Ok, let me freak out a little bit… AHHHH! I’m on Madoline “Chef/Baker/Baller Extraordinaire’s” blog! This is better than Rachael Ray, Emeril, (umm) George Foreman…!
But seriously— what an honor. Other than the (hopefully obvious) affiliation with Madoline as her kitchen disciple, I’ve had the privilege of being a classmate, roomie and friend to a gal that’s sweeter than pumpkin pie… which reminds me! My next point. Pumpkin.
Now, In advance, I apologize for the following:
a. If you are allergic to pumpkin and want nothing to do with it.
b. If you are all “pumpkined” out (I know… I know. Pumpkin is so fall. And it’s spring already. But you’ll just have to play along)
c. If you clicked on Madoline’s blog today, thinking, “Gee. I’ve got 99 recipes in my kitchen. They all have pumpkin in them. I’d like to have 100 recipes. And I’d like one of them to not be pumpkin.” So, so sorry.
But let’s be honest, eh? If you enjoy baking, you’ve baked a loaf of pumpkin bread or two. Oh, and too— it seems that every time, I whip up my pumpkin batter, I’ve got plenty for two or three loaves. The Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread recipe serves as my trusty starting block, in addition to extra cinnamon and ginger dashes, a cap-full of vanilla, half white/half whole wheat flour and pecans.
But the other day, I thought to myself, “But what if I only want one? What to do with the rest of this dreamy-spiced mix other than baking the regular, rectangular, and mundane loaf I always make?” So, that’s when I got a lil’ creative… picture it…
My eyes darted left and right. It just so happened I had a muffin pan (check). And it just so happened I had 2 red apples and a supply of bagel-less cream cheese (check). I had time, mixture and magic (check, check, check)— and let me say this, and let me say it loud so you can hear my voice come off the screen and preach to you, “Your kitchen is your playground, dearest. If you are married to following a recipe (foreign or familiar) down to the very letter, afraid to branch out and sprinkle, dabble, mix and create something different all on your own, STOP THAT! And do you ‘creative thang’!” My desire was shake up texture, shape and size, enhance taste while maintaining that desired blueprint of pumpkin success that my dad, aunts and uncles so often enjoy. So with the batter that had potential to be loaf #2, here’s what I did...
I peeled a medium-sized red apple, sliced it in half, sat down, ate half of it, and minced the other half. Then I set it aside.
Then I took 4 ounces of cream cheese, whipped it (real good), incorporated half of an egg yolk, a tsp. vanilla, 4 Tbsp. brown sugar and whipped it again (real good). And set it aside.
The muffin pan, I grab. With nonstick cooking spray, I hit all 12 cups. I fill 7 of them only halfway with batter, and in those 7, I drop a dollop of cream cheese mixture. Taking a toothpick, I begin to swirl the orange and cream to my liking (the appearance of the yin and yang). And though there was extra cream cheese mixture left over, I’m satisfied with the number of that muffin variation while moving onto the chopped apple…
The minced apple half, I drop in the rest of the mixture. I stir. The rest of the muffin cups I fill ½ to ¾’s of the way. I want this to be aesthetically more distinguished, so I garnish each apple pumpkin muffin with a pecan (ooh la la). And voila. Oven on 350 degrees, 20 minutes later, the oven births 12-15 beautiful bouncy creations. I’m a proud baker.
½ recipe pumpkin bread batter
4 oz. cream cheese
½ egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ medium apple, minced
7 whole pecans
Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
Prepare pumpkin bread batter as instructed.
Whip 4 ounces of cream cheese with a mixer. Add the egg yolk and incorporate. Add vanilla and brown sugar; whip. Set aside.
Fill seven cups halfway with pumpkin batter. Drop in a dollop of cream cheese mixture. Taking a toothpick, swirl the two to your liking (the appearance of the yin and yang).
Add the apple to the pumpkin mixture and stir. Fill the remaining muffin cups ½ to ¾ full with this batter. Garnish each apple pumpkin muffin with a.
Bake muffins 20 minutes at 350 degrees.