Category Archives: Autumn/Thanksgiving

Cranberry Pecan Muffins

I’ve been so glad to see fresh cranberries at the grocery store these past few weeks! I just had to make something with fresh cranberries and muffins seemed like a good idea. I added some orange extract to give these muffins a subtle orange flavor. You could also add some orange zest if you wanted to.

These muffins bake up with nice rounded tops and have lots of cranberries and pecans in every bite! These are great for a Thanksgiving or Christmas breakfast or brunch, or for anytime in the fall or winter, for that matter. They also make a nice snack or dessert if you’re wanting something a little less sweet. You could probably substitute dried cranberries for the fresh, but I’ve always made these with fresh–I like their slightly sweet, tart flavor!

CRANBERRY PECAN MUFFINS by NancyC

Makes 24 muffins

  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure orange extract
  • Optional: 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped fresh cranberries (or substitute dried cranberries)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.

In large bowl, blend flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In medium bowl, mix milk, butter, orange extract, and eggs. Add this mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined, then fold in chopped cranberries and pecans and stir until evenly distributed in batter (be careful not to overmix). Batter will be thick!

Spoon batter into the lined muffin cups. Bake at 350˚F for 22 to 25 or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool muffins in pans for a few minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire rack, or serve warm.

Do you have your Thanksgiving menu planned out? Are you making anything with fresh cranberries for your special meal?

Sharing at Weekend PotluckMeal Plan MondayFiesta Friday.

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Pumpkin Pound Cake

The cooler autumn weather is great for baking and I love to bake pumpkin-flavored things this time of year. I wanted to make something fairly simple and this Pumpkin Pound Cake recipe I found at the Taste of Home site sounded like just the thing to bake! I made a few changes to the original recipe and may have over-baked it slightly because the edges came out a little dark, but otherwise I thought this pound cake was really good. It has a good buttery flavor and the dusting of powdered sugar on top adds just the right amount of sweetness. The cake itself has a lighter pumpkin flavor and isn’t overly spicy, so even if you or your family aren’t crazy about pumpkin bread, you make like this pound cake.

Another nice thing about this recipe is that it makes two loaves! One for now, one for later, or one to keep and one to give. I’m sure this would also make a nice bundt cake, too. The baking time might be a little longer, but you can check it after 60 minutes and see how it’s doing!

PUMPKIN POUND CAKE by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes two 9×5″ loaves

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • Optional: powdered sugar for dusting on top

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour two 9×5″ loaf pans; set aside.

In large bowl, cream softened butter and sugar. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Add dry ingredients, half at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture in large bowl, then stir in the pumpkin puree until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans and bake at 350˚F for 60 to 62 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean or almost clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans, then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

I have lots of other pumpkin recipes I want to try–way more than I will have time to make! What kind of pumpkin-flavored desserts have you been making?

Sharing at Weekend Potluck.

Jumbo Ginger Molasses Cookies

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I like these gingery molasses cookies so much, I think I will make them every fall and winter! I first made them during this past Christmas season and think they’re a great cookie to munch on during the cold weather. They’re flavored with lots of ginger and some cinnamon and cloves. They’re slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. And they are one big cookie! Big enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.

They’re very buttery, too–rich and buttery. And after you roll the cookie dough into balls, you also roll them in coarse sugar–I think the coarse, sparking sugar coating really makes them look special! Molasses cookies have never been a huge favorite of mine, but I really like these, so if you’ve never made molasses cookies before, you may want to give these a try!

JUMBO GINGER MOLASSES COOKIES by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 26 to 28 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses; set aside.

In medium bowl, blend the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; gradually add this mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and mix everything well.

Shape cookie dough into 2-inch balls (I used an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough, then rolled it into balls) and roll in coarse sugar. Place 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets (or baking sheets lined with parchment paper). You’ll be able to fit about 6 cookies on each baking sheet. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until tops are cracked. Let cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Do you like gingery, spicy, molasses-flavored cookies? What kinds of cookies do you like making during the winter months?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday.

