forgot about it.

I really need to go through this book and make some of these things.

Usually when I make this, I do a half batch. So that’s what I’m including below. Depending on how you cut them, you can get 30-50 pieces from the half batch. They are small, but then you can have more than one piece, or can try something else off the dessert tray. They have a nutty flavor that’s only lightly sweet, and are a great little tidbit to include on a cheese tray. Making smaller batches means you can make a couple of variations, trying different nuts and seasonings, without ending up with candy for weeks.

If you live near a store with a good bulk foods department, check it out for some of the ingredients. They can be pricey at standard mega-marts. Middle Eastern groceries are a good source for inexpensive sesame seeds, too.

A word of warning: this stuff gets HOT. The oils in the nuts and seeds come out during toasting and can burn if you’re not careful pouring them into the mixing bowl. And molten honey not only burns, it sticks.

Continue reading Recipe: Sesame Candy

Carrot Banana Zucchini Muffins

You’re probably thinking, “Woah. That’s a lot of stuff in a little muffin.” And you’d be right. But they all play so nicely together.

This is a modified version of a recipe from a cookbook I have. I tweaked a few things, and make muffins instead of the quickbread loaves the original specifies for easier portion control.

These are delicious with homemade jam, conserve, or fruit butter. (Did I mention I’m a canner, and there will be canning recipes included on this blog eventually?) Store them in the fridge – the high moisture content means these mold easily at room temp. If you don’t like eating cold muffins, just peel the paper back and pop one in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it up.

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Carrot Banana Zucchini Muffins

makes 24 muffins

3 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon Penzey’s Cake Spice blend
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil (canola, corn, etc.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup golden raisins

Heat oven to 325°F. Prepare 24 muffin cups by lining with paper liners and spraying bottoms only with cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, Cake Spice (or 2 additional teaspoons cinnamon), salt, baking soda and baking powder.

In medium bowl, whisk together banana, applesauce, oil, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients; mix well. Batter will be very stiff.

Stir in zucchini, carrots and raisins.

Portion batter into prepared muffin cups and bake 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with only moist crumbs. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. Warm muffins will stick to the papers. Store in an airtight container. Refrigeration recommended, due to high moisture content.

NOTES:

  • As always, I love me some King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour.
  • If you want to add some different color and flavor to these muffins, go ahead and use other small dried fruit instead of the golden raisins: standard Thompson raisins, cranberries, blueberries, or cherries.
  • Not zucchini season? Use frozen shredded zucchini, thawed, but give it a little hug in  a tea towel to remove some of the excess moisture.
  • As of this writing, I have a jar of Penzey’s new Pie Spice sitting on my counter. I intend to make a batch of these (as bars, not muffins) using Pie Spice instead of Cake Spice. They’re similar but different.
  • Go bananas! If you have bananas that have gone a little too brown for your preference, peel them, wrap in plastic wrap, and stash them in the freezer for recipes like this. I take out the required number, unwrap them, and microwave on medium for a minute or two to soften and thaw most of the way through. They mash quite easily after being frozen.

EDIT: I made a 9×13 pan from one recipe, baked about 42 minutes at 325°F. They will head to work with me tomorrow for my knitting class. I used the Pie Spice, but haven’t tasted the bars yet.

    Zucchini Brownies

    I know, yuck, right? Chocolate and vegetables?

    Ew.

    Sorry, that assumption is completely wrong. These brownies do not taste like vegetables. The zucchini adds body and moisture to them without adding a lot of fat or calories.

    Plus, it’s something to make from enormous harvests of zucchini that’s not bread or yet another batch of Ratatouille. I know it’s only March, and therefore not zucchini season here in the northern contiguous US, but you can totally make these with frozen zucchini. Last summer, when I’d happen upon zukes at amazing prices, I’d snap them up, wash them, shred them (thank heavens I finally got a food processor) and then freeze the shreds in 2-3 cup bags. If you use frozen, let your bag thaw, then put the shreds in a non-fuzzy tea towel and give it a squeeze to get most of the excess water out.

    This recipe was shared by a member of a forum to which I belonged that is, sadly, no longer. And I don’t have the link saved anywhere. But this is my slightly modified version.

    Notes: I increase the applesauce a bit from the original, because 1/2 cup is one of those lunchbox portion cups. No waste! My preferred flour is King Arthur Flour Whole Wheat or White Whole Wheat; cocoa is King Arthur Flour Triple Cocoa Blend. I use spices and extracts, including double strength vanilla, from Penzey’s Spices.

    Zucchini Brownies

    2 eggs
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt (I use table salt or fine sea salt because it dissolves a little more evenly in batter)
    2 cups peeled and grated zucchini, drained if thawed from frozen
    Optional: 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Heat oven to 350˚F and line an 8″x8″ baking pan with parchment paper.

    In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla, sugar and applesauce.

    In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Make sure there are no lumps.

    Add the dry mix to the wet and gently stir until combined. Do not overmix, as the brownies will get tough. The batter will be very, very thick at this point. Do not panic. Fold in the zucchini shreds and optional chocolate chips. See? The moisture from the zucchini loosens the batter right up! Pour the batter into the prepared pan and even the surface with a spatula.

    Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick or tester inserted in the middle doesn’t come out gooey. Moist crumbs are OK, but raw gooeyness is not.

    Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then use the edges of the parchment paper to lift the whole brownie up from the pan. Cool completely, then cut into 16 pieces.

    Store in an airtight container. Refrigeration is highly recommended, as the high moisture content means these mold easily.