Taste of Fall: Muffins

Taste of Fall: Muffins
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Taste of Fall: Muffins!Fall is always muffin time at our house as soon as the weather cools, and the leaves start falling. Rather than making a dozen at a time, which lasts 15 minutes or less with teens around, I make three recipes at once, and end up with three dozen muffins. I've adapted recipes throughout the years and have found a simple topping that works for almost any muffin. These muffin recipes are very flexible when it comes to the amount of fruit and the extras that can be added to the batter.

First, I have a few reminders about mixing muffin batter, and the methods that should be used, which are different from cakes and cookies. Always mix the wet ingredients in a bowl first, using a whisk, electric mixer or spoon. These ingredients can be mixed until they are frothy. Some recipes call for the dry ingredients to be mixed into the wet; others direct the wet ingredients to be poured into the flour mixture.  The dry ingredients should be mixed together with a spoon or fork, so the spices, baking powder, etc. are distributed.  

Once the two are mixed together, they should only be stirred by hand with a spoon until JUST moistened. Don't try to remove the lumps or mix it until smooth. Once everything is combined, it's important to stir gently, and only until the dry ingredients are now wet and form a batter. Some muffin batters will be very thick, and others are a little thinner. Spoon it into the muffin tins, sprinkle with the topping and pop the pan in the oven. I set my muffin pans on top of a cookie sheet to avoid any spillage into oven, and to keep the bottoms from baking too quickly. Use the middle rack, and center the pan. Watch the muffins and check after 15 minutes. If a toothpick comes out clean, they are finished, regardless of what the recipe directions advise. Ovens bake differently, and older dark pans tend to bake more quickly.

The topping I use is simple:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. stick butter or margarine
Chopped or crushed nuts
Ground ginger, nutmeg, or cloves

Mix the spices and brown sugar, and then work in the butter with a knife or pastry cutter. This will top all three dozen muffins if it's sprinkled on the top of each one.

The muffin recipes I use change often, but these are my favorite fall muffins, and the three recipes make about three dozen muffins, depending on the size of your muffin tins. I tend to fill my tins about 1/4 of an inch from the top.

Pumpkin Muffins

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Spray or grease muffin pan for 12 muffins. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the sugar and oil together. Add the two eggs, and beat well. Blend in the pumpkin and the water. In another bowl combine and mix the flour, baking soda and powder, the spices and the salt. Add this to the wet ingredients, stirring until just moistened. Spoon into the muffin tins, leaving a little space at the top. Sprinkle with the topping above if desired.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until light browned and they test done with a toothpick.

Apple Spice Muffins

1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 small to medium apples, peeled, cored and diced

Spray or grease muffin pan for 12 muffins. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the egg, milk and oil until frothy. In another bowl, mix the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, and salt with a fork. Add to the wet ingredients, mixing with a large spoon until just moistened. Spoon into muffin tins, leaving a little space at the top. Sprinkle with the topping, or dip in white sugar when still warm.

Bake 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and done when tested with a toothpick.

Notes: I used Jonamac apples, but Gingergold or Gala are good too.

Peach or Pear Muffins

1 egg
1 cup milk
3 tbsp. oil
1 cup diced peaches or pears *see note
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Spray or grease muffin pan for 12 muffins. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Blend the eggs, milk and oil, then add the chopped fruit. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients with a fork. Mix into the wet ingredients with a large spoon until just moistened. Spoon into the muffin tins, and sprinkle with the topping. Bake for 15 minutes until done.

Notes: This recipe is great using fresh peaches or pears, but they are so good with canned fruit that has been drained and chopped. For a different topping, use ground ginger instead of cinnamon in the topping recipe above.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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