Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

October 27, 2013 13:11 by Suzy

I'm looking out at a gorgeous Ohio fall Sunday...bright sunshine, cool crisp air and falling leaves.  And football on the TV.  Life is good.

These muffins are the perfect treat for a late-October weekend.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
adapted from The Loopy Ewe

8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

Beat together cream cheese and powdered sugar until well combined.  Scrape onto piece of plastic wrap and form into a log, 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in freezer for at least 2 hours.

Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix with clean hands or two forks until crumbly.  Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease muffin tins, or use paper liners.

In large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil until well blended.  Add all of the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Do not overmix.

Slice cream cheese log into 24 equal pieces.

Put a small amount (barely 1 tablespoon) of batter in each muffin tin well.  Top with piece of cream cheese mixture, then spoon batter on top, completely covering the cream cheese.  Sprinkle each muffin with topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack for a few minutes before serving.  Makes 24 muffins.

Homemade English Muffins

August 20, 2012 20:45 by Suzy

With all of the yummy homemade jam goodness around the Suzy and JD household lately, we've been addicted to English Muffins.  For whatever reason those crumbly round muffins are the perfect vehicle for gobbling up said jam.  Unfortunately, store-bought "nooks and crannies" don't come cheap, so I started wondering about making them from scratch.  I had never seen a recipe, nor had I known anyone who made homemade English Muffins, but a quick search on Google and I was in business.

Many recipes did not look promising...the finished muffins looked more like biscuits.  Others looked like hockey pucks and just as dense.  Then I found this recipe at She Simmers and Eureka!  She was looking for the same perfect English Muffins that I was, and she found and honed the recipe it so all I had to do was follow along.  Perfection.

English Muffins
adapted from She Simmers, who adapted a recipe from Alton Brown

1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon sugar, divded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening, melted
1 cup hot water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine nonfat dry milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, shortening, 1 cup hot water in large bowl and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.  Set aside to cool.

In smaller bowl, combine yeast, 1/8 teaspoon sugar, and 1/3 cup warm water.  Set aside until yeast is creamy and bubbly.

Pour yeast mixture into milk mixture and add flour.  Beat with wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.  Cover and let rest in warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat nonstick plan over medium-low heat.  Spray with nonstick cooking spray.  

Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda into the batter.  Place English Muffin rings in pan and spray with nonstick spray.  Before you ask, no, I don't have those either.  Another Google search gave me a sneaky work-around:  I folded heavy-duty foil into a strip, one quick staple and bam!  Instant English Muffin ring!  You can also use empty tuna cans with the tops and bottoms removed.

Using an ice cream scoop or large ladle, scoop batter into each ring.  Cover pan with lid or cookie sheet and let cook 5-6 minutes.  Remove the lid and flip each muffin, still in the rings, with spatula.  Cover them up again and cook 5-6 minutes, or until nice and golden brown.

Let cool completely before splitting.

Pull-Apart Buttery Dinner Rolls

August 6, 2012 18:55 by Suzy


***this is all that was left of the pan after JD and I got a hold of it***

I went into the weekend with a craving for homemade bread of some sort, but didn't have a specific recipe in mind.  We're still in the swampy-hot days of summer so I knew I didn't want to go crazy and have the oven on for a huge amount of time.  Enter these rolls.  Holy crap they were good.  Think traditional holiday dinner rolls but a million times better...soft and fluffy and just a bit sweet.  JD and I devoured nearly an entire pan of them for dinner...we'd had a late lunch so hot buttery carbs were all we needed Yum.

Pull-Apart Buttery Dinner Rolls
adapted from King Arthur Flour

3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1-2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing

Combine all ingredients in mixer bowl and knead with dough hook until soft, smooth and a bit sticky...about 7 minutes.  Place dough in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes.

Grease two 8" round cake pans.  Gently deflate dough and divide into 16 equal pieces (divide in half, then in half again, and so on...).  Shape each piece of dough into a round ball and place into cake pans, 8 pieces evenly spaced in each pan.  Cover pans and let rise again for 60-90 minutes, or until the rolls are puffy and crowded up against each other.  Towards the end of rising time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake rolls at 350 degrees for 20-24 minutes, or until golden brown.  Brush with melted butter and serve warm.

Cranberry Orange Bread with Grand Marnier Glaze

February 11, 2012 11:25 by Suzy

I've been obsessed with dried cranberries lately...a bowl of them mixed with almonds is a perfect snack.  And actually good for you!  I try to tell myself that healthy snacks like that totally cancel out the rest of my normal diet of french fries, peanut butter cookies, and butter-laden treats like this Cranberry-Orange Bread.  With boozy glaze.

This is more of a pound cake than a bread.  Moist, dense and rich.  The tart cranberries perfectly offset the sweet orange and Grand Marnier glaze. 

Cranberry Orange Bread with Grand Marnier Glaze
adapted from MyRecipes.com

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup orange juice
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
2 cups powdered sugar
7-8 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Preheat oven to 330 degrees.  (I know, weird, right?  I don't think I've ever set an oven to that temperature before.  Whatever, it worked.)  Grease 2 loaf pans.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Add orange juice, sour cream, orange zest and vanilla and mix well.

Add flour, baking powder, salt and dried cranberries.  Stir until combined; don't overmix.

Divide batter evenly into the greased loaf pans.  Bake 65-75 minutes, or until skewer inserted into loaves comes out clean.

While loaves are baking, whisk together powdered sugar and Grand Marnier until smooth and pourable.  If too thick, add more Grand Marnier or orange juice.  If too thin, add more powdered sugar.  Set aside.

Let loaves cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack placed over a baking sheet.  Poke holes all over top surface of loaves with a long skewer.  Pour glaze over loaves.  Let cool completely before slicing.


Cranberry Orange Bread

Nooks and Grannies

January 30, 2011 15:06 by Suzy

No football this weekend, so I've kept myself busy baking bread and making a bean soup.  Hopefully the soup will be good enough to feature here later this week.  The bread is a definite success.

Remember those old Thompson's English Muffin commercials where they talked about the "nooks and crannies"?  When we were kids we always said "nooks and grannies."  Did anybody else do this, or just my goofy family?

As odd as it sounds, this bread really does taste like an english muffin when toasted.  Coarse texture, holey interior (captures the melted butter just like those nooks and crannies!) and yummy flavor.  The cornmeal gives the crust a nice crunch, too.

English Muffin Toasting Bread
adapted from King Arthur Flour

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Put flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and yeast in mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Fit mixer with paddle attachment (not dough hook).

Heat milk, water and oil in microwave until it reaches 120-130 degrees.

Pour hot milk mixture over dry ingredients and beat on high speed for 1 minute.  Dough will be very soft and sticky.

Grease 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan and dust bottom and sides with cornmeal.

Dump dough into loaf pan and level it out the best you can.  Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let rise 45-60 minutes, or until the dough rises about 1/2" from the rim of the pan.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake bread for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.

Cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove bread to wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Homemade Bread

November 21, 2010 17:51 by Suzy

The other day I discovered a new blog called "Cookbook Lovers Unite" which celebrates the wonderfulness that is the printed cookbook.  Every two weeks, a theme is announced and bloggers are invited to share posts on that theme with a recipe from a cookbook...not a magazine, the internet, your grandma, etc.  I absolutely love this idea.  Books in print seem to be on their way out, but I hope this never happens with cookbooks.  I am a fan of the e-book, and I love my Kindle, but I have no cookbooks loaded on it.  Cookbooks, to me, need to be more tangible than a mere digital version.  The handwritten notes, dog ears, spills and spatters tell such a story when you skim through an actual cookbook.  My mom had a cookie cookbook when I was a kid that was a favorite of mine.  She loves using it now, with all of the "yummy!" and "mmmmm" notes everywhere in my juvenile scrawl.  You just can't get that from an e-book.

I'm so excited to be participating (just under the wire!) with the current theme at Cookbook Lovers Unite:  Warm and Cozy.  During this time of year, Warm and Cozy is almost a requirement of anything you make in the kitchen.  I love how Warm and Cozy could mean almost anything...savory stew, spicy apple pie, hot tea with honey...anything that is the culinary equivalent of wrapping yourself in a warm blanket.

For me, my first thought for Warm and Cozy was homemade bread, fresh from the oven, and luckily, I have the perfect cookbook to use:  Baking with Julia, by Dorie Greenspan and with Julia Child.  It's filled with some wonderful recipes and this is one of my favorites.  Classic, simple, but certainly not boring.  Your house feels warm and cozy while you are baking it, and you feel warm and cozy when you are eating it.

Be sure to check out all of the other Warm and Cozy posts at Cookbook Lovers Unite!

Homemade White Bread
adapted from Baking with Julia

2 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
7 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Put 1/2 cup of the warm water in the bowl of your heavy-duty mixer.  Sprinkle in the yeast and sugar and stir.  Let the yeast mixture rest for 5 minutes, or until creamy.

Add the remaining 2 cups of warm water and 3 1/2 cups of flour.  Using the dough hook, mix on low speed for a few pulses.  Then, with the mixer running on low speed, add 3 1/2 cups more flour and mix until combined.  Increase speed to medium and beat until the dough comes together.  Stop the mixer and scrape the dough hook and bowl as needed.  Add the 1 tablespoon salt and continue to knead on medium speed for 10 minutes.  Dough will be smooth and elastic.  Add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until thoroughly incorporated.  The dough will look like it is coming apart when you add the butter, but don't freak out.  Keep beating and the dough will come back together.

Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a ball.  Put the dough in a buttered bowl, turn the dough over to coat all sides with the butter, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. 

Let rise at room temperature until doubled, about an hour.

Gently deflate the dough and dump out onto lightly floured surface.  Divide dough in half.  Flatten each piece of dough into a 9" x 12" rectangle.  Fold the dough in thirds (like a letter) and pinch seam to seal.  Fold in the ends and pinch to seal.  Gently place into 2 buttered loaf pans.

Cover the loaves with oiled plastic wrap (I usually just spray the plastic wrap with non-stick spray) and let rise in a warm place 45 minutes, or until doubled.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake loaves in the center of the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown.  An instant read thermometer stuck into the bottom of a loaf should read 200 degrees.

Immediately remove loaves from the pans and cool on a rack.  Wait until nearly cool before slicing.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread, Round 2

February 21, 2010 18:24 by Suzy

As much as I loved my last batch of Cinnamon Raisin Bread, it was a bit heavy for my taste.  So I found another recipe on the King Arthur Flour site, with much better results.  This is a much lighter, softer loaf and the spiral has a more intense cinnamon flavor than the loaf with cinnamon mixed throughout the dough.  This makes some incredibly delicious toast.

About the photo; I had a little trouble getting the rolled dough into the pan, so my spiral is a little messy on the ends.  Not as pretty as it could be, but just as good!

Spiral Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Seriously, is there a better combination than cinnamon and raisins?

Cinnamon and raisins

Cinnamon Spiral Raisin Bread
adapted from a recipe by King Arthur Flour

1 packet active dry yeast
1 1/8 cups lukewarm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1 heaping cup raisins (optional)

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Dissolve yeast with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water.  Let sit until bubbly and expanded, about 10 minutes.

Proof the yeast

In mixer bowl, combine the dissolved yeast with the remaining water, flour, salt, sugar, butter, dry milk, and potato flakes.  Mix with dough hook for about 4 minutes, then add raisins gradually while mixer is running to evenly distribute throughout the dough.  Continue mixing for another 3 minutes, until dough barely cleans the sides of the bowl.

Dough, pre-rise

Place dough in greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in warm place until puffy and nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Dough, post-rise

While dough is rising, prepare the filling by combining the sugar, cinnamon and flour in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Cinnamon sugar mixture

Transfer dough to lightly greased work surface and gently pat into a 6" x 20" rectangle.

Spread out dough

Brush dough with the beaten egg wash and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon mixture.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar

Starting with a short end, roll dough into a log.  Pinch ends and seam to seal.

Place gently into a greased loaf pan and cover with greased plastic wrap.  Let rise in warm place until dough is about 1" above the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.

Place in pan

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil after the first 15 minutes.  (I just realized that I reversed this; I tented it for the first 15 minutes!  I'm guessing it might be a little prettier when done the right way.)  Loaf should be golden brown.

Remove loaf from pan and brush top with butter.  Let loaf cool completely before slicing.

Spiral Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Rolls

February 14, 2010 10:54 by Suzy

One of my favorite food blogs is The Pioneer Woman, with Ree Drummond.  She is so funny and always has great recipes and beautiful photography.  This is one of her recipes, but only a half batch.  Her recipe makes 8 pans of cinnamon rolls (you're supposed to make them for friends) but I couldn't imagine having that many cinnamon rolls at once, so I split it.  Big thanks to Beth at 990 Square for featuring this recipe a few weeks ago, or else I wouldn't have found it!

Oh. My. God.  These are so good.  Beware of diabetic coma.

Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from a recipe by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman

2 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour, divided
1/2 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1/2 scant teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt

1 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cinnamon

1 lb powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon melted butter

Combine milk, vegetable oil and 1/2 cup sugar in saucepan.  Heat to 150 degrees; remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. 

Heat milk, oil and sugar

Put in mixing bowl.  Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for 5 minutes. 

Sprinkle with yeast

Add 4 cups flour and mix to combine.  Cover bowl and let sit for one hour.  Add 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix.

Early stage of dough

You can continue making the cinnamon rolls now, or you can cover the bowl and keep in fridge for up to three days.

Sprinkle countertop generously with flour.  Dough is very sticky, so don't skimp on the flour.  Roll into a rectangle, pretty thin. 

Roll out on countertop

Drizzle melted butter all over dough. 

Spread with melted butter

Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar

Starting at the opposite side, roll the dough tightly towards you.  Pinch seam to seal. 

Roll tightly

Slice into rolls about 1 inch thick.  Place into greased 8" or 9" pans.  Cover pans with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

Sliced cinnamon rolls in pans

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Just baked cinnamon rolls

Combine all icing ingredients together in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Add more milk as needed to make the icing thick but pourable.  Drizzle over warm rolls.

Cinnamon rolls topped with icing

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

February 6, 2010 17:07 by Suzy

What to do on a snowy Saturday...

Snowy day

while JD is doing this...

JD shoveling snow

I know...Baking!


Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Adapted from a recipe at King Arthur Flour


1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup butter

1 heaping cup raisins (I would probably use more next time; up to 2 cups)

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water (about 110 degrees)

5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour


Heat the milk and butter to about 120 degrees.  Put in a large bowl and add the raisins, oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir together and set aside.

Cinnamon Raisin dough

In a small bowl, dissolve the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and yeast in the warm water.  Set aside until bubbly.


When the milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast mixture and mix well.  Add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  (I only needed about 5 cups for this.)


Dough, pre-rise

In a mixer with a dough hook, mix on medium speed for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.  (If you don’t have a mixer, knead by hand about 8 minutes)  The dough will be sticky.  Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat on all sides, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 60-90 minutes.


Divide dough in 2 pans

Deflate the dough, knead briefly on a lightly floured surface, and divide in half.  Shape into loaves and place in two lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.


Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until nicely browned.  Cover with aluminum foil if loaves get dark too quickly.  Turn out on wire rack to cool.  Cool completely before slicing.  Makes delicious toast with lots of butter!


Sliced cinnamon raisin bread