Pumpkin Cornbread

A very homey, Autumny treat. These are lightly spiced. They smell, taste and look like my favorite season. These would be awesome with some really hearty chili. I served these with an equally Autumny Pumpkin Soup!

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Ingredients:

 

1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

1 cup reduced fat milk

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 ¼ cup cornmeal

¾ cup AP flour, leveled

½ tsp baking soda

1 tbsp baking powder

¾ tsp

1 dash each: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

 

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  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. In a small bowl, whisk and combine puree, milk, sugar and eggs.cb3
  3. In a larger bowl, combine the dry ingredientscb2
  4. You’ll add the wet ingredients to the dry, plus the buttercb6
  5. Using a silicone spatula, just combine; do not over mix your batter
  6. Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray
  7. Scoop your batter into the tinscb7
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes until goldeny; and pass the toothpick test
  9. Allow to cool in the pan before transferring to rack
    1. For a little extra yum, top with butter while they’re hotcb8cb10cb11
  10. Store in air tight container

 

 

 

 

© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Pumpkin Muffins Three Ways

Halloween and Autumn mean not only will a bunch of candy will be brought into the house but also pumpkins! I’ve found myself thinking of creative ways to eat the pumpkins as opposed to just trashing them. Last year, I tinkered around with Cranberry Pumpkin Scones. We’ve got a lot of pumpkins this year so this will be one part of a series of “what the hell can I do with this pumpkin?” recipes.

 

I’m indecisive. I was also hungry, so I found it difficult to decide which direction to go with the muffins. When all else fails, do it all and feel guilty about it later lol.

 

The base of the muffins remains the same across the board. I divided the batter and individualized three different batches. Cranberry Pumpkin, which is very tart and tangy. Orange Pumpkin, which is beautifully flavored and scented using fresh orange zest and a squeeze of juice. Spiced Pumpkin, which made me actually say “wow!” I topped the muffins with leftover streusel from my Cranberry Peach Muffins. The streusel seriously sets off the Orange and the Spiced. I eyeballed my fixins so really, just add your goodies to taste.

 

Obviously, this recipe called for fresh, roasted pumpkin but if you’re using canned that’s perfectly fine too.

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Basic Pumpkin Muffin Batter

Yields roughly 15
Ingredients:

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ c vegetable oil

¾ c granulated sugar

½ cup lightly packed brown sugar

2 c pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

¼ c milk

 

Streusel

 

Optional add ins:

Fresh cranberries

Pumpkin spice or cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice (to taste)

Freshly grated orange zest, at least one orange and a squeeze of juice

 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray
  3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and in another bowl combine wet ingredients including puree20171104_11175120171104_112426
  4. Carefully fold wet into dry until just combined and you don’t see any splotches of flour
  5. At this point, I divided the batter into three bowls
  6. Gently fold in cranberries into one batch20171104_113037 copy
  7. Zest your orange, gently combine zest and squeeze of juice into one batch20171104_112835 copy
  8. Add your spices, adjust ratio to suit your tastes20171104_113025
  9. Bake at 425 for 5-6 minutes then reduce to 350 degrees, bake until they pass the toothpick test, about 15-20 minutes.
    • Do not forget to reduce from 425 to 35020171104_11415520171104_114558
  10. Allow them to cool in the tin before removing20171104_12181720171104_121820
  11. Store in an airtight container in the fridge

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© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Weeknight Chicken and Dumplings

The weather has dropped suddenly in Washington, DC and it has been feeling like Autumn all week. I couldn’t wait to make a nice homey comfort dish. Chicken and dumplings is a favorite in my family.

cd16When I have the time and energy, I prefer to make a huge batch starting with homemade stock. But today is Wednesday. That is not a Wednesday meal for me. Tonight, I adapted it to suit a weeknight meal. Mostly homemade but the broth got a helping hand from some store-bought reduced sodium stock. We’ll punch it up, though, no worries.

I like to add garlic and herbs to my dumping dough for an added layer of flavor. Feel free to adapt and adjust to suit your preferences.

Autumn, here we come!

 

Ingredients:

4-6 boneless chicken thighs

Four stalks of celery

One med-large onion

3-4 carrots

4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 32 oz container of reduced sodium chicken stock

Fish sauce

Worcestershire sauce

All-purpose flour

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Crushed red pepper

Garlic powder

Rosemary

Bell’s poultry seasoning

 

 

 

