Sunday, November 8, 2009
SMS: Pear Cranberry Muffins with Gingersnap Crumble
This week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays Treat is Pear Cranberry Muffins with Gingersnap Crumble. There have not been any pears in my kitchen in months. We used to get a CSA (community supported agriculture) produce box delivered to our house every other week and pretty much every delivery last fall/winter contained pears. Neither of us is particularly fond of eating pears plain (I tried), so I consistently turned them into desserts, which we enjoyed, so it was nice baking with them again. (We stopped getting the CSA box because it stressed me out. I enjoyed the nice seasonal produce and the surprises each week, but it was hard to eat everything before it went bad – Josh did not eat any of the fruit – and we have access to plenty of great grocery stores and farmer’s markets, so it wasn’t necessarily a huge convenience having it delivered. I’m happy I can now select fruit we will both eat before it is macerated in sugar, as well as guiltlessly eat broccoli four times a week if I want to and occasionally buy asparagus in the middle of the fall.)
Okay, muffins. I managed to get eleven muffins out of a half recipe, which seems like a lot. The muffin section of the Sweet Melissa book has a base recipe and this was the group’s second attempt at sweet muffins. Last time my batter was very thick, which I fixed by adding a couple extra tablespoons of milk, so I knew to start with a little extra milk this time. The recipe calls for both whole milk and heavy cream, but I just used milk and it seemed to work fine. I also subbed in nonfat yogurt for half of the butter and used just under half whole wheat flour in both the muffins and the crumble topping. I don’t usually experiment with leaveners, but in the Problems & Questions Section of the Sweet Melissa site, Hanaa mentioned she used a combination of baking powder and soda with great results, so I went ahead and tried it; I also took her suggestion of adding a little ginger to the muffins. I also tried a new gingersnap recipe, from Pure Dessert, which was wonderful (I promise to post the recipe soon) and made excellent crumb topping. I loved the gingersnap crumble and am already plotting to make another baked good with it.
I bought these measuring cups at Anthropologie a while back. They’re cute, but not very accurate for measuring most ingredients, as they are a little on the large side (I tested and am showing a picture of the cups containing ingredients pre-measured in my reliable measuring cups, you can see there’s a lot of space on top). But they are perfect for when you want to err on the generous side, like fruit for your muffins or cheese for your lasagna. The recipe called for half a cup of cranberries and for my half recipe I used the large quarter cup, plus some, and next time I think I might add a few more.
Wow, were these muffins were delicious! Cranberries and ginger are two of my favorite baking flavors, and they joined forces beautifully. The muffins were perfectly tender and bursting with flavor, so yummy! They received an 8.5 for Deliciousness and a 2.5 for Effort, giving them an EDR of 3.4. Many thanks to Jennifer of Maple N' Cornbread for choosing these awesome muffins and giving us an excuse to have our breakfast include cookies. You can find the recipe on Jennifer’s site and see what the other bakers thought by visiting the SMS blogroll.