Saturday, October 25, 2008

EMMY'S PUMPKIN-CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

Don't dismiss this as an improbable combination; the mellow, distinctive taste of pumpkin is a delightful counterpoint to the chocolate chips. But if you're still anxious about the medley, substitute cinnamon chips, which will give you a much more traditional taste. For a more complex taste, add 1/4 cup Toffee Flavored Bits to the muffins along with the chocolate chips; your family will be back for seconds, guaranteed!

MUFFINS
1 2/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/3 cups Baker's Special sugar or granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chocolate chips or cinnamon chips
1/4 cup Toffee Flavored Bits (optional)
1/2 cup diced walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup melted butter or melted vegetable shortening; OR 1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup (half of a 15-ounce can) solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup water

GLAZE
1 cup glazing or confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon milk
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Stir in the chips and bits of your choice. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted fat, eggs, pumpkin and water. Make a well in the dry ingredients, fill it with the liquid ingredients, and mix vigorously until everything is well-blended, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as you go.

Spoon the batter into the lightly greased or paper-lined cups of a 12-cup muffin pan. The muffin cups should be filled quite full, using a generously rounded 1/4-cup of batter for each muffin. Bake the muffins in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven; let them cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them from the pan to a rack to cool completely. Store them in a plastic bag or other airtight container. Just before serving, stir together the glaze ingredients, and drizzle over the muffins. Yield: 12 muffins.

Shannon's note: Yield is very conservative. I get about 18 muffins. When I forego the glaze, I usually add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon to the muffin batter.

Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole
(serves 12 - 14 - I usually make half, so have noted my subs)

3 lbs yellow squash (I use about 3 or 4 crookneck squash, depending on the size)
1 1/2 lbs zucchini (I use one large one)
2 large sweet onions, chopped (I use one)
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I usually use one medium size one)
1/2 cup water
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese grated (I just eyeball this and use what I feel like)
5 ears fresh corn, cut and scraped from the cob (I use 3)
2 - 3 fresh jalapeno peppers (I use one, sometimes a serrano or whatever is available, doesn't seem to matter)
1/2 tsp salt (salt to taste)
1 pint sour cream (I use one cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and slice squash and zucchini into thin rounds.
In a large heavy pan, cook the squash, onions, and bell pepper in 1/2 cup water over medium heat until tender. Drain liquid and mash with a potato masher.
Add the cheese, corn, peppers, salt, and sour cream. Stir to mix well.
Pour into a casserole dish, sprinkle some more cheese on top. Bake until bubbly or starting to brown. Serve immediately.