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.

17 comments:

Tracey said...

I've always sort of been intrigued by the idea of getting a CSA but since it's just me (Shane wouldn't eat any of the fruits or veggies) it's just not practical. Glad you have more freedom with your fruits and veggies now :)

The muffins look terrific! I loved the crumble topping too. It was definitely my favorite part of the muffins! Thanks for sharing all of your changes - glad to hear a healthier version of the muffins was tasty too.

jillbert said...

These sound like a delicious fall muffin!

I think a CSA box would stress me out too. If I buy a little too much at the grocery store, or if all the fruit ripens at once, I'm scrambling to use it all up.

Megan said...

I like your justification for eliminating the CSA box. No such thing exists in this city, all we grow around here are weeds.

Pure Dessert - that's Alice Medrich, isn't it? I can't wait to see what you make from that book!

Cakelaw said...

These look great Margot - I love your pretty crystal bowl.

Flourchild said...

Your muffins look so good. I loved the topping too. I love Anthropologie.... I LOVE their clothes..in fact I just posted a dress they have on my blog I want soo bad!

Mermaid Sweets said...

Nice muffins, glad all the subs worked for you. I loved them, but then mixed up which ones I made dairy free, ouch, so now can't have anymore. Don't you just hate it when you get a lot more than you think you should, happens to me with cupcakes all the time.

Stephanie said...

sounds lovely to get those boxes delivered - though i'd be like you -- stressed out to try and do something with all of it before it went bad! love that little measuring cups by the way!

Lele said...

Mmm I love fruit and ginger together. Those look wonderful!

Candy Girl said...

Great idea subbing yogurt for some of the butter. I love your measuring cups - too cute!

lakegirl said...

Your muffins look wonderful! I love the plate in your photograph!

I used the made a gingersnap crumble that I used on a pear crumble. I loved the crumble.

Jennifer said...

Thanks so much for baking with me this week!! Im so glad you loved these muffins too, I cant seem to get enough of them!

pinkstripes said...

Your muffins look great! I like your new measuring cups.

Susan said...

Your muffins look wonderful! I loved these and have made a second batch since Sunday...and there are only about 4 left!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Pears + cranberries (well, anything + cranberries, really) sound fab, and these muffins look absolutely perfect! I'm also thrilled to hear your endorsement of the ginger cookies from Pure Dessert - I've now made 2 recipes from the book, with generally good results. I might bake the cookies next.

Luckily, my farm box is not a CSA; I get to order what I want each week. Works better for me.

Sarah said...

How did I miss this post? I thought I got to everyone... Your muffins look perfect! We made a lot of the same changes to our muffins! I love Pure Dessert, definitely one of my favorite cookbooks. I haven't tried her gingersnaps yet, though, so I'm looking forward to your post! I love your measuring cups.

Hanaâ said...

I'm glad you enjoyed these muffins too. Love your healthy twist. Will have to try that next time (I only went as far as adding a couple tablespoons of flax seeds which was really nice -- I highly recommend it).

Karin said...

We really enjoyed these as well. That was a great idea to sub the yogurt for some of the butter. I'll have to try that next time.