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

Homemade Mini-Monkey Bread

Tis the season for coming together and eating everything that you really shouldn’t. And that includes yummy, homemade baked goods. This weekend we hosted a holiday gathering and I decided to whip up some yummy mini-monkey bread! This is not a last-minute recipe; you have to plan accordingly to allow for enough time for the dough to proof. Be mindful that you want to allow the dough to proof a minimum of eight hours.

 

Little hands really enjoy rolling out the balls so call them in to be sous chefs!

 

Ingredients

 

Dough

1 package of yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 and 1/4 cups warm milk

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup white sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt

5 cups all-purpose flour

 

Sauce

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup white sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Glaze

1 Cup powdered sugar

3 tbsp milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In the bottom of your bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir and allow it to rest for a few minutes. It will be fragrant and a bit frothy.
  2. Slowly add the milk, cooled melted butter, sugar, salt, and eggs one at a time. Slowly incorporate 3 cups of flour.
  3. Using the dough hook, beat on medium for a few minutes. Slowly add remaining dough until the dough forms a firm bowl.monkeymonkey2
  4. Put the dough onto a floured surface. You want to knead until it just smooth and elastic. Be careful not to over knead the dough. The dough is ready for proofing when you poke it and it springs back to you.
  5. Turn the dough out into a greased bowl, toss to coat and cover with plastic wrap.
  6. Refrigerate the dough for at least 8 hours or overnight.monkey3monkey13
  7. Remove your dough from the fridge, punch it down carefully. Allow the dough to rest.
  8. Set up your coating station. Melt ½ c of the butter in a small bowl and in another bowl you want to combine sugar and cinnamon.
  9. Spray your muffin pan with cooking spray (alternatively, you can do this in a bundt pan, but this recipe is generally for mini monkey breads).
  10. Pull apart pieces and roll into balls about the size of a peppermint ball. You’ll want to fit 3-4 balls in the muffin wells.monkey4
  11. Dip each ball into the butter, gently shake off excess butter. Then roll in the cinnamon sugar, shake off excess. Then pop your balls into the muffin well.monkey5
  12. After filling the wells, allow the muffins to rest while you make the sauce.
  13. Preheat oven to 350F.
  14. On the stove, melt 1/4 cup of butter and whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla until it is well combined.
  15. Pour the mixture over the dough balls.monkey7monkey6
  16. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden. (Cover loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly)monkey8monkey11monkey9monkey10
  17. Allow to cool before carefully removing and placing onto a large serving plate.
  18. Optional: Whisk all of the glaze ingredients together and pour it over the bread.

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Will keep for a few days.

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Fresh-Picked Apple Danish

Autumn is my favorite season. This weekend my family and I went apple picking at Larriland Farms in Maryland. It was a wonderful afternoon and we got a lot of goodies. Including a ton of fresh-picked apples. Pink Ladies, Granny Smith and Stayman were the varieties that my little boy picked.applesapples2apples3

I spent two days trying to figure out what to make and I settled on an apple danish. This recipe was super fun to make and actually really relaxing. I can’t wait to play around with this again with a different filling.

These were so tasty fresh out of the oven. Will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

Ingredients:

5-7 apples (I used Pink Ladies and Granny Smith)

Half stick of unsalted butter

¼ cup of white sugar

1/3 cup of light brown sugar

¼ teaspoon of cinnamon

Pinch of salt.

 

Egg Wash

1 large egg, room temp

2 tbsp of milk, room temp

 

Follow the recipe for homemade Danish pastry dough.

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Preheat oven to 400 deg

While the dough rests in the fridge, slice your apples.danishh6danish6

Melt butter, allow it to brown not burn over medium heat.

Add apples

Add Add ¼ cup of white sugar and 1/3 cup of light brown sugar.

Simmer until crisp-tender. The apples will be soft but have some bite to them. A sauce will form.danish7danish8

Remove apples from pan and allow to cool in a small bowl.
Pour the sauce that formed into a a bowl and allow it to cool.

Remove dough from fridge

Flour your work surface and roll the dough out into a rectangle that is about 12×6-12×7”.

Slice the corners off of one side and two small triangles off of the other side.

Place dough onto your parchment lined or cooking sprayed baking sheet. (It will be very hard to move the braid if you form the braid on the counter.)

Using a sharp knife or pastry blade, create angled slices. This will form your braid.

Spread the sauce down the center of the rectangle and layer your apple slices.danish13danish14danish15

Alternate dough-strands to form a braid

Fold up the end and create a seal

Brush braid with egg wash

Bake the Danish for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. You will want to rotate the pan every 4-6 minutes to ensure the Danish browns evenly.

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The Danish will be crispy and flaky on the outside and moist on the inside. For a bit of added decadence, brush any remaining sauce onto the Danish fresh out of the oven. Super NOM!

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Fig Cinnamon Rolls

I’m unlearning the knee-jerk reaction to exclaim, “I’m not a baker!”. Cooking came easy to me. Baking remained this elusive, scary beast. Exact measurements, chemical reactions, the infamous “don’t run in the house or the cake will fall!”

I started baking with simple recipes and I quickly realized baking is only as complicated as you make it. This will be my first time making cinnamon rolls but I am excited to try it out with you guys.

 

I received this awesome shipment of sun-sweetened fruits. First of all, when I think of dried fruit I think of raisins and apricots that stick in your teeth-crevices. I think of prunes that stick to everything before they even reach your mouth and are nearly impossible to cut.

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Fruit Bliss has reinvented dried fruit. They claim this and upon opening the package and taking a bite of the first piece, I’m inclined to agree. There is no sugar added, no extra ingredients (something I look for when I’m trying to be all healthy and stuff). Just water and organic fruit. So, naturally I’m adding this healthy fruit to a dessert. Healthier, –ier.

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Each piece of fruit is soft and moist, not overly sweet and the natural flavor of the fruit really shines through. I decided to go with a recipe that allows the fig to be the star with spices that are known to elevate their flavor.

 

Yields: 12

For the dough:

1 package of active dry yeast

¼ cup warm (to the touch) water

¼ cup plus 1 tsp of granulated sugar

½ cup of milk

2 tbsp of packed light brown sugar

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 egg + 1 yolk

2 ¾ cup of all purpose flour (extra for kneading)

½ tsp of salt

4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

 

For the filling:

5 oz of dried figs

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp cinnamon

¼ brown sugar

(Hack: This is basically a Fig Butter. If you don’t want to do this from scratch, feel free to sub with ¾ cup of store bought. I hear that Trader Joe’s has a yummy one.)

 

For the glaze:

1 cup of powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp milk

 

(*Note: This recipe can be made the night before. If so, after step 11 cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight and simply bring to room temperature, preheat the oven to 375 and bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.)

 

  1. Attach your dough hook to your stand mixer and in the bowl combine the yeast and ½ teaspoon of the sugar and the warm water. Stir to combine and let rest for about 10 minutes or until the yeast begins to froth up
  2. Add the rest of the white sugar, and the remaining ingredients up to and including the eggs, and mix to combine. Add the flour and salt, knead for 1-2 minutes on med-high.
  3. Add the butter to the bowl and continue needing for about another 5 minutes. Put the dough onto a floured surface and begin to incorporate flour while you knead. Your dough should go from wet and sticky to smooth. No more stickiness.fruit-bliss-3fruit-bliss-4
  4. In a large bowl spray with cooking spray, place your dough inside. Spray some plastic wrap and cover. Let it rest in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.fruit-bliss-5fruit-bliss-6
  5. In a food processor add the ingredients for (excluding the brown sugar) the filling and pulse until just combined. It should be a course mixture.fruit-bliss-7
  6. After the dough has risen, again place it onto a floured surface and knead it gently about five times.
  7. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out into a rectangle that measures roughly 10×20 inches.
  8. Spread the filling onto the dough and leave a 1-inch border then sprinkle the brown sugar evenly on top.buns1
  9. Beginning on one (long) side of the rectangle, roll slowly and tightly. Be sure to pinch the sides as you go in order to seal the roll.buns3
  10. Cut the cylinder in half. Cut the halves into quarters. You should be able to cut 3 rolls per quarter. These grow to be decently sized rolls. buns4
  11. Place the cylinders into your greased pan (I used my cast iron skillet).buns5buns6
  12. Allow prepared rolls to rest for 1-2 hours covered in a warm place, they will become puffybuns8-copy
  13. Towards the end of this final rest, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  14. Bake the rolls for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.buns12
  15. While rolls bake, in a large bowl add the glaze ingredients. Quickly and steadily whisk the ingredients together until it comes together. The mixture will be smooth.
  16. Pour the glaze over the warm rolls and serve.

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Disclosure: This is not a paid recipe or a sponsored post.

 

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved