Apple Pecan Muffins

Apple Pecan Muffins

Apple Pecan Muffins set in a row on a wooden serving dish with a background of green apples.

Apple Pecan Muffins

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There is definitely a chill settling in, making it the best time to bake up warm Apple Pecan Muffins. These lovely, tender muffins are packed with apple and warm fall spices, making them perfect with your morning tea or coffee.

Apple Pecan Muffins scooped in tins and ready for baking.

It’s the grated apple in this recipe that makes them tender and delicious. Shredding the apple allows for even distribution throughout the batter better than chunks and creates a moist and tender muffin. These muffins are also nicely plumped and studded with pecans. There is enough batter to fill the muffin tins very full, so don’t be skimpy. You’ll want to add about a third of a cup of batter to each muffin tin. You can use paper liners or scoop the batter into a generously buttered pan. But know that if using paper liners, you must let the muffins cool completely before removing the liner or the muffin will stick to it. Buttered tins work just as well, and you’ll be able to eat them slightly warm out of the pan.

A close up of Apple Pecan Muffins served on a striped napkin with a background of green apples.

You’ll want to try these muffins with my Pumpkin Spice Honey Butter for a real treat. It’s a great combination and a blast of fall spice to help keep the chill away. Enjoy!

Want more muffins?

Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins

Pumpkin Seed and Nut Muffins

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

 

A close up of Apple Pecan Muffins served on a striped napkin with a background of green apples.
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Apple Pecan Muffins

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 medium granny smith apples, peeled and grated about 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans Optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and set oven rack to the middle position.
  • Generously butter 12 non-stick muffin tins or line with paper liners.
  • In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and allspice. Set aside.
  • Melt butter and cream together with both sugars. Whisk in eggs one at a time until incorporated and light in texture. Stir in vanilla.
  • Add 1/3 of the milk and then 1/3 of the flour mixture whisking to combine. Repeat, alternating the milk and flour. Stir in grated apples and chopped pecans.
  • Scoop the batter evenly between the prepared muffin tins using approximately 1/3 cup of batter for each. The tins will be quite full.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 400°F and then reduce the temperature to 350°F for an additional 8-10 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Notes

-muffins baked with paper liners need to cool completely before trying to peel off the paper and prevent them from sticking to the paper.
-the chopped pecans are optional.

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Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas

Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas

Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas

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Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas are on regular rotation in my house. They’re not only quick and easy but tasty, family-approved and customizable. I like to use cheddar cheese and load mine up with fresh cilantro. But Monterey jack, spicy Mexican blend, or mozzarella cheese are also great options. Go ahead and be adventurous with the toppings too. Sour cream and salsa are always family favourites but also try diced avocado, taco sauce, pickled jalapeños, green onion…and the list goes on. But that’s what makes it fun and perfect for the whole family.

There’s a huge variety of tortillas available too. I like the flour and corn blend while my husband prefers plain flour. These are the basic options, you may want to try a multigrain, garden vegetable or sun-dried tomato tortilla. Again, there are lots of options to please everyone.

Sauteed beef, onions and green peppers in a cast iron skillet in preparation for Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas.
Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas ready to be folded in a skillet.

The black beans extend the ground beef, making these budget-friendly too. You can easily cut back on the ground beef further and sub in a few more black beans. I like just enough to give a little texture, fibre and added nutrition. I use drained and rinsed canned black beans out of convenience but you can certainly cook your own dried beans, which will reduce the cost further. Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas are a great weeknight meal for the whole family no matter how you stack them up. You’ll want them on regular rotation, enjoy!

Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas cut and stacked three high on a wooden plate, garnished with cilantro and lime.

Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas cut and stacked three high on a wooden plate, garnished with cilantro and lime.
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Beef and Black Bean Quesadillas

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp canola oil plus more for tortillas
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp taco seasoning or 35g pkg
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup canned black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup corn niblets
  • 4 10" tortillas
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese about 8 ounces
  • as needed chopped fresh cilantro optional
  • as needed salsa optional
  • as needed sour cream optional

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a medium skillet, add beef and cook until just starting to brown, breaking up larger pieces as it cooks. Drain or dab out any excess fat.
  • Add green pepper, onion and garlic. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until vegetables start to soften and beef is fully browned and cooked through.
  • Stir in water, taco season, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium until liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
  • Stir in black beans and corn and heat until warm. Adjust salt to taste.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and drizzle in 1/2 tsp of oil. Add one tortilla and sprinkle the entire tortilla with 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces). Spread approximately 1 cup of beef mixture evenly over half of the cheese-covered tortilla.
  • Allow to cook until the bottom of the tortilla is golden and the cheese is melted. Fold the tortilla in half and press gently to hold it together. Remove to a cutting board and cut into 3 wedges. Repeat with remaining tortillas and serve immediately with your favourite garnishes like sour cream and salsa.

Notes

-

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Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas garnished with blueberries and mint sit on a white cake tray decorated with blue flowers.

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

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Where the heck is spring??  As I write this it is literally -15°C.  I think global warming has skipped over us here in Alberta.  But these bright and cheery Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas are sure to brighten and warm any day.  Crisp yet chewy pavlova nests are filled with lemon curd and whipped cream filling.  They are lovely topped with fresh berries such as blueberry or raspberry and perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day. 

Mini pavlova nests piped onto a baking tray lined with parchment and ready to be baked for Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas.

Sadly, with the way the world is these days, most of us may not be having much of a family gathering at Easter.  It will most likely be a modest meal with homebound family members and chats throughout the weekend with family and friends on Facetime or Skype. And this is okay because it’s what we need to do right now to keep everyone safe. As for this beautiful dessert, perhaps it will have to wait for another special occasion. Maybe Mother’s Day, bridal shower or what the heck, how about the first day of summer! There are always reasons to celebrate, so you’ll want to bookmark this recipe.

Lemon curd for Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas in a small glass bowl that is resting on a blue and white cloth.

Here are a few helpful hints for this recipe:

-make sure your mixing bowl is very clean (grease will hinder a great meringue).

-use egg whites that are at room temperature (warm egg whites incorporate more air than cold ones).

-you can grind granulated sugar for about 10 seconds using a mini grinder if castor sugar is not available.

-stick the parchment to the baking tray with a few dabs of meringue to prevent it from moving while piping.

-place the tray on a damp towel to prevent the tray from moving while piping.

-don’t open the oven door until it has completely cooled as the warm dry air inside helps to dry out the meringues without further cooking.

-baked meringues will keep several days in an airtight container at room temperature.

-add filling to the meringue nests when ready to serve or up to a couple hours in advance. Adding it more than a couple of hours ahead will cause the meringues to soften too much.

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas sit on a white cake tray in the background while one is served on a while dessert plate and garnished with blueberries and mint.

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    8 people 30-40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    80 minutes 1+ hours
    Servings Prep Time
    8 people 30-40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    80 minutes 1+ hours
    Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      8 people 30-40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      80 minutes 1+ hours
      Servings Prep Time
      8 people 30-40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      80 minutes 1+ hours
      Ingredients
      Mini Pavlovas
      Lemon Cream
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      Mini Pavlovas
      1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment and mark out 8-3" circles. Flip parchment over.
      2. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip until soft peaks are starting to form. Gradually add sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to whip on high speed until stiff and glossy, about 6-7 minutes using a stand mixer.
      3. Add vanilla and whip to combine.
      4. Sift cornstarch over the meringue and fold to combine.
      5. Fit a large piping bag with your desired tip, I used a Wilton 1M.
      6. Fill the piping bag with meringue and squeeze a dab of meringue onto the corners of the parchment to stick it to the baking tray. This will help keep the parchment from moving while you pipe. Place the baking tray on a slightly damp kitchen towel to prevent the tray from moving. Fill in the traced circle, creating a base. Continue to pipe along the edge of the base for two turns, creating a basket.
      7. Place the tray in the oven on the middle rack and immediately turn oven temperature to 225°F. Bake for 80 minutes, turn off the oven and allow meringues to remain undisturbed in the oven until completely cool. Meringues will be firm and hollow sounding with a slight bit of tackiness and chew in the bottom layer.
      Lemon Cream
      1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 7-8 minutes. Whisk in butter until smooth.
      2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before covering with plastic wrap directly on the surface. Allow to cool completely and chill until ready to use.
      3. When ready to assemble pavlovas, which should be no more than 2 hours in advance, whip heavy cream until stiff. Fold whipped cream into lemon curd and fill meringues generously. Top with fresh blueberries and serve.
      Recipe Notes

      -Using egg whites at room temperature will result in more volume.

