Cranberry Sourdough Muffin Tops

Hi, everyone. If you’re in the States and celebrate the holiday, in any way, I hope this past week was one of rest, good food and fellowship with loved ones.

If you’ve been following this blog for at least a year, then you’ll know that now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s about that time to start what’s become one of my favorite annual holiday traditions.

If you’re new here, I’ll explain.

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the food, specifically baked goods. They were a huge part of my childhood growing up. I always looked forward to the absolutely delicious goodies that my mom and grandmother would make, and now that I’m older I keep that tradition going myself. I record that yearly holiday baking frenzy here on the blog, in a series called the 12 Days of Christmas.

Basically, for the last few weeks of November and the entire month of December I spend the last twelve blog posts of the year sharing twelve holiday-themed baked goods. Most are sweet, but I try to include some savory ones as well. It’s a lot of work, but it’s gotten to the point where my holiday season wouldn’t feel the same without it. Today, is Day 1 of the 12 Days of Christmas.

At the start of this year, I got into making sourdough bread for myself at home. It’s been really fun, but one of the things about it that you learn is that post-feeding(s) you have a lot of spare sourdough discard on your hands that you can either throw away, or find other uses for. I’ve shared some of those alternative uses for starter on the blog earlier throughout this year, and today, I’m sharing another.

Muffin tops are one of my favorite easy, ‘You Can’t Mess This Up’ recipes. They come together in minutes, the ingredients to make them are usually really inexpensive, and because they’re muffin ‘tops’ they taste even better than regular muffins.

However, I have added a modification at the end of the recipe for those who don’t have a muffin top pan, or just prefer regular muffins.

Stay tuned for more on the 12 Days of Christmas–there’s a LOT of delicious goodies coming your way 😉

******************************

Cranberry Sourdough Muffin tops

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup (227g) sourdough starter, ripe (fed) or discard
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk*
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter or 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or 1/2 cup molasses, or honey
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • Demerara sugar or coarse sparkling sugar, for sprinkling tops

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin top pan.

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

In a second bowl, beat together the starter, 1 tabelspoon of. the milk, egg, melted butter, and sweetener. Blend the wet ingredients with the dry, taking about 20 seconds. Gently stir in the cranberries just until blended. If the mixture seems a little thick and pasty, you may add the extra tablespoon of milk

Fill the cups of the prepared pan; sprinkle the tops of the muffins with sugar.

Bake the muffins for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Don’t let them cool in the pan, or they’ll steam and the outside will become tough.

Note: These can be made as regular cranberry muffins as well. Simply increase the amount of milk to 1/4 cup.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #460.

Apple-Cranberry Galette

We are on the cusp of what has become my favorite week of the year: the week of Thanksgiving.

It’s always extremely busy for me. I spent an immense amount of time on my feet, and by the end of it, I’m very tired.

And still, I absolutely love it.

If I had to list the only things about I don’t love, it would be the fact that I still don’t have the kitchen of my dreams withan abundance of cabinets/storage, unlimited counter space, and multiple ovens.

But, knock on wood, some day. Soon.

In the meanwhile, it pays for me to be able to make a schedule for myself to cook/bake/store things in ‘stages’, so that the day o Thanksgiving itself isn’t so hectic. Some dishes have to be made the day of, but most desserts can be done ahead of time, usually the night before so as to save time + oven space. This dessert is one of them.

I visited an apple orchard several weeks ago, and had quite a few apples I needed to use up. This was one of the uses I found for them, for a few reasons. First, I had never tried apples and cranberries together in a dessert before, and I thought this would be a good time to change that. Second, it’s pretty easy to put together.

Third, I think that this is a good dessert alternative to make for people who don’t like the ‘Usual; Suspects’ on the dessert table at Thanksgiving (Pumpkin Pie, Sweet Potato Pie or Pecan Pie).

Fourth: it’s pretty. (Yes, this is a legitimate consideration for me; I’m a Libra.)

This dessert has all of the things I love: flavor, texture and ease. The tart of the cranberries and the sweet of the apple play wonderfully against each other, and the contrasting textures of the fruit really works.

