I don't know what's up with my thing for raspberries lately. It's almost Thanksgiving and I'm still using a summer berry. I try to buy seasonal and local produce whenever I can and I'll admit that occasional cravings will override my good intentions. Raspberries should be out of season, but the container says they're from California. Even so, I felt slightly guilty for buying them. Just because they can grow them during the off season doesn't mean that they'll actually taste good. This was definitely the case with these raspberries. They looked good but they turned out to be bland. So instead of tossing them into the compost bin, I used them in these quick and easy cream cheese muffins. Right before adding them to my muffin batter I sprinkled a bit of sugar over my raspberries to add a bit of sweetness. I normally use a dollop of fruit preserves to top the muffins, but any fresh or frozen fruit will work just as well.
On a separate note, I want to apologize for my lack of posting lately. I haven't really been baking much during the last couple weeks. I spent most of this weekend preparing for Thanksgiving. Deciding on the menu, cleaning the house, washing the platters, serving bowls, and fancy glasses. I've done most of my grocery shopping and I just need to pickup the turkey and some sourdough bread for stuffing. I made a gigantic vat of turkey stock, a "scarborough fair" herb shallot butter for my turkey and a chunky cranberry sauce. The cheeses have been grated for the spinach gratin and I also made enough pie dough for my pecan tart and pumpkin pie. I still haven't decided if I'm going to make a third dessert. I'll see how I'm feeling later in the week. I still have a lot of chopping, slicing, brining, cooking and baking until T-day so I'll leave you now with a wish for a wonderful Thanksgiving! Have a happy and healthy one!
Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins
(adapted from Better Homes and Garden Nov 1997)
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened at room temp
4 ounces (8tbsp/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
10 ounces raspberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 24 (approximately 3.5 fluid ounce capacity) muffin wells (or use paper cupcake liners).
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, sugar and zest until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat 1 minute.
On low speed, add half of flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Mix in milk and then add remaining flour. Mix until just combined.
Divide batter among prepared muffin wells. Place 3 or 4 raspberries on top of each. (If your raspberries are not sweet enough, toss them with a bit of sugar before using.)
Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes. Cool. If desired, dust with powdered sugar before serving.