Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
The smell in my house right now is staggeringly good.  I could float away on a happy cinnamon scented dream and maybe stay there all day.  Maybe, just maybe. Long, soft, peaceful sigh…
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Stupid oven timer.  Just woke me out of my daydream.  It gives a long beeeeeeeep immediately followed by a quick beep as if to say “tag, you’re it”.  Oh well, I shouldn’t complain because without that timer the muffins would burn and that would be a tragedy.  Shakespeare would have written about it in his day.  Can you imagine a whole play centered around burning muffins?  “Muffino, Muffino.  Why therefore didst thou burn oh, Muffino?” or “Out, damned burned muffin! Out, I say!” hahahahaha, I really make myself laugh.
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In all honesty, when I was looking for a great recipe for pumpkin cranberry muffins, there was one recipe I tried where I really did have to say, “Out, damned muffin” as I leaned over the garbage can and spat it out.  That action was followed by both my husband and my daughter coming into the kitchen and pretty much doing the same thing after they took their first bite of those pathetic muffins.
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Three recipes and twelve adjustments later, I am finally content with the following recipe for Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins.  No one single recipe had everything I wanted in a muffin, so I tweaked and fiddled with parts of several recipes to arrive at this delicious creation.  I’m not really sure if it is legal for me to put my name on the recipe or not, so I will simply say “Recipe by Terri as inspired by recipes from A Southern Grace, Southern Living Magazine, and numerous recipes on All Recipes.com.”
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I have used applesauce in this recipe to replace some of the oil.  The original amount of oil was 3/4 cup which equals 1 tablespoon per muffin.  The revised recipe has 1/4 cup oil which equals 1 teaspoon per muffin.  In my personal, private, biased opinion, a teaspoon of oil is an acceptable amount for such a delicious muffin.
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Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients

    For the Streusel Topping
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • For the muffins
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped (Prep the cranberries and pecans before you begin mixing the other ingredients.)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped

Instructions

    For the streusel
  1. In a medium size bowl, mix together the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Cut in the softened butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
  3. For the muffins
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray such as Pam.
  5. Important Note: The dry ingredients and the wet ingredients must be mixed separately! Sugar is considered a wet ingredient.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  7. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a whisk or fork. Add the sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, oil, and vanilla. Mix well.
  8. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir lightly just until the ingredients are combined. Over-mixing causes gluten to form from the flour and will make a tough, chewy muffin.
  9. Gently fold in the chopped cranberries and pecans.
  10. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. This batter will make 12 beautiful muffins. The muffin cups will be full. Do not smooth out the batter--a peaked muffin looks great.
  11. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of each muffin.
  12. Bake on the middle rack in the oven for 20-25 minutes.These muffins take about 23 minutes in my oven. Your oven may cook differently, so test the muffins for doneness with a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins. The toothpick should be clean--no raw batter clinging to it.
  13. Let the pan of muffins cool for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the muffins and place them on a rack to cool.
http://tsgcookin.com/2010/11/pumpkin-cranberry-muffins/
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Wash and pick through the cranberries.  Discard any mushy cranberries, including any berries that have even a very small soft spot.  The last thing you want to do is to bite into a berry that is going bad.  Nope, nope, nope, you don’t want to eat a bad berry.  Here’s a “Where’s Waldo”…can you see the bad berries.  Hint: I made it REALLY easy for you.  Look in the middle.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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These are so beautiful.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Coarsely chop the cranberries.  This part can be tricky because cranberries roll easily, so take your time and expect to go on a cranberry hunt around the kitchen.  Maybe you can assign your kids to cranberry hunting duty.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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I find cranberries so interesting.  They have tiny little seeds inside of them.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Make it easy on yourself when prepping the pecans.  First, get out a clear plastic bag and your rolling pin.  Put the pecans in the plastic bag in a single layer.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Firmly tap the pecans with the rolling pin.  You don’t have to hit them hard to break them.  As a matter of fact, if you hit them too hard you’ll end up pulverizing them into pecan paste, which would be inappropriate for this recipe.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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In a minute or two you’ll have perfect pecan pieces.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Now let’s get moving on to the muffin makin’.
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Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  This includes flour, the spices, salt, and baking soda.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.  Sugar is a part of this party along with the eggs, pumpkin puree, applesauce, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Stir gently, just until the ingredients are combined.  The more you mix, the tougher the muffin.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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The batter will be a little bit lumpy.  That’s okay.  If you mix your batter to that perfectly smooth stage, I’m sorry but you will most likely have a chewy muffin.  Save chewiness for your bagels, not your muffins.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Fold in the chopped cranberries and pecans.  I like pecans because they lend a sweet flavor to baked goods.  Remember, do this gently.  No heavy handed stirring; just fold/mix to integrate the berries and nuts into the batter.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Spoon the batter into the well greased cups of the muffin pan.  Because of the lower oil content of these muffins, it is necessary to make sure that your muffin cups are well greased.  I use a baking spray to coat the cups, then I take a paper towel and wipe it around inside of each cup to make sure that all of the surfaces are coated.  There is enough batter for 12 muffins.  The consistency of the batter allows the cups to be filled pretty full without flowing out over the edges of the cups as the muffins bake.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Sprinkle the streusel over the batter in each cup.  You see all of that streusel on the pan?  Don’t worry about it; it won’t stick to the pan.  And it tastes good after it bakes.  However, if the messiness of the streusel bothers you, tidy up the mess in whatever way makes you happy.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Bake on the middle rack of a 375-degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  Test for doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick into the center of a muffin.  If the muffins are ready, the toothpick will come out clean with no uncooked batter clinging to it.  Look at this beauty!
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Remove the pan from the oven and allow the muffins to cool for about 5 minutes.  Then, using a knife, gently loosen the edges of the muffins from the pan.  Using the knife, carefully lift out the muffins and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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Pick out the muffin that calls to you.  Lift it up to your nose and take a deep, slow breath.  This is your moment.  Break off a piece of that wonderful, spicy muffin…
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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… and spread a little bit of soft butter on it…
 
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
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…you know the rest.
This recipe has been linked to the following blogs:
  • http://everydaymomsmeals.blogspot.com
All photos property of Terri @ that’s some good cookin’. Copyright 2010.
All writing Copyright 2010.

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