Pumpkin Spice Donut Mini Muffins/Cakes

     
     Wendy Moulton made these delicious muffins for the last Ladies Literary League meeting at the Abilene Public Library. I took just one but soon returned for more. These sweet and spicy muffins are simply irresistible; they can also double as little dessert cakes.
     The recipe came from A Step in the Journey blog. The blogger says it makes 40 mini muffins but my yield was less but then I used a 2 tablespoon capacity silicon muffin pan. I also needed about 1 tablespoon more melted butter for dipping the muffins/cakes. Both adjustments are included in the recipe that follows.

Pumpkin Spice Donut Muffins/Cakes   Yields 28 mini muffins (made with a 2 tablespoon capacity scoop)

Donut Holes Batter:              
1¾ cups of all-purpose flour
I recommend a fill and push adjustable
measuring cup for solids such as pumpkin.
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon of pumpkin spice (to make your own, see the instructions that follow)
6 oz. (equivalent to ¾ cup) of pumpkin puree (plain without added spices & sugar)
½ cup vegetable (canola) oil
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla     
½ cup milk

Donut Coating:
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
About 5 tablespoons of butter

Preheat the oven at 350°. Thoroughly grease mini muffin tins.
For the Batter:
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin, vegetable oil, brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Combine all ingredients and mix together to create donut hole batter.
  4. Spoon or scoop the batter evenly into prepared muffin tins/pans. I used a 2 tablespoon capacity spoon.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a donut hole comes out clean.
  6. Allow muffins to cool for about 2 minutes.
    The silicon mini muffin pan allows for easy release of each and every muffin.  
For the Coating:
  1. In one bowl melt the butter. In a separate bowl mix the cinnamon and sugar.
  2. Dip the donut hole muffins in the butter and then roll around each entire muffin in  cinnamon-sugar mixture. 

 
Although they'd be yummy for breakfast, I served them as a dessert offering, stacked on a pedestal plate with a candle in the center.
Light the candle for a birthday celebration . . . Happy Birthday Mary!
To make a heaping 1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice: combine a scant ½ tsp. ground cinnamon with ¼ tsp. ground ginger + scant ¼ tsp. ground allspice + ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
For more homemade mixes go to the Mixes tab on this blog.


Recipe without photos . . .
Pumpkin Spice Donut Muffins/Cakes   Yields 28 mini muffins (made with a 2 tablespoon capacity scoop)

Donut Holes Batter:               
1¾ cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon of pumpkin spice (to make your own, see the instructions that follow)
6 oz. (equivalent to ¾ cup) of pumpkin puree (plain without added spices & sugar)
½ cup vegetable (canola) oil
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla      
½ cup milk

Donut Coating:
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
About 5 tablespoons of butter

Preheat the oven at 350°. Thoroughly grease mini muffin tins.
For the Batter: 
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin, vegetable oil, brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Combine all ingredients and mix together to create donut hole batter.
  4. Spoon or scoop the batter evenly into prepared muffin tins/pans. I used a 2 tablespoon capacity spoon.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a donut hole comes out clean.
  6. Allow muffins to cool for about 2 minutes.
For the Coating: 
  1. In one bowl melt the butter. In a separate bowl mix the cinnamon and sugar.
  2. Dip the donut hole muffins in the butter and then roll around each entire muffin in  cinnamon-sugar mixture. 

Chex Party Mix made in the Slow Cooker

     I remember when my mom first made Chex mix back in the late 1950s. We called it Party or TV mix back then and as I was thinking about that first batch, I wondered when the recipe for Chex mix was first introduced so  I did a search and this is what I found on  Wikipedia:

Chex cereal was introduced in 1937 by Ralston Purina.
By 1952, recipes for "Chex party mix" appeared on boxes of Chex cereal.

     Of course the original recipe* was baked in the oven but I was intrigued when I discovered slow cooker versions on several blogs. Here’s my take on the classic recipe and you’ll notice I've added some sugar at the end — I thought it needed a little sweetness to mellow out the taste. Next time I’ll probably add it with the rest of the spices and let it bake into the mixture.
      And, the BEST thing – aromas permeate the air as this mix bakes in the slow cooker. It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas in the our kitchen! However, chances are that I'll need to make another batch before December begins!

Chex Party Mix – Slow Cooker style
9 cups Chex cereal (equal parts corn, rice, and wheat Chex, or any combo of Chex-type cereals)
2 cups pretzels
1 cup Cheerios (I used multi-grain Cheerios)
1 heaping cup mixed nuts
6 tablespoons butter, melted and hot
1 ½ tablespoons seasoned salt (such as Tex Joy®)
¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. Add cereal, pretzels, cheerios and nuts to the bowl of a slow cooker.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together butter and seasoned salt until the salt is dissolved. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce until combined.
  3. Drizzle the sauce evenly over the top of the cereal mixture.  Toss for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is evenly combined.
  4. Cover and slow cook on low for 3 hours, stirring at the 1 hour, 2 hour and 2 1/2  hour marks so that the mixture does not burn.  Note: I was a little worried when I began to notice that moisture was condensing inside the lid of the slow cooker so I wiped it off each time I stirred the mixture. Also when I opened the slow cooker to stir, I noticed the cereal was a bit moist but by the end of the process (including the next step) the Party Mix was crisp and just like the oven version.
  5. Spread the mixture out onto a few baking sheets or parchment paper in an even layer until it cools to room temperature. Sprinkle with 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar if desired.
  6. Store in a sealed container for up to 3 weeks.
* Just for fun, here’s the original recipe that I discovered at any number of locations on the internet . . .
The Authentic and Original 1952 Chex Party Mix as it appeared on the cereal box 
Wonderful nibbling at snack-time! Try this new PARTY MIX:

Add 1/2 c. butter in shallow baking pan. Stir in 1 T. Worcestershire sauce. Add 2 c. Wheat Chex, 2 c. Rice Chex, and 1/2 c. nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt and 1/8 t. garlic salt; mix well. Heat 30 mins in 300 degree oven, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool.

Recipe without photos . . .
Chex Party Mix – Slow Cooker style
9 cups Chex cereal (equal parts corn, rice, and wheat Chex, or any combo of Chex-type cereals)
2 cups pretzels
1 cup Cheerios (I used multi-grain Cheerios)
1 heaping cup mixed nuts 
6 tablespoons butter, melted and hot
1 ½ tablespoons seasoned salt (such as Tex Joy®)
¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder 
2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. Add cereal, pretzels, cheerios and nuts to the bowl of a slow cooker.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together butter and seasoned salt until the salt is dissolved. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce until combined.
  3. Drizzle the sauce evenly over the top of the cereal mixture.  Toss for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is evenly combined.
  4. Cover and slow cook on low for 3 hours, stirring at the 1 hour, 2 hour and 2 1/2  hour marks so that the mixture does not burn.  Note: I was a little worried when I began to notice that moisture was condensing inside the lid of the slow cooker so I wiped it off each time I stirred the mixture. Also when I opened the slow cooker to stir, I noticed the cereal was a bit moist but by the end of the process (including the next step) the Party Mix was crisp and just like the oven version.
  5. Spread the mixture out onto a few baking sheets or parchment paper in an even layer until it cools to room temperature. Sprinkle with 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar if desired
  6. Store in a sealed container for up to 3 weeks.

Kale, Sausage & Potato Soup – the last of our garden kale


     Barry picked the last of our kale crop before the BIG freeze, and in anticipation of the current cold spell, I made soup.
     This soup can be broth based or can be lightly thickened with prepared white sauce—which would be similar to adding a partial can of condensed soup to the base, only this is homemade. I often make extra white sauce and refrigerate it; as it cools, it thickens up and can easily be scooped out to use as a thickener.

Kale, Sausage & Potato Soup
½ to 1 lb. ground pork sausage
1 onion, diced
Kosher salt and pepper – from ¼ to ½ teaspoon of each
½ teaspoon paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 small bunch of fresh thyme, tied in a bundle or about ½ to 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 quart+ chicken broth
Kale, stemmed and finely chopped – about 1 cup in the finely chopped state (use more or less according to your preference)
1 to 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
About ¼ cup of prepared white sauce to thicken if desired
  1. Brown sausage in a soup pot, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Once it begins to brown, add the onions and cook until they begin to turn translucent.
    Sausage in browning in soup pot.
    Onions have been added.
  2. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Add thyme.
  3. Add a quart of chicken broth and the kale. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer; cover and cook until kale is mostly tender, about 30 minutes+.
    Broth and kale have been added. Notice the bundle of thyme that I've tied to the handle of the pot. 
  4. Add potatoes; cover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add more broth as needed during cooking time + taste and add additional seasonings as needed. Optional: At this point I added ¼ cup prepared white sauce to lightly thicken the soup. (See note in the introductory paragraph above.)
    Potatoes have been added.
  5. Serve with oyster crackers, either plain or use our recipe for Seasoned Oyster Crackers.
Recipe without photos . . . 