And to top it off (literally,) this crumble streusel topping is EVERYTHING. It’s buttery, crunchy and is honestly delicious enough to eat all on its own, or stirred into ice cream.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Americans on here who celebrate, in your own way. For me, it’s always about family, food, and gratitude for them both.

******************************

Apple Cranberry Galette

Recipe Adapted from a Previous Recipe on Cooking is My Sport

Ingredients

For Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/3 cup ice cold water, plus more as needed
  • 1 egg, beaten

For Filling

  • 5-6 Fuji, Gala, or Pink Lady Apples, peeled and diced into about 1 inch pieces (aim for about 4-5 cups)
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

For Crumble Topping

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp.

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, the sugar and salt and stir together with a fork.  

For Crust: Use a box grater to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. You can also a pastry blender, or alternatively, you can dice the butter into tiny cubes, and cut it into the dry ingredients that way. Add the ice water and stir with the fork, until it comes together in moist clumps and forms a mass. if mixture is too dry add a bit more water a tablespoon at a time. Gather dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.

For filling: In a large bowl toss together diced apples, cranberries, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, zest and vanilla. Set aside.

For Crumble: In a medium bowl, mix together granulated sugar, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Drizzle in melted butter and, using a fork, stir until mixture is crumbly and all the flour is incorporated; the crumbs should be smaller than 1 inch.

Heat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator and on a lightly floured surface, roll it into a roughly 11 x 14-inch rectangle. Transfer to baking sheet and chill until firm, about 15 minutes.

Remove baking sheet from refrigerator. Arrange filling evenly in the center of the dough, leaving a 4-inch border all around; reserve the juices.

Brush exposed dough border with beaten egg and fold edge in up over fruit, making pleats every 2 inches. Pour remaining juices over exposed fruit, brush the folded outer edge with beaten egg. Cover exposed fruit with about 1 heaping cup of crumble. (You may have some leftover, this is fine.)

Bake galette until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove and let cool before serving.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #459, hosted by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Spiced Sausage & Apple Pie

Happy Sunday, everyone. In continuing the pie kick that I’ve been in on the blog, today I’m going to take a walk on the savory side.

Savory pies have always been one of my favorite foods to eat, and to make. There are so many different ‘options’ out there, as just about every major cuisine has its own take on the savory meat pie.

Over the years, I’ve tried to experiment in making different ones, and as meat pie is about as much of a comfort food as you can get, those experimentations usually end up taking place at around fall/early winter when comfort food is a must.

I recently visited an apple orchard, and as when one visits an apple orchard, I had an excess of apples on my hands afterward that I had to do something with, besides just eat raw. I did bake a dessert with some, but I also made a savory dinner with others, which I’m sharing today.

Sausage and apple make for a really great pair, and for anyone who hasn’t found this out for themselves, consider this recipe your wake up call to get with the winning team, asap. The filling for this pie is very simple: sausage and apples with onion, apple cider, and a combination of spices that give it a warm, ‘autumn-y’ flavor.

You don’t have to make your own pie crust for this, two store bought ones will work– but I highly recommend that you do. It’s the same crust recipe I used for my Chicken Pot Pie, and it’s delicious enough to where it will remain THE pie crust I whip up for all savory pies that I make in the future.

The labor for this pie gets spread out over the course of two days, with the bulk of it being done on the first day. The second day is the easy part: you roll out the pie crust(s), fill the first pie crust, top it off with the second, and bake. This makes for good eating for a dinner, but also for brunch or lunch.

Enjoy.

***************************************

Spiced Sausage & Apple Pie

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

For Pie Crust

  • 2 1/4 sticks (254 grams) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons very cold water, plus more if needed

For Filling

  • 2 pounds ground pork (or turkey) sausage, cooked and drained
  • 3 medium sized apples (like Gala, Fuji, or Pink Lady)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Plenty of onion and garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice

Directions

For Pie Crust:

In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, sugar and black pepper. Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients, and stir together with a fork. Add the water, adding more tablespoon by tablespoon if needed just until it holds together.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into two portions. One should be slightly larger than the other. The larger one will be our bottom crust, the smaller one will be the top crust. Wrap both of these blobs in plastic, then press down to form a well-sealed disc. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before rolling and assembling the pie. (I typically let mine rest overnight)

For Filling:

In a large, shallow frying pan, cook the sliced apples with the onion, salt, cider or juice, and sugar for 15 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the liquid is syrupy.

