Showing posts with label fall recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fall recipes. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pumpkin Muffin Tops from Cleo Coyle

I am not ashamed to say it. I am a lover of muffin tops. The kind you eat and the other kind, because mangia means love in Italian and love handles make it easier to hold on to the ones you love.

Of course, as a writer, I spend most of the day sitting on my assets. So, while I love indulging for the holidays (butter and I have a longstanding relationship), when it comes to daily eating, I'm always looking for recipes that taste good but aren't crazy-high in calories. This recipe does that for me. 

At the start of the week, I'll make a double batch of these babies and store them in the fridge. Each day I'll pop two in the microwave, spread a little butter on top, pour a fresh cup of coffee (of course!), and I'm good to start writing.

Cleo's Pumpkin 

Muffin Tops

Here is a lighter, healthier alternative to fried doughnuts or syrup-laden pancakes yet just as filling and satisfying with a hot cuppa joe, and it has the added nutrition and fiber of pumpkin...

Servings: about 12 muffin tops


2 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour 

NOTE: For higher, prettier muffin tops, you can increase the flour by 1/4 cup, but in my opinion they don't taste as good.


(1) One bowl mixing method: Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Place eggs in bowl and whisk. Add oil, milk, canned pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt. Whisk until blended. Finally, sift in baking powder and flour. 

NOTE: Sifting the flour lightens it for better rising and texture. Sift after measuring for correct amount. Stir well to blend in the flour. Batter should be smooth but don't over mix. Now chill that batter for 15 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator. This batter really needs to rest and hydrate for best results.

(2) Prep pan and drop: For best results, line baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop batter onto baking sheet, about 2 tablespoons per muffin top (simply drop one tablespoon of batter right on top of the other). These will double in size so leave room between. On the 2nd batch, allow pan to cool before dropping batter or tops will spread too flat.

(3) Bake: Oven should be well pre-heated to 425° F. Bake muffin tops about 10 to 12 minutes (depending on oven). Rounds will rise slightly in center, resembling muffin tops. Serve warm with butter or dust with powdered sugar. Do not allow muffin tops to cool on hot pan. Bottoms may steam and become tough. Be sure to store in refrigerator (either wrapped in plastic or placed in an airtight container).


Pumpkin pie spice can be found wherever other spices are sold. Spice mixes like this (and apple pie spice) are good to keep in mind when looking for economical shortcuts to your holiday baking. If you would rather not use pre-made pumpkin pie spice, here are the ingredients to mix your own...

For 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice mix...

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ginger 
1/8 teaspoon allspice or cloves 
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
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Visit my online coffeehouse here.

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Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

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The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


(with mini plot summaries)

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Plumcott and peach skillet cake, with bourbon, whipped cream and maple syrup

From Victoria Abbott aka Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini

It’s Fall, the bright leaves are scattering and we’re indoors already, thinking that warm, rich comforting desserts are what we want.  I love to make plum cakes and have brought my ‘regular’ one to Mystery Lovers Kitchen, but this weekend on the roll-up to Canadian Thanksgiving (Monday!) I decided to try something different. I’d found a nice recipe for peach cake with a maple bourbon sauce. Then next to the peaches were some lovely plump and juicy plumcots, all ready to go.  I decided to mix it up a bit. 

The recipe called for maple syrup and I’d just stocked up on a lovely, dark syrup from a local family producer. It also called for buttermilk and I had lots of buttermilk frozen in convenient ½ cup servings. I had a wonderful new vanilla extract to try. The recipe used a cast-iron skillet and I had one that was more than ready for an outing. It was meant to be!

In fact, I had everything except the bourbon. I knew I could make the cake without bourbon and serve it up with just maple syrup or just whipped cream or both, but I had to find out how this tasted. 

But back to my story: in our village, there was a selection of exactly one choice of bourbon. They tried to tell me that Tennessee whiskey was really the same (Please wade in on this issue, friends!). I stuck to my guns and left with the only bourbon. At home, I discovered that I only needed a quarter cup.

It was lovely! And it will be a dessert for Thanksgiving here as well.  Too good to waste. 
All to say, the combination of bourbon, dark maple syrup and Madagascar vanilla was a potent one.  And you can expect to find a few more recipes here using each of them over the next few months. 

Plumcott and peach skillet cake

All you need is:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tsp sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 ripe peaches, sliced
2 ripe plumcots, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup maple syrup, medium or dark
1/4 cup bourbon
Whipping cream

All you do is:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and 1/2 cup sugar and beat at medium speed until light. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix gently a few times. Add dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, and mix until just combined. Transfer batter to a well-greased cast-iron or ovenproof pan.

 Arrange peach and plumcot slices and sprinkle with lemon juice and remaining sugar. 


Bake for 35 minutes or until cake is set and edges are brown. Don’t over

bake or it will be dry.  

Serve warm or cool, but warm is really great!

Meanwhile, in a saucepan on the stove top, heat your maple syrup. I cooked it for a while to thicken it, although it's still fairly runny. Remove from heat and add the elusive bourbon. Bring back to a simmer and cook for a minute or two. 

Serve with whipped cream and syrup!  Or by all by itself.  

Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between Victoria and Mary Jane Maffini. They like desserts.

Victoria and MJ  have lots to give thanks for this year, including good food and this dessert.  

We're thankful that we are all well again. We're thankful we have access to great food, family and terrific friends. We are grateful that Victoria Abbott has had a good year. The Wolfe Widow is off to a roaring start and that there will be two more Book Collector mysteries.  

We are thankful for the joy our pets bring us.


We can sit back and enjoy our meal!   

You can get your copy of THE WOLFE WIDOW 




Or  Your favorite Indie bookstore!

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