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Brown chicken thighs, do not cook through, over med high heat.
    • I used four boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You can use whatever chicken you prefer, though. It’s also easy to scale the recipe up or down.
    • Be careful with breasts as they tend to dry out if not handled properly.cd2cd3
  1. Chop your vegetables
  2. Remove chicken thighs from heat
  3. Add veg and salt and pepperScreen Shot 2017-08-30 at 7.53.32 PMcd4
  4. Add a 1/2 container of reduced sodium chicken broth, stir and scrape up the bottom of the pancd5
  5. Add remaining 1/2 of the broth, fill container with water and add that to the pot as well
  6. Bring to a boil, add the chicken
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.
  8. While the chicken is simmering, in a large bowl add 2.5-3 cups of flour, add about 2 rounded tsp salt, plus black pepper, garlic powder and rosemary to taste (or any other herb that you prefer).cd8
  9. Add ice cold water a few tbsp at a time. Stirring in the center of the bowl. Slowly incorporating flour from the perimeter, almost like making pasta.
    • Do this just until the dough comes together. If it is too wet add more flour, too dry then add more water.
  1. Dump the dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle with flour and gently knead to make sure it’s not sticking. Press, or roll, the dough to about a 1/4″ thickness. Cut into your desired shape.cd9cd10cd11cd12
  2. Your chicken should be ready and tender after 20-25 min. Remove from stock, shred using two forks. Add back to the pot.cd6
  3. Taste your broth, add salt and pepper as needed. I also add about 1/4-1/2 tsp of Bell’s poultry seasoning, two splashes of fish sauce and a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Taste and adjust.cd7
  4. Bring to a boil. Gently stir while you add your dumplings one by one. You don’t want to have big ol’ clumps of dough.
    • If you prefer a slightly thicker consistency, I create a slurry of corn starch, splash of Worcestershire and cold water.cd13cd14
  5. Once added and incorporated, allow to simmer for at least 10-15 min

 

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© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Pumpkin Cranberry Scones

Tis the season! Cranberries are available!! This makes me happy, as you can tell. I like to use cranberries as often as I can. They’re yummy and tart, but they’re also really good for you! I like to keep a bag in the freezer and one in the fridge. Next time you make a smoothie, grab a handful and add them! So good.

My son went pumpkin picking and this guy has been gracing our dining room table for weeks. I wanted to make good use of him before he began to rot since he opted out of making a jack-o-lantern. I decided to make some scones. pump

I’m pretty sure that scones were my first foray into “adult baking” (whatever the hell that means lol). They’re pretty easy and the technique remains the same no matter what you add in. I’ve done blueberry, blueberry lemon, cranberry and a few others. They keep very well and if you want, you can freeze the formed scones and just pop them in the oven at a later date!

This is my first time making these. My first time cooking with fresh pumpkin too!

 

 

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 c (packed) light brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

½ cup VERY cold butter

1 cup pureed pumpkin (fresh or canned)

½ VERY cold milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

½-1/3 cup fresh cranberries (or ½ cup dried)

¼ heavy cream

 

(Aside: I used fresh pumpkin for this recipe. I cut the pumpkin, lubed it up with some olive oil. I roasted the pumpkin for about 45 minutes (or until tender). I allowed the pumpkin to cool before scooping out the flesh. If you want to skip this step, feel free to use canned pumpkin.)pump2pump3

Preheat oven to 375.

 

In a food processor, pulse VERY COLD butter (cut your butter into ¼ inch tabs) and flour together until it resembles coarse meal.

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To that, add sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

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In another bowl, combine milk, pumpkin and vanilla until smooth.

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Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, as well as the cranberries. Mix until just combined.

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Onto a lightly floured surface knead the dough gently. It may be sticky, just make sure your surface and your hands are well-floured.

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Form the dough into a rectangle about 1 ½ inches thick. Cut the scones into your desired shape, I’m partial to triangles. (Some people like to form a circle and cut “slices”, whatever floats your boat).

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Brush the top with heavy cream, sprinkle with turbinado sugar if you want to be fancy. I sprinkled these with cinnamon-sugar.

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Bake until golden brown and they pass the toothpick test. About 20-25 minutes.

 

MAN! Look at how moist these are!!pump15

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Allow to cool before serving.

I made a quick glaze and drizzled that over the scones. You can find a simple recipe here.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Will keep for a few days but…who are you kidding? You’re going to eat them.

 

 

 

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Super Chunky Apple Spiced Muffins

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This is by far my most favorite time of year and these muffins taste like pure autumn. They are generously spiced and packed full of granny smith apples. Happy October!!

Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Clove? You literally cannot go wrong when you combine these with apples. These muffins are moist and gorgeously golden. I swear I wish I had a piping hot cup of apple cider.

Fun bonus? Your house will smell like love and hugs and cinnamon sticks.

 

 

1 large or 2 medium Granny Smith apple

Peel half of an apple

1 cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt

2 tsp teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ tsp of nutmeg

light dash of ground clove

2 large eggs

1 cup milk, room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 400 then turn down to 350

Line your cupcake tin

 

In a small bowl combine your eggs and milk, then carefully add your butter after it has cooled.

In a larger bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, spices, baking powder and chopped apple.muff1-copymuff2

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The batter will be chunky and you should be able to see all of the pretty spices suspended.muff3-copy

muff4-copymuffi7Fill the liners sparing about ¼”.

Optional: Using a paring knife or kitchen shear, create thin “ribbons” of the apple skin and decoratively place the ribbons on top of the muffins.

muffi5muffi6Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until golden brown and they pass the toothpick test.

Allow to cool in pan for 3-5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

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Note: Extra batter can be frozen in a ziplock bag. Baked muffins can be stored in an airtight container for about 2 days at room temperature and up to 5 in the fridge, though I promise they won’t last that long.

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved