Cranberry Orange Muffins

These muffins smell so good baking in my oven this afternoon. I have always made these muffins just around Thanksgiving. The beautiful fresh red cranberries just beg to be added to muffins, breads, and fresh cranberry sauce of course. Who could resist them! I lived in Washington State many years ago and I would bring these muffins to my Sunday school class. Everyone really seemed to enjoy them. When you bite into this muffin it’s moist. The orange zest and cranberries give a burst of fresh tangy flavor and the nuts give a delightful crunch. Once you try these tasty muffins you will want them every year. When see those beautiful red cranberries, you won’t be able to resist!

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Cranberry Orange Muffins

2 Cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 ½ Teaspoon baking powder

½ Teaspoon baking soda

½ Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ Teaspoon ground ginger

2 Tablespoons freshly grated orange zest

½ Cup shortening

¾ Cup Fresh orange juice

2 large eggs beaten

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 ½ Cup fresh cranberries, chopped

1 ½ Cups pecans, chopped

Bake 375 degrees in a pre-heated oven

Bake 15-18 minutes

In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients and the orange zest

Cut in the shortening

Stir in the orange juice, eggs, and vanilla

Stir just till combined, add cranberries and nuts. Gently stir just to bring ingredients together. Don’t over mix. Line muffin pans and fill 2/3 full with the batter. Makes 1 ½ dozen.

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Apple Pie and Pittsburg

Apples from Trax Farm

I have been dreaming of baking an apple pie for several weeks now. The fall chill in the air just seems to beg for the oven to be lit. My husband, Joe and I planned a quick getaway last weekend to Pittsburg. He was born in Pittsburg and grew up in the boro of Castle Shannon. I decided to wait on my pie so I could purchase the apples from a farmers market nearby. Trax Farm has so many different kinds of apples. Joe’s Mom Helen always made her apple pie with star apples. I was going to look for those apples to make my pie just like his mom’s. Unfortunately they had no star apples. Since there were so many different kinds of apples I decided to use a variety of apples for my pie. I chose Jonathan, ginger gold, golden delicious, Jonagold, and granny smith. I loaded up my bag and paid. It was cool enough in the car that they wouldn’t spoil for the few days we were visiting. We had such a great time sight seeing and visiting Joe’s old neighborhood. We even made it to the Steelers game on Sunday due to the generosity of an old college buddy of Joe’s who lives in Pittsburg. I was so excited on our return home to make my apple pie. I waited till the next day and rolled up my selves. I relived our trip in my mind as I prepared the pie. When Joe came home from work that day we enjoyed a piece after our dinner. It was so delicious! I’m sure it was all those different apples and the fact that they came from Pittsburg of course!

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Apple Pie

Double crust pastry

8 cups apples, different varieties of baking apples. Peeled and sliced.

2-3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

2 tablespoons of whole milk

Prepare your favorite pastry crust chill for a least 1 hour or purchase a ready-made crust. Peel and slice the apples. Toss the apples with the lemon juice. Add the sugar and spices and mix with a spoon until evenly coated. Roll out the bottom crust and fill with the apple filling. Dot the top of the pie with diced unsalted butter. Roll out the top crust and place on top of the apples. Crimp the edges. Brush the top crust with while milk, and then cut slits in the top of crust to make a vent. Bake in a pre-heat 375 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cool and refrigerate and serve cold.

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Pumpkin Bread

It’s the perfect time of year for my favorite pumpkin bread recipe. These loaves were prepared and baked by my son Timothy. We have been working through some of our favorite family recipes together. I have been baking this pumpkin bread recipe long before he was born. The bread is moist and delicious. A real family favorite. Tim is enjoying cooking as well as baking. His goal is to be able to cook familiar recipes that he grew up with and loves. His beautiful loaves taste every bit as good as mine.

Tim's Pumpkin Bread
Tim’s Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

2/3 cup of shortening

2 2/3 cups sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten in a small bowl

1 16oz. can Libby’s pumpkin

2/3 cup water

3 1/3 cups all- purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons of salt

½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¾ cup walnuts, chopped

¾ cup raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees, grease the bottoms of 2 loaf pans.

Mix the shortening and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in large bowl using a whisk

Add the eggs, pumpkin, and water

Blend in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves

Add the nuts, and raisins

Pour into pans about 2/3 full

Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes, cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Then turns the loaves out to cool completely before serving. Store in a zip lock bag or air tight container. The bread gets moister as it ages a day or two. You can also safely freeze the bread.

If your not a fan of the nuts and raisins you can leave them out.

Tim used a decorative baking pan for this loaf.
Tim used a decorative baking pan for this loaf.

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Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffin.
Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffin. A comforting Autumn treat.
Whisk dry ingredients.
Whisk dry ingredients.
Lightly beat eggs, add wet ingredients.
Lightly beat eggs, add wet ingredients.
Add melted butter to dry ingredients. Then add the other wet ingredients. Stir just to combine.
Add melted butter to dry ingredients. Then add the other wet ingredients. Stir just to combine.
Fold in the nuts and raisins.
Fold in the nuts and raisins.
Spoon batter into prepared muffins cups.
Spoon batter into prepared muffins cups.
Drizzle muffins with Maple glaze.
Drizzle muffins with maple glaze.
Enjoy!
Enjoy!

