Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Easy and healthy, this perfectly spiced pumpkin quick bread is made with fresh cranberries! It is the best fall treat. 🙂

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread - this easy, healthy quick breadis the best fall treat! Recipe via thepajamachef.comAs deep as my love for pumpkin is, my love for cranberries–FRESH cranberries–is almost just as great. There’s just something about that tartness that is super appealing to me! Every fall, you can find me raiding the produce section at my grocery store, filling my freezer with bags of fresh cranberries just in case a craving for fresh cranberry relish strikes in mid-March, when nary a bag of cranberries can be found. The fact that most of those bags get used up the following fall is something that I hope my husband doesn’t notice… but truthfully, he probably does [especially since we moved this year and had to empty our fridge/freezer entirely in the process. But that’s a subject for another day, right?!]. I was a Girl Scout back in the day and fully believe in being prepared.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread - this easy, healthy quick breadis the best fall treat! Recipe via thepajamachef.comBeing prepared is always a good thing when it leads you to the kitchen where a slice of this lovely pumpkin cranberry bread is waiting! This bread is everything that fall should be–filled with warm spices, a little indulgence, and a hint of crisp tartness. Mmm, my mouth is just watering at the thought of this bread… even though it’s long gone. #mustmakeanotherloafsoon

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread - this easy, healthy quick breadis the best fall treat! Recipe via thepajamachef.comI always go back and forth between whether butter or oil makes the best quick bread or muffins. It really just depends, I think. I have favorite recipes in each category, but usually they call for quite a bit. Not this recipe! The three tablespoons of oil below is definitely not a typo–that oil, combined with yogurt, eggs, and pumpkin provides the perfect base for this quick bread. If fresh cranberries aren’t your thing [tear!], stirring in some dried cranberries or even chopped apples would be divine! For the chocaholics, try this recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins–you won’t regret it! Enjoy!

one year ago: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins
two years ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
three years ago: Pollo alla Poggia Alloro [Roasted Chicken]
four years ago: Homemade Maple & Brown Sugar Almond Butter
five years ago: Pumpkin Soup & Homemade Croutons

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

  • Servings: 12 slices
  • Time: 75 minutes
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from The Sweets Life

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour [or 1 cup whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup all-purpose]
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 7 1/2 ounces pumpkin puree [half of a 15 ounce can, about 1 cup]
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla yogurt [applesauce could probably work too]
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Stir together flour, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.

With a mixer, beat together sugar, pumpkin, eggs, canola oil, yogurt, and milk. Fold in flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in cranberries.

Transfer batter to the prepared pan, then bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don’t overbake! Cool completely before cutting–you can let cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before loosening with a knife and inverting on a wire rack. Store covered at room temperature for up to three days. This bread also freezes great!

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Cupcake Day: Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream

Sweet spiced apple cupcakes paired with a tart cranberry buttercream. Two fall flavors in one mini cupcake bite! With just a few special ingredients you can have some extraordinary cupcakes!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

Before I forget… go say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my baby sister. 🙂 How convenient that I’m posting a cupcake recipe today, huh? Here we are 25 years ago! Aww.

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

The best things come in small packages, I think [see above?!], and mini cupcakes and muffins are no exception. They’re pretty much my favorite things ever! I hadn’t made mini cupcakes in wayyy too long, so when Coleen of The Redhead Baker announced her celebration of cupcakes this fall, I KNEW mini cupcakes would be my contribution. And after much deliberation, I decided to make apple cupcakes. But what to top them with?

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

One of my Nashville friends has her own baking business and recently brought some sample cupcakes to our Bible study. She topped her apple cupcakes with a salted caramel buttercream, which was delicious, but I didn’t want to be a copycat. 🙂 Cinnamon buttercream also sounded good too, but then my favorite applesauce variation came to mind. Ben and I love swirling cranberry sauce into homemade applesauce, so I thought a nice tart cranberry buttercream may be the way to go. And ohhh my–it is!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

Multiple strong, overly sweet flavors don’t always work for cupcakes in my book. So I like to keep either the cake or the frosting on the simple side, and really play up the other. The cake portion of these cupcakes are just a subtle, spiced apple flavor. I grated the apples to add some texture and fresh apple. I normally love small chunks of apple in cake and muffins, but the grated texture works better in mini cupcakes, imo. Then the frosting. Ohhh the frosting!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

The cranberry buttercream is stunning, isn’t it? It’s naturally that bright, bold shade of pink, and each bite is better than the last. This buttercream is sweet, with a fantastic cranberry-y tart aftertaste. Good thing this recipe makes a ton of buttercream… enough to keep in your fridge for a late night snack. 🙂 Seeing these pink seasonal cupcakes just makes me so happy! I wish I could bring some to share with you in real life today. Enjoy!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

Thanks for organizing this celebration of cupcakes, Coleen! Be sure to scroll down below the recipe to see lots of yummy cupcake recipes. Have a great Monday!!

four years ago: Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuits

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream

  • Servings: 32 mini cupcakes
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Ingredients:

for apple cupcakes from Chow

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded apples [2 medium Gala apples]
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour [156 1/4 grams]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 3 ounces buttermilk, room temperature

for cranberry buttercream from Baker By Nature

  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Begin by shredding the apples with a box grater or food processor. Then press apples through a fine mesh sieve to drain as much juice out as possible.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. With a mixer, beat butter for 2 minutes until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat for another two minutes. Add egg and buttermilk, then beat for another minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Then, fold in apples.

Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling just below the top of the cup.

Bake for 14-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Cool completely before frosting.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare buttercream. Begin by placing cranberries and lemon juice in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until cranberries pop and can be mashed easily. Mixture will look like a thick cranberry jam. Remove from heat, and working in batches, press mixture through a fine mesh sieve to separate the puree from the seeds/skin. This may be time consuming but is worth it. Cover and refrigerate puree to chill.

When ready to frost cupcakes, beat butter on medium-high for 2 minutes, until very smooth. Add in cold cranberry puree and beat for another minute until fully combined. Add powdered sugar, cup by cup and beat until desired thickness is achieved. I used about 4 cups. Stir in vanilla, then pipe or frost as desired.

Pssst! Look at all these other delicious cupcake recipes that my friends made for Cupcake Day! Mmm!

Mystery Dish: Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies

Fudgy chocolate cookies made with greek yogurt! They’re strangely amazing! 🙂

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

Happy Mystery Dish Day! I know it’s Black Friday, but I refuse to brave the crowds and face American consumerism head-on. No material item is worth that craziness. Ugh, I’m not a crowds person at all. Just give me a good book, some tea, and a yummy snack like popcorn or cookies and I’m happy. And these cookies are AWESOME. They’re the perfect book-reading, movie-watching, game-playing companion. Super rich and chocolately with lots of tart cranberries and mini chocolate chips mixed in.

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

These Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies were a fun way to use up some ingredients that were selected by our hostess, Rebecca from Living Better Together. She asked us to make something amazing with at least three of the following ingredients: Hazelnuts, Pork Belly, Dark Chocolate, Cranberries, Bourbon, Red Potatoes, Pimento Cheese, Ginger, Yogurt, French Bread, Buckwheat, and Rice Krispies. I honestly don’t remember how I came up with the idea of making greek yogurt cookies, but a little googling later I realized they were actually a thing!

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

One fun element about them besides how awesome they taste is that they’re also made with no butter or oil… perfect for those times when you don’t have any on hand but want a cookie or when you’re trying to eat a lil healthier. Like after Thanksgiving, haha. I hope you had a great day celebrating with family and friends, btw!

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

I’m not going to lie–these cookies don’t have that soft and chewy texture of most addictive cookies. These cookies are soft and puffy, not quite muffin tops but close. What they lack in chewiness they make up for in flavor. I used both dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate in them [dark chocolate cocoa powder and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips], but you could certainly mix and match based on your tastes. I hope you enjoy them, and be sure to check out what my friends made for you too!

one year ago: Harvest Pear Crisp with Crystallized Ginger
two years ago: Teriyaki Meatball Bowls
three years ago: Thai Peanut Ginger Wings
four years ago: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce 

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies

  • Servings: 36
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Give Recipe

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8-12 ounces plain greek yogurt [I used nonfat but 2% or whole milk yogurt is also great]
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder [like Hershey’s Special Dark]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk egg, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 8 ounces plain greek yogurt together. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, adding up to another 4 ounces of greek yogurt if necessary if it’s too thick to stir. I used another 2 ounces but 4 seemed like too much. Fold in almost all of the chocolate chips and cranberries, reserving a few tablespoons to press on the top before baking.

Scoop cookie dough out [it will be thick] with a cookie dough scoop or two spoons. Place about 1-2 inches apart on baking sheets. They don’t spread so you can put them fairly close together. Since dough is so thick, it’s easiest to use multiple pans and scoop it all out at once. Afterwards, press down on tops of dough balls gently with a spoon, then dot with a few cranberries or chocolate chips.

Bake for 10 minutes, then cool on baking sheets a few minutes before cooling on a wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt while hot if desired.

 

See what other Mystery Dish gals made this month:

Gluten Free Chocolate Bourbon Hazelnut Cake from Living Better Together

Turtle Krispies Treats from I Dig Pinterest

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies from The Pajama Chef

Chewy Chocolate Hazelnut Granola Bars from I Want Crazy

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut English Toffee from Flavor the Moments

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cranberry Buttercrunch from Inspiration Kitchen

Skinny Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Hazelnut Fudge from Joyful Healthy Eats

Cranberry Hazelnut Crepe Cake from Blahnik Baker

Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats from The Smart Cookie Cook

Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes with Hazelnut Cookie Crust from The Well Floured Kitchen

Salted Hazelnut Scotcheroos from Yummy Healthy Easy

Cranberry Mint Relish + What To Do With All That Mint

A refreshing take on a traditional cranberry relish!