      -If unable to use castor or superfine sugar, simply grind regular granulated sugar in a mini coffee grinder for about 10 seconds.  Even this is not true castor sugar, it breaks down the sugar enough for better absorption into the meringue.

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Tomato Bisque

      Tomato Bisque

      Tomato Bisque with crutons served in a shallow blue bowl resting on a wooden board draped with a striped napkin.

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      Today’s post is a blog update on my Tomato Bisque. Because the weather is frightful right now in central Alberta, it seemed like the perfect time to do a little tidy up on this gorgeous soup. This Tomato Bisque is creamy and luscious, even with only a small amount of cream. It’s thickened with rice, making it a great gluten-free option.

      The creaminess and tang are the perfect marriage with crunchy cheese toast or buttery croutons. I won’t hesitate to say that when you make this soup, you will have tremendous satisfaction from your efforts because it’s so much better than store-bought soup. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing you’re feeding your family wholesome goodness.

      Traditional French bisque is made using ground crustacean shells and thickened with rice. The term is used loosely today and can refer to anything pureed such as tomatoes or squash. Most varieties are finished with cream as is this one. Enjoy!

      Tomato Bisque with crutons served in a shallow blue bowl resting on a wooden board draped with a striped napkin.

      Author: Compelled to Cook, adapted from Chef John of Food Wishes

      Tomato Bisque with crutons served in a shallow blue bowl resting on a wooden board draped with a striped napkin.
      Tomato Bisque
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        4-6 people 20 minutes
        Cook Time
        30-50 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        4-6 people 20 minutes
        Cook Time
        30-50 minutes
        Tomato Bisque with crutons served in a shallow blue bowl resting on a wooden board draped with a striped napkin.
        Tomato Bisque
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          4-6 people 20 minutes
          Cook Time
          30-50 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          4-6 people 20 minutes
          Cook Time
          30-50 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          1. Melt butter in a large heavy pot, add onions, celery and garlic and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes until the vegetables become translucent.
          2. Add the tomatoes, stock, paprika, sugar and rice and cook until the rice is very soft, at least 30 minutes.
          3. Blend with a handheld immersion blender until smooth. Stir in heavy cream and season with salt and pepper.
          Recipe Notes

          I used homemade chicken stock and used 1 1/2 tsp of salt. The amount of salt will depend on the stock/broth used, so season to taste.

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          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
          Minty Hot Chocolate

          Minty Hot Chocolate

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          You will want to give up the powdery store-bought hot chocolate mix for this creamy and rich Minty Hot Chocolate. It takes only a few quality ingredients and 10 minutes to have a warming mug of chocolatey goodness. Milk and cream get a gentle simmer on the stove before bittersweet chocolate and mint flavouring are added for an amazing hot chocolate. This lovely version is not too sweet and perfect topped with lightly whipped cream.

          A blue mug overflowing with chocolate chips and garnished with red and white candy canes for Minty Hot Chocolate.

          It’s great for kids and adults alike and makes me want to strap on my skates and go down to the rink on the lake. In past years, we’ve had a self-made lake ice rink at my mother-in-laws and she would often bring down a tray of hot chocolate. One year I remember well because the ice froze very flat with little to no snow which allowed us to see the fish swimming below as we skated above. It was wonderful fun and a good way to enjoy time with friends and family. Make this Minty Hot Chocolate your delicious way to warm up after a day of outdoor activities. Enjoy!

          Minty Hot Chocolate with whipped cream in blue mugs resting on a white tray lined with a checkered blue and white napkin.

          Minty Hot Chocolate with whipped cream in blue mugs resting on a white tray lined with a checkered blue and white napkin.
          Minty Hot Chocolate
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            1 litre 10 minutes
            Cook Time
            7 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            1 litre 10 minutes
            Cook Time
            7 minutes
            Minty Hot Chocolate with whipped cream in blue mugs resting on a white tray lined with a checkered blue and white napkin.
            Minty Hot Chocolate
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              1 litre 10 minutes
              Cook Time
              7 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              1 litre 10 minutes
              Cook Time
              7 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: litre
              Instructions
              1. Whip half a cup of heavy cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Keep chilled until ready to use.
              2. In a small saucepan combine milk, remaining heavy cream, and sugar. Whisk over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in peppermint extract.
              3. Divide among serving mugs and top with whipped cream and a candy cane.

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              I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com