Jumbo Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

jumbo-oatmeal-cranberry-chocolate-chip-cookies-nancyc

I start thinking about making recipes with cranberries as soon as the fall season comes around. Cranberries, whether they’re fresh or dried, are such a classic autumn and holiday ingredient. It just wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving or Christmas without cranberries, would it? And because these cookies have dried cranberries, along with white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, they’re perfect for making this time of year when the days are chilly, evenings come earlier, and cookie baking and giving are in full swing.

These cookies are big, thick, and chewy–the kind of cookie you want to have when you’re sitting in a big, comfy chair with a mug of hot cocoa, wrapped in a warm blanket and maybe watching a favorite movie or reading a good book. Did I mention that these cookies also have oatmeal in them too? It always makes me feel a little better when a cookie has oatmeal in it–somehow, cookies with oatmeal just seem a little healthier, don’t they?

JUMBO OATMEAL CRANBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES by NancyC

Makes about 18 cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • parchment paper, for lining cookie sheets

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, blend butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well; set aside.

In a medium-size bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Add half of this flour mixture to the egg/butter/sugar mixture and mix well; then add in the rest of the flour mixture and mix all ingredients well.

Fold in the dried cranberries, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips; stir until these are evenly distributed in batter.

Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (if dough is too sticky to work with, refrigerate it for 5 to 10 minutes before putting on cookie sheets). You should be able to fit 6 cookies per sheet. Bake at 350˚F for 12 to 13 minutes, or until very lightly brown (do not overtake, or cookies will be dry). Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute, then move to wire rack to cool completely.

Baking cookies is a great thing to do when it’s cold outside–it makes everything so cozy inside! Do you like making cranberry-flavored goodies this time of year too?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

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It doesn’t seem possible that Thanksgiving was yesterday! The big meal we all look forward to has come and gone. The turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and countless side dishes and desserts shared with family and friends…it’s all a pleasant memory now, unless you’re still enjoying the leftovers.

in_winters_kitchen_150dpi_rgb_1Most likely, you probably had cranberry sauce as one of the side items on your table or buffet. I was never much of a fan of cranberry sauce as a kid, but I like it now, especially if it’s homemade. As I was reading a review copy of the book In Winter’s Kitchen, by Beth Dooley, I found a recipe for cranberry sauce which I decided I had to try, since I’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce.

In Winter’s Kitchen is not actually a cookbook, although there is a small recipe section at the back of the book. It’s part memoir–the author shares stories of her family’s past Thanksgiving meals and winter meal traditions–and part informational guide to the local food movement Dooley discovered when she relocated years ago from New Jersey to Minnesota. She provides lots of information and insight on the benefits of eating locally–grown, fresh, organic, in-season foods. The book is well-written and very informational if you are wanting to learn more about farm-to-table foods.

I really liked the flavors in this cranberry sauce recipe–it’s sweet, but not too sweet and has a slight cranberry tartness. It’s much, much better than the sauce you buy in a can and it’s so easy to make–so hopefully you’ll get a chance to try it out sometime during the holiday season.

CRANBERRY SAUCE from In Winter’s Kitchen 

Makes about 2 cups

  • 3 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and sorted
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or orange juice (I used apple cider)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, honey, or maple syrup (I used 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 maple syrup)

In a medium saucepan, bring the cranberries and cider or orange juice to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the berries have popped open, about three to five minutes. Stir in sugar, honey, or maple syrup.

NOTE: The original recipe doesn’t say to do this, but after stirring in the honey and maple syrup, I continued to simmer the mixture an additional 5 minutes, then let it cool. The mixture will thicken as it cools, and then you can transfer the sauce into a small serving bowl.

Not only does this cranberry sauce taste great, it adds a nice touch of tradition to winter meals. Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and are having a nice holiday weekend!

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.