Friday, November 12, 2010

Panettone Muffins ~

Who hasn't wished for an easier way to make panettone at Christmas time? Well, maybe you haven't, but it would be good to have something delicious and not so difficult, wouldn't it? This morning, I'm going to give you a recipe that you may make into a yearly Christmas treat. Here's what the King Arthur Flour people say about these muffins: "These tender, golden muffins mimic the flavor of Italy's classic Christmas bread, panettone." It makes any holiday special to have tasty treats to look forward to eating. See what you think of these muffins and decide whether they're worthy of your holiday menu. 

Recipe Summary

Hands-on time: 15-20 minutes
Baking time: 18-20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 33 minutes unless you decide to soak the dried fruit overnight.
Yield: 12 muffins

Here are some tips to help with the process:
1) If you don't want to use the microwave to hydrate your dried fruit, simply mix it with the liquid, cover, and let it rest at room temperature overnight.
2) Using 1/8 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia ("Flowers of Sicily)"--a flavor combination of citrus and vanilla) will give you a mild hint of flavor; 1/4 teaspoon will be much more assertive.
3) A good choice of dried fruit: diced apricots, raisins, pineapple cubes, chopped dates, and sweetened cranberries.

Panettone Muffins

1 1/2 cups diced dried fruit
1/4 cup apple juice, orange juice, rum, or a mixture
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons King Arthur Cake Enhancer, optional, for enhanced freshness
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-purpose Flour
2/3 cup milk
2 generous tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar for topping

1) Mix the dried fruit and liquid of your choice in a bowl. Cover the bowl, and let the fruit sit overnight. Or speed up the process by heating fruit and liquid in the microwave till very hot, then cooling to lukewarm/room temperature, about 1 hour.

2) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Or line with 12 paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.

3) In medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth.

4) Add the eggs, beating to combine.

5) Stir in the Fiori and vanilla.

6) Whisk together the Cake Enhancer, baking powder, salt and flour. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.

7) Stir in the fruit, with any remaining liquid.

8) Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups quite full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins generously with the coarse sugar.

9) Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until they're a sunny gold color on top, and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.

10) Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them. Transfer them to a rack to cool.

Yield: 12 muffins.

Now if you find reading the recipe off a blog is harder than you care to deal with, go to the King Arthur Flour web site and they will have a print version of this recipe. And if you want to use the Fiori di Sicilia rather than just vanilla, you can get it from them. No, King Arthur Flour doesn't pay me to use so many of their recipes! I simply think they have the best baking ideas of anyone out there.

You'll be happy to know that my word count on my novel is at almost 16,500 words. It's quite an interesting venture and I never know where my mind is going to go next. I'm just hoping that it's a worthwhile project for me. From what other people have said from having done it in previous years, it is definitely worth doing even if nothing ever comes of it.

Have a wonderful Friday and a good weekend!

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