PUMPKIN MUFFINS

This is another recipe from the Doxie Greenspan meme I belonged to several years ago. This is another of my favorites that is perfect for this time of year.

PUMPKIN MUFFINS
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground allspice
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
about 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, for topping

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Butter, spray or line 12 cupcake molds in a regular-size pan.
  • Place the pan on a baking sheet.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  • Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft. Add both the sugars and continue to beat until light and smooth.
  • One by one, add the eggs, beating for a minute after they are incorporated, then beat in the vanilla.
  • Lower the mixer speed and mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients in a steady stream, mixing only until they disappear. To avoid over mixing, you can stop the machine early and stir in any remaining dry ingredients into the batter using a rubber spatula.
  • Stir in the raisins and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle a few sunflower seeds over the top of each muffin.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Kelly’s note: A lot of the TWD folks found that 25 minutes was too long, taking theirs out around 17 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove each one from its mold to finish cooling on the rack.

NOTE: Dried cranberries are an excellent substitution for the golden raisins in this recipe.

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MIMOSA CHICKEN ala BISCUIT HEAD with CAT HEAD BISCUITS

I LOVE watching cooking shows and LOL I will NOT apologize for that. If I learn just one thing or find one New recipe, it was worth my time. Watching the new Hannah Hart show the other night I learned about Biscuit Head in Asheville, North Carolina. It is said that locals and tourists alike flock there for their cathead (because they are the size of a cat’s head) biscuits, an all-you-can-eat jam and butter bar and their mimosa chicken, not to mention their fresh-squeezed mimosas and their sake-spiked bloody Marys.

I understand that husband and wife team, Jason and Carolyn Roy behind the popular cafe (which has opened two additional locations since the West Asheville spot opened in 2013) have written a new cook book, Biscuit Head New Southern Biscuits, Breakfasts, and Brunch where they reveal many of the recipes they are most popular for, including their Mimosa Fried Chicken recipe below.

THIS IS IT, the secret recipe for their phenomenal fried chicken. “While many think of chicken breasts when it comes to fried chicken, we say you can’t beat the chicken thigh. It is a more tender, moist, and flavorful cut—though if you really want to, you can substitute breast meat in this recipe. I made it with the thighs as they wrote it, but will be replacing it with breasts next time, we just prefer them.

BISCUIT HEAD MIMOSA CHICKEN Makes 4 servings

BRINE
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups orange juice
¼ cup champagne

  • Mix together all of the ingredients for the brine, Stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved, then place the chicken into the brine.
  • Cover and chill in the fridge overnight.

CHICKEN
4 large boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 quart vegetable oil
2 cups Biscuit Head Dredge (see below)

  • In large pot preheat your oil to 335°.
  • While your oil is heating up, remove the chicken from the brine and shake off any excess liquid.
  • Completely coat the chicken in the dredge by shaking in a Ziplock bag. Let the chicken thighs rest for 3 minutes in the dredge bag, then give them one more good shake in the dredge to make sure that they’re fully coated.
  • Carefully place each piece of chicken into the hot oil and fry, cooking for about 10 minutes should get the chicken right where you want it. You are looking for a nice golden crust and an internal temperature of 162°F.
  • Remove the chicken from the oil and place on a wire rack to rest a few minutes—serve it while it’s hot!

DREDGE
8 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground smoked paprika
½ tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • Sift everything together and mix well.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to one year.

NOTE:  This recipe can also be cooked in a cast-iron skillet on the stove top. Use lard if you go this route and use enough that the melted lard comes up at least halfway on what you’re cooking.  The goal is to flip just once.

CLASSIC CAT HEAD BISCUITS yields: 6 large biscuits or 8-10 smaller one
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 ½ cups King Arthur cake flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
8 tablespoons butter, cubed into small pieces and well chilled
2 cups whole buttermilk

  • Preheat your oven to 375°.
  • Adjust oven racks to center of oven.
  • Grease a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet (pan spray works fine).
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift together both flours, salt, and the baking powder.
  • Gradually add the butter. DO NOT let the butter to melt or soften in your hand. You do want the butter to release steam as the biscuit cooks. That steam adds to the airiness and lightness of your final biscuit product.
  • Add the buttermilk and stir very gently to fold it in. DO NOT over mix!
  • Using an ice cream scoop, Scoop the dough onto your pan or skillet, making sure to keep the dough scoops right next to each other on the pan.
  • Bake the biscuits for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and fluffy.

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