Cranberry Mint Relish + Ideas for Preserving Fresh Mint | thepajamachef.com

My favorite part of any holiday meal is the cranberry sauce. I’m picky about it though–it can’t be canned, and it can’t have nuts. I used to be a purist and only liked the traditional cranberry orange relish. But these gingered cranberry-apricot sauce and cranberry-pineapple sauce have opened up the doors for some experimentation. So this weekend, when I had a bag of cranberries in one hand and a ginormously huge mint plant in the other that had to be used up before the weather goes whacko this week, I thought, what the heck, and threw some mint in the mix. And you know what? It was pretty awesome. Adding mint to traditional cranberry relish seems pretty novel [but I’m sure others have done it] and it lends a little pop to this sweet-tart side dish. You should totally try it this fall! And it only takes a few minutes to make so you’ve got nothing to lose. 🙂

Cranberry Mint Relish + Ideas for Preserving Fresh Mint | thepajamachef.comAs for all the rest of that mint plant… quite a bit went into that jar of mint sugar on the left and those jars of mint extract on the right. There are tons of tutorials online for both delicacies, but I just layered fresh mint with sugar in one jar and have been shaking it once a day since Sunday. In about a week it’s supposed to be ready to enjoy. I can’t wait! And to make the mint extract I added vodka [eeeekkkkk] to mint that had been gently mashed in a mason jar. There’s a technical term for “mashed” but it’s escaping me at the moment. 🙂 Easy easy! My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I told him I needed some cheap alcohol for cooking. Hahaha. COOKING not drinking, haha don’t worry. That’s how you do things in homemade-everything-land. We’ll see how they turn out. I’ll have to give you guys an update, k? In the meantime, this cranberry mint relish is FAB so don’t wait til Thanksgiving to enjoy. I can’t wait to taste it on turkey!

one year ago: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce
two years ago: Carnitas
three years ago: Best Pancakes Ever
four years ago: Pumpkin French Toast Sandwich

Cranberry Mint Relish

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 5 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed and dried
  • 1 orange, scrubbed clean and cut into eighths
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Place cranberries, orange, mint, and 1/4 cup sugar in food processor. Pulse until processed to desired consistency. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to set flavors.

SRC: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

These sweet muffins swirled with cranberry compote and a delicious cream cheese center are the perfect afternoon snack!

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

Welcome to November’s Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned to Maxine’s blog, Why I Am Not Skinny. Maxine is a South African expat living in Brussels… two great places! I’ve been to South Africa for a few days when I was in Lesotho for part of a summer in college, and I would absolutely love to go back. On her blog, Maxine shares so many delicious recipes and restaurant recommendations. If/when I go to Brussels I will have to check out her blog again! Though I really wanted to make her Pea and Mint Risotto or Pumpkin Fritters, I settled on these Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins because I wanted a sweet treat. 🙂

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

I also kind of wanted to make these as a sort of redemption for Maxine, because her muffins didn’t come out quite as well as BBC’s picture. And I am SO glad I did. They were tangy and creamy and all sorts of deliciousness. Though they weren’t quite as simple as most muffins are–you have to make the cranberry compote and the cream cheese filling, they are well worth it. Next time [and there WILL be a next time] I think I’ll skip mashing the cranberries so as to have bigger chunks in the muffins, and I might reduce the temperature for baking down to 325 or 350 so they don’t brown quite as quickly. Some of my unpictured muffins definitely got a little dark. Maxine, I hope my muffins live up to your expectations! Thanks for a great recipe! 🙂

one year ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
two years ago: Pollo alla Poggia Alloro
three years ago: Homemade Maple and Brown Sugar Almond Butter
four years ago: Pumpkin Soup and Homemade Croutons

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Why I Am Not Skinny

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams/3.5 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 250 grams sugar/1 cup + 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 175 grams/6 ounces fresh cranberries [frozen can also be used, just add a splash of water or apple cider to help liquify]
  • 200 grams/26 tablespoons flour – UPDATED: I used this calculator to come up with this. When I made the recipe I used my kitchen scale and didn’t measure in tablespoons… I think the previous measurement I had here was wrong. So sorry about that!
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 ml canola oil [this is just between 1/4 and 1/3 cup]
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease well with cooking spray.

Beat together cream cheese with 2 tablespoons sugar. Place in refrigerator to chill until ready to use.

In a small saucepan, combine another 2 tablespoons sugar with 6 ounces fresh cranberries. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop. Then mash gently with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, vanilla, and almond extract. Fold in wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in cranberries. Do not overmix or else the batter will bleed.

Scoop batter–it will be thick–into prepared pan, about 1/2 to 2/3 way full. Do not overfill. Use a spoon to scoop a ball of cream cheese mixture into batter, pressing down gently. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Notes:
Some of my muffins spilled over the top of the muffin cups because I filled them too full, so don’t make that mistake.

Also, you may want to skip mashing the cranberries so the batter bleeds less.

Do not overbake–cheese may still seem a bit soft. If muffins are browning too much, cover with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking or reduce heat to 325 degrees F.

Be sure to check out all the other fun recipes made this week for the Secret Recipe Club below!