The leaves are changing to lovely shades of gold and crimson. The air is crisp and cool. Fall is definitely here! I have already taken advantage of the tastes of fall: pumpkin, apples, lots of spices, this blog adds a few more fall-icous recipes.
On Saturdays our routine includes going to the farmers market and the public library. I always check out a few cookbooks, and I look over them in the evenings - it helps me relax :). This week one of the books I checked out was Williams Sonoma Bride and Groom Cookbook. The very first recipe was for Vanilla-Pear muffins and I just happened to have a basket full of pears - it was destiny! I altered their recipe slightly.
3 T. Sugar
1/2 t. Cinnamon
2 C. Flour (I used a mixture of all purpose, whole wheat flour, and flax seed meal)
1/2 C. Sugar
2 t. Cinnamon
1 t. Nutmeg
2 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Kosher Salt
1/4 C. oil
1/4 C. applesauce
3/4 C. buttermilk or sour milk
2 t. vanilla
3 Ripe but firm Pears (I used a combination of red and Bartlet) peeled and diced
1/2 C. Walnuts, chopped
Preheat the over to 375 degrees. Combine the topping ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients expect the pears and nuts. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together, just until combined (a rubber spatula is best for this). Fold in the pears and nuts. Line or spray a muffin pan. Fill each cup and sprinkle with the topping mixture. Bake 25-30 minutes.
**I got 12 muffins plus to 2 mini-loafs out of this recipe.
I also made some apple butter, which brought back many sweet memories of my granny. I love homemade jelly and homemade apple butter, and granny is my source. In case you don't know apple butter has no butter in it, it is a thick sweet spicy apple sauce that you eat like a jam. I mainly drew from the recipe on the closet cooking blog (http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/2008/03/apple-butter.html).
Super Duper Simple Apple Butter:
10 Apples, peeled and sliced (I used Gala)
3/4-1C. Sugar (depending on the sweetness of your apples)
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 C. apple juice/cider or water
In a large saucepan over low heat combine all the ingredients. Let simmer until the apples are very tender (beginning to fall apart), and most of the liquid has evaporated leaving behind a thick dark brown syrup. Puree everything in a food processor until you have a nice smooth mixture. Mine filled up a 42 ounce jar.
This apple butter is great spread on the pear muffins, or biscuits, or toast, or straight out of the jar!
Happy Fall Everyone!