Stir the cooked sausage into the apple mixture, and remove the pan from the heat. Add the pepper and the rest of the spices. TASTE IT. If the seasoning is to your preference, refrigerate for at least one hour, but preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Take the pie dough discs out of the fridge, unwrap, and let hang out on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes.

Roll out the larger disc into a 12-inch circle and set into a 9-inch glass deep dish pie pan. Use your fingers to gently press the dough into the corners of the pan, so it’s as snug as can be. Roll out the smaller disc into a 10- to 11-inch circle. Fill the dough-lined pie pan with the cold sausage-apple filling and use a spoon to smooth out to fill the pan completely.

From here, you can either place the second rolled out disc of pie dough on top of the pie, or cut it into strips and arrange them in a lattice design on top of the pie. Your choice.

Trim any excess so you have an even ¾-inch overhang. Use your fingers to squeeze the two layers together, then fold the overhang under itself, so the edge is tucked into the pie pan and a ridge is formed. Use the tines of a fork to seal the ridges all around.

Place the pie pan on a rimmed sheet pan you’ve lined with aluminum foil (this makes getting in and out of the oven a lot simpler, and also saves on mess from possible seepage.)

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the pie crust is golden brown. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes before slicing.

Sharing this at Fiesta Friday #458.

Cinnamon Sugar Butter Pie

This time of year, I tend to end up making a lot of pies. Most of them tend to be standard old faithfuls for the holidays, but I also try to be intentional about trying new kinds out too.

For the next few weeks, you all will see the product of those intentions here on the blog, with the majority of the recipes to come being my recent pie bakes. This is the first.

In the top 5 rankings of Jess’ Favorite Pies, Pecan Pie is not only in the Top 2, it is not #2.

It took me a while to discover it, but my love for Pecan Pie runs deep. I’ve observed that so far. as pies go, the feelings most people have tend to be at polar extremes; people either love it like me, or they hate (like I used to think I did.)

I know some people who don’t like pecan pie because they think that it’s ‘too sweet’. Others steer clear of. it because they don’t like nuts. I can’t help the people in the first camp. For the people in the second, however…well, pop a squat.

If I had to describe today’s recipe in a nutshell, it would be…a pecan pie, but with an oatmeal crust, and without the nuts.

If that sounds appealing to you then, by all means: follow me camera.

When it comes to the huge positives with this pie, is that–as with a pecan pie–it’s really easy to put together, and it’s comprised of really simple, generic ingredients most of which you probably already have in your kitchen. Mine was mixed and baking in the oven within half an hour. Another hour after that, it was done altogether.

For the cooks in the household that need every spare moment we can get on holidays like Thanksgiving, desserts like these really are a Godsend.

Finally, when it comes to taste, I would describe it as a warm, comforting cinnamon-sugar flavored hug around my tongue. I was surprised by how well the oat cookie crust complemented the filling, and also how much I actually did not miss the nuts in this pie.

And when eaten à la mode? Chef’s Kiss, truly.

*********************************************

Cinnamon Sugar Butter Pie

Recipe Adapted from Land O’ Lakes

Ingredients

For Crust

  • 3/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For Filling

  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons milk powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg yolks

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour with the salt and cinnamon. Stir with a fork and set aside.

In a medium size bowl, use a handheld mixer with the beater attachments to beat the butter and the brown sugar together until creamy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat just to combine. Stir in the oats. Stir in the flour mixture, until well mixed.

Pat dough evenly into the pie plate. Bake 5 minutes or until lightly browned. (Crust will appear slightly underbaked.) Set aside.

Meanwhile, make the filling: in a medium bowl, beat the white sugar and brown sugar together with the unsalted butter until creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and mixing just until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and beat just until mixed.

Pour the filling over the pie crust. Bake uncovered 30 minutes. Loosely cover with aluminum foil. Bake 10 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking 5-7 minutes or until edges are set (center will still be jiggly) and top is golden brown.

Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #457.