I don’t mind working. Writing, baking, blogging, these are things I love to do, so even though I pretty much never have a day truly off, it does not typically bother me. Every now and again, I do get a little restless, bored, or almost burnt out. Some days I just want to do something purely fun.
Practicality goes out the window. Frivolity is the name of the game. Maybe I go shopping or to a fashion show. Maybe there’s a musical or event that is calling my name. I get all dressed up, tell myself to stop worrying, and simply have a good time. But there are other days when the glamourizing process itself doesn’t seem like a whole lot of fun. Curlers making my head hurt, makeup that will be a pain to remove later, dresses with built in corsets, and my feet stuffed into high heels. Okay, so for the most part I love all of those things each and every time I get ready, but we’ve all had those days where we just want to stay home, for me they have to do with yucky weather more than anything.
Movies with Mom, video games, catching up on TiVo, reading. Those are the fun things that fill days at home. But when life is crazy and a day off is not possible, then I want to have fun in the kitchen. Baking is almost always fun, but when it’s your job, there are moments of frustration for sure. A few silly ingredients can make for a fun recipe and a fun day.
I’m not ashamed to admit I got really excited when I heard about those crazy holiday Pringle flavors. I had to get my hands on them. After stockpiling them without even a taste, sorry it’s probably my fault if you cannot find them, I’ve only tried the Cinnamon Sugar ones and have to admit they are kind of awesome. They taste like Pringles with a hint of cinnamon.
Instantly I wanted to make a streusel with them because why not? I took my all-time favorite, foolproof muffin recipe, made with pecans and my favorite Warren Pears from Frog Hollow Farm (if you think you don’t like pears, these will change your mind forever), and then topped them with a crazy streusel doctored up with Cinnamon Sugar Pringles.
The muffins themselves are moist, have great fall spices, and the pears add such lovely flavor. But that streusel, it’s a star. Moist and soft, with a bit of a granular texture, the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and oil coats the Pringle pieces, as the flavors and textures of both the muffin and streusel blend seamlessly. The nuggets where pieces of chip are fully coated with cinnamon sugar goodness are like finding hidden treasure. It’s hard to resist removing them from all of the muffins. But it’s