In the Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Baking issue this year, they share that they “put powdered buttermilk, long a staple of commercial kitchens, to the test in the test kitchen and found it produced baked goods every bit as flavorful as those made with fresh buttermilk.” Wow. They go on to note that Saco’s Buttermilk Blend is the most widely available. You may recall in my posting for Oatmeal Tea Bread in a Jar that I note to put substitutions for buttermilk in your recipe in case your recipient doesn’t have it. Well, Saco wants you to mix the buttermilk powder in with your flour and dry, and then simply substitute water for buttermilk with your liquid. So perfect if you’re making mixes as gift. No separate reconstituting. Holidays are a great time for home-made brunch and warm pumpkin muffins, fresh from the oven, are a fantastic addition to that brunch. The nod from Cooks had me trying the Sago blend. I’ve ignored it in the stores previously, but this “new to me” ingredient has been making me very happy with my recent baking.
I enjoy the coffee shop pumpkin muffins with cream cheese. Had checked the web for copycat style recipes and found some folks add sugar or sugar plus egg to the cream cheese. Some leave it as is. Always a fan of simplicity and pure flavors, I decided to try a recipe just adding cream cheese. For my base recipe I started with Epicurious.com and Bon Appetit’s Giant Pumpkin Muffins. My changes were to add some spice, skip the candied ginger and use the Saco buttermilk blend. The dry ingredients will exactly fit on one regular mason jar. As always, I bake and thoroughly
enjoy test any recipe before gifting it or publishing on my blog.
Bon Appetit’s Giant Pumpkin Muffins adapted to add spice and cream cheese
For a Jar Mix Gift: Stir the spices, salt and baking powder into ¾ cup of the flour. Stir the buttermilk powder into some of the remaining flour and layer your dry ingredients in a quart mason jar. You might have to tap it on the counter a bit to get everything to settle and all the ingredients to fit (they really do with that tapping and settling).2 teaspoons ground ginger 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour 2 TBL powdered buttermilk blend 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/4 teaspoons cloves 1/4 teaspoons allspice 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar
Wet Ingredients1/2 cup canola oil 3 large eggs 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin ½ cup molasses (spray your measuring cup with non-stick 1/2 cup water Cream cheese (you’ll use less than a package)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spray 6 giant (1 1/4-cup) muffin cups or 18 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups with nonstick spray.
Cut cream cheese into little squares about ¾ inch each for each muffin cup.
Using electric mixer, beat eggs 1 at a time into oil in large bowl. Beat in pumpkin, 1/2 cup molasses, and water. Stir in flour mixture until just blended.
Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Push a cream cheese square down into the batter in each cup. Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40 minutes for giant muffins and 30 minutes for standard muffins. Transfer muffins to rack; cool completely.
Consider including the small can of pumpkin and package of cream cheese in your gift. So many folks take time off work over the holidays that ready to bake breakfast/brunch treats are a thoughtful addition to your gift. You can also add the 1/2 cup molasses by using four ounce jam jars filled to the brim.. My relatives and friends have always let me know how quickly they baked up and how much they enjoyed the brunch baskets I’ve included with their gifts in the past.
I have guests often in ski season and when I make this recipe up I always have my own mixing bowl plus 3 gallon ziplock baggies out so I can do the dry for four batches at once. This makes a deliciously moist flavorful muffin that’s irresistible warm from the oven. If there’s any left, stick em in a ziplock and they’ll be luscious the next day as well.
Stay tuned and I’ll get up a post with some decorating ideas for food gifts I’m posting (you might want to subscribe J ). Labels for this recipe are available to download in this post http://ceodraiocht.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/labels-for-the-holiday-mix-in-a-jar-recipes/.
For a variation on muffins with glaze and crystallized ginger see http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Giant-Pumpkin-Muffins-with-Molasses-Ginger-Glaze-233386#ixzz17UAuzGbv
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