Kale, Sausage & Potato Soup
½ to 1 lb. ground pork sausage
1 onion, diced
Kosher salt and pepper – from ¼ to ½ teaspoon of each
½ teaspoon paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 small bunch of fresh thyme, tied in a bundle or about ½ to 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 quart+ chicken broth
Kale, stemmed and finely chopped – about 1 cup in the finely chopped state (use more or less according to your preference)
1 to 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
About ¼ cup of prepared white sauce to thicken if desired
  1. Brown sausage in a soup pot, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Once it begins to brown, add the onions and cook until they begin to turn translucent.
  2. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Add thyme.
  3. Add a quart of chicken broth and the kale. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer; cover and cook until kale is mostly tender, about 30 minutes+.
  4. Add potatoes; cover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add more broth as needed during cooking time + taste and add additional seasonings as needed. Optional: At this point I added ¼ cup prepared white sauce to lightly thicken the soup. (See note in the introductory paragraph above.)
  5. Serve with oyster crackers, either plain or use our recipe for Seasoned Oyster Crackers.

Abilene Kansas App News Center: Feature: Manners Matter in Abilene

Abilene Kansas App News Center: Feature: Manners Matter in Abilene: Welcome to “Dannefer Diner” and to positive social interactions . . .   by Meta Newell West Mrs. Dannefer uses the whit...

Can’t Stop Eating Cheese Crackers topped with pecans

    
    Butter, cheese and toasted pecans—the combination is irrestible! Truthfully, the only difficult thing about Erabell Vindenberg’s Cheese Cornelias recipe is trying to stop eating them.
     I have several cheese cracker recipes but this one ranks top-of-the-list. Years ago when Barry first started teaching Art at Solomon High School, the principal’s wife (Erabell Vindenberg) asked him to do a pottery presentation for a local club group. His payment—a whole tinful of Cheese Cornelias.  
     Luckily there were a few of the tender, flakey and extremely flavorable morsels left when he returned home. And, of course, Erabell was more than willing to share this recipe and we have a conversation about her everytime I make these. 

Cheese Cornelias    Makes 72 (1 ¾”) cheese crackers
½ lb. (2 sticks) butter, partially soft & cut into chunks – Eraball’s recipe called for margarine or butter; I always use butter
8 oz. block of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups all-purpose flour
Egg – mix with about 1 tablespoon of water
Whole pecans
Kosher salt
  1. Using a mixer, cut butter and cheese into flour; mix just until mixture begins to leave the sides of the bowl, forming a ball.
    Ingredients at the beginning of step 1 — mixing.
    This is what mixture looks like about midway -- ingredients are breaking down but still rather dry looking at this point.
    Dough has come together and left the sides of the bowl.
  2. Divide dough into 3 or 4 portions; roll each out ⅛” thick and cut with cookie cutter. 
    This is about one fourth of the dough. A marble slab in ideal for rolling but any counter top or a cutting board should work, too.
  3. Place on ungreased cookie sheets (I like to cover the cookie with silion liners or parchment paper).
  4. Brush top of each cracker with beaten egg.  Put pecan on top.
    Crackers are arranged on a cookie sheet fitted with a silicon liner. They've been brushed with a beaten egg and most have been topped with a pecan.
  5. Bake in preheated 425° oven for 12 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle lightly with salt when they come out of the oven.
    Just out of the oven.
    Cooling on racks.
    Ready to eat! I've arranged them in a seasonal, leaf-shaped antique dish. 
Recipe without photos . . .
Cheese Cornelias    Makes 72 (1 ¾”) cheese crackers
½ lb. (2 sticks) butter, partially soft & cut into chunks – Eraball’s recipe called for margarine or butter; I always use butter
8 oz. block of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups all-purpose flour
Egg – mix with about 1 tablespoon of water
Whole pecans
Kosher salt
  1. Using a mixer, cut butter and cheese into flour; mix just until mixture begins to leave the sides of the bowl, forming a ball.
  2. Divide dough into 3 or 4 portions; roll each out ⅛” thick and cut with cookie cutter. 
  3. Place on ungreased cookie sheets (I like to cover the cookie with silion liners or parchment paper).
  4. Brush top of each cracker with beaten egg.  Put pecan on top.
  5. Bake in preheated 425° oven for 12 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle lightly with salt when they come out of the oven.