 

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

2 Cups all-purpose flour

¾ up to 1 Cup granulated sugar, if you want a sweeter muffin use 1 cup of sugar

½ Teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ½ Teaspoons baking powder

¼ Teaspoon baking soda

1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ Teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ Teaspoon ground cloves

1 Cup solid packed pumpkin puree, Libby’s, or organic

¼ Cup buttermilk or evaporated milk

¼ Cup sour cream or plain yogurt

4 oz. Butter (1 stick), melted

2 Large eggs

¼ Cup raisins

¼ Cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Sift the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl; you can use a whisk to sift if you like. Melt the butter and set aside. In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs. Add the pumpkin puree, sour cream, and buttermilk or evaporated milk. Add the melted butter and wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon just to combine the ingredients. Fold in the nuts and raisins. Spoon 2/3 of batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or till cake tester comes out clean.

Bakers note: I used organic pumpkin for my muffins. If you use Libby’s the muffins will be a darker color.

Glaze

4 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

2 Tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Stir the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, add more of either ingredient to get a not to thick not to thin mixture. Drizzle over cooled muffins.

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Apple Cobbler with a Biscuit Topper

Apples and lemon for apple cobbler.
Apples and lemon for apple cobbler.
Baked Apple Cobbler.
Baked Apple Cobbler.

When my children were very young we lived in Washington State. We had a beautiful home in the little town of Tracyton. We had a big yard where the kids could run and play. There was an old apple tree just off the side of the house. You could see it from the kitchen widow. My son’s Justin and Daniel were able to climb up the tree pick some apples and shake some to the ground. The apples were light green, tart, and firm enough to make apple cobbler. My boys were happy to gather the apples, they were dreaming of their favorite apple cobbler. The gathered apples were brought into the kitchen and the baking would begin. Fall always reminds me of those fun days with my boys, and Washington State.  I’ve been seeing many varieties of apples at markets and the grocery store. As soon as there’s a chill in the air I’m ready to bake that cobbler.  It’s chilly and rainy today so I don’t mind using my oven. I picked up some granny smith apples for the cobbler. Even with all the variety of apples, I love granny smith for this cobbler. I gently simmer the apples in sugar, flour, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, freshly grated lemon zest, and fresh lemon juice. Simple fresh ingredients, when simmering can take you back to your own childhood. This cobbler has a biscuit topper which I absolutely love. The tender biscuit with just a little crispness from the baked top, mixed with the tender lightly sweetened and lightly spiced apples. That says fall to me! This cobbler is delicious on its own, but if you must a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be just fine.

Toss apples and sugars, flour, cinnamon, pinch of salt, and lemon zest. Bring to a gentle boil add lemon juice. Stir, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes.
Toss apples and sugars, flour, cinnamon, pinch of salt, and lemon zest. Bring to a gentle boil add lemon juice. Stir, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes.
Ready to cover.
Ready to cover.
Assemble the ingredients for the biscuit topper
Assemble the ingredients for the biscuit topper
Use a whisk to incorporate the dry ingredients.
Use a whisk to incorporate the dry ingredients.
Cut the butter into the flour.
Cut the butter into the flour.
Should look little this.
Should look little this.
Add the egg and the milk.
Add the egg and the milk.
Should look like this.
Should look like this.
Pour apples into a buttered baking dish.
Pour apples into a buttered baking dish.
Top with the biscuit dough with a tablespoon.
Top with the biscuit dough with a tablespoon.
Bake 400 degrees 20-25 minutes. It will be brown and bubbly.
Bake 400 degrees 20-25 minutes. It will be brown and bubbly.
Enjoy!
Enjoy!

 

Apple Cobbler with a Biscuit Topper

Recipe adapted from The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

6 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

½ Cup organic pure Florida cane sugar, or granulated sugar (I used Organic pure Florida cane sugar)

½ Cup lightly packed light brown sugar

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

¾ Teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1 Teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

In a heavy bottomed pot combined the sugars, flour, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, pinch of salt. Stir all ingredients together. Add the apples and the lemon zest. Stir the apples to coat with the sugar mixture. Over a medium heat bring apples to a gentle boil. Add the lemon juice, stir and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid. Simmer 10-12 minutes. You’re just getting the apples tender. While the apples are simmering make your biscuit topper. Butter a baking dish and pour your tender apple mixture into the dish. Drop the biscuit topping on the apples with a tablespoon. Place cobbler on a baking sheet. Sprinkle topper with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Biscuit Topper

1 Cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons pure Florida cane sugar, or granulated sugar

1 ½ Teaspoons baking powder

¼ Teaspoon salt

¼ Cup Unsalted butter, very cold

1 egg, lightly beaten

¼- 1/3  Cup milk

In a medium bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use a whisk to sift the ingredients together. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender till it resembles little peas. Add the egg and milk use a ¼ cup up to 1/3 of milk. Combine with a wooden spoon.