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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cleaning Out the Pantry

Lately I've been coming across a lot of recipes that call for a lot of ingredients.  Usually I find ingredient heavy recipes to be well, a lot of work.  But these days I'm all about the ingredients because I'm all about using up what's in my pantry.

The thing about my pantry is that while it isn't very big, it's a lot bigger than it used to be.  As you may recall, about a year ago, I converted a coat closet into a pantry.  At the time I felt as though I had unlimited space.  But the new pantry has slowly reached capacity and now it doesn't feel quite so large.

Kate was still asleep on Saturday morning when Ted I were deciding what to have for breakfast.  I had some time to burn, since "princess" had informed me on Friday night that she was sleeping until at least 10:30 a.m.  While Ted and I certainly weren't waiting for her for breakfast, I didn't feel too rushed either.  So, I got out this recipe for Cranberry Harvest Muffins and set to work.

I had been eyeing this recipe for some time but on Saturday the stars aligned and I actually had all of the ingredients in my somewhat over stuffed pantry.  I even had hazelnuts, although I have no recollection why I bought them in the first place.  Same goes for the dried figs.  I told you.  The pantry was on serious overload.

The muffins were easy enough to make and they were so yummy that I was glad I made the effort.  The toasted hazelnuts gave them a nice little crunch, and I'm all for a nice little crunch.

And as an added bonus, I cleared out a few precious inches of shelf space.  Who knows how long that will last.

Recipe:  Cranberry Harvest Muffins
(Recipe courtesy Open House Cookbook by Sarah Chase, and as reprinted in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999)

Makes 18 large muffins


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 extra-large eggs
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup medium-diced Calimyrna figs
3/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the milk, eggs, and melted butter. Stir quickly just to combine. Add the cranberries, figs, hazelnuts, and both sugars and stir just to distribute the fruits, nuts, and sugar evenly throughout the batter.

Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned on the top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.