Friday, October 26, 2012

Mini Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

A trip to cider mill is one of my favorite ways to spend a fall afternoon. Few things beat the simple pleasure of biting into a freshly picked apple on a cool fall day. While I am a big fan of apples and all of the offerings at the cider mill, my favorite are the doughnuts. Hot from the fryer and covered in a generous dusting of cinnamon sugar they are too much for me to resist. Sadly I have not had the chance to visit the cider mill this season. After a little searching I was able to find this recipe for baked doughnut muffins. I adapted it slightly so I could bake them in mini muffin pans. After the muffins are coated in cinnamon sugar they can easily pass for doughnut holes, albeit slightly misshapen ones.

Mini Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker originally adapted from Martha Stewart

For the Muffins:
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 ¼ cups pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 eggs

For the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating:
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup granulated sugar
2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour 48 mini muffin cups (I used 2 mini muffin pans).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and pumpkin; set aside.

Beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of the pumpkin mixture, beating until barely combined. Turn off the mixer and fold the batter a few times with a rubber spatula to catch any pockets of flour that weren't incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffins cups (I used a 1-ounce ice cream scoop). Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let the muffins cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

While the muffins are resting, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

Working with one muffin at a time, remove the muffins from the pan, brush all over with the melted butter, then toss to coat in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Return to the wire rack and let cool completely.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

In honor of Halloween, this week Eating Deliciously will feature recipes with pumpkin. I  have several things to share with you including sweet and savory recipes. Let's start off with roasted pumpkin seeds. These seeds are delicious simply seasoned with salt. I amped up the flavor of classic roasted pumpkin seeds with garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce. Feel free to use any flavor combination that you like.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

Medium-sized pumpkin
Olive oil

Optional Seasoning (for 2 cups of seeds)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut open the pumpkin and use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the insides. Separate the seeds from the stringy core. Rinse the seeds.

In a small saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups of water to every half cup of seeds. Add a 1 teaspoon of salt for every cup of water (more if you like your seeds saltier). Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Apparently, this method helps make the pumpkin seeds easier to digest and produces a crispy outer shell during roasting.

Drain the seeds in a colander and dry lightly with a paper towel or tea towel. The seeds will stick to the towel, but just rub them off with your fingers. Don’t worry; they don’t have to be bone dry – just a light pat down.

Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a roasting pan. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan, all in one layer. Season the seeds with garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce, if desired.

Roast seeds at 325°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Roast for another 8-10 minutes.

During the last 5 minutes of roasting, remove a few seeds and crack open to make sure the inner seeds are not burning (you don’t want the inner seed brown). Cool a couple and pop them into your mouth to test. They are ready when the shell is super crispy and easy to bite through. The inner seed should have only a hint of golden tinge to it. Remove seeds from oven and allow to cool completely before eating.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats with Reese’s Pieces

Rice Krispie treats are a dessert staple from my childhood, but sometimes I like to mix it up and step out of the plain Rice Krispie treat rut. Since I am on a peanut butter kick lately, I was thrilled when I came across this recipe on My Baking Addiction. The combination with peanut butter and Reese's Pieces is Rice Krispie treat heaven! These treats are rich so make sure you cut them no larger than 2-inch bars

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats with Reese’s Pieces
recipe courtesy of My Baking Addiction

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ¾ cups miniature marshmallows, divided
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 cups crisped rice cereal (Kellogg's Rice Krispies)
1 cup Reese's Pieces

Line a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add in 5 cups of marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add in the peanut butter and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Add crisped rice cereal; stirring until well coated. Fold in the Reese's Pieces and remaining ¾ cup marshmallows.

Using buttered spatula, press the mixture into the prepared pan. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats with Reese’s Pieces are best if served the same day they are made.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Minestrone Soup with Pesto

I have been slowly transitioning into fall by cooking more soups and stews. I was still able to pickup some fresh zucchini at my farmers market. However this soup is still delicious using frozen green beans in place of the zucchini. I followed a suggestion from Panera and made fresh croutons to float on top of the soup. To make the croutons, remove the crust from 6 slices bread of your choice and cut into ½ inch cubes. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch sauté pan until melted. Add cubes to pan and season with 1 teaspoon garlic powder and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir the cubes to evenly coat with melted butter and cook until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove croutons from the pan and serve with the soup. Store any leftover croutons in an airtight container.

Minestrone Soup with Pesto
recipe courtesy of Panera Bread

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup peeled and chopped Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8 ounces)
1 quart low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
15 ounce can petite-diced tomatoes with juice
15 ounce can small white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup ditalini, small shells, or other very small shape pasta
1 cup finely chopped zucchini (optional)

⅓ cup Basil Pesto

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes, 4 cups of broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Add additional broth if the soup is too thick.

Stir in the beans, pasta, and zucchini (if using), and simmer until pasta is tender, 8 to 9 minutes. Stir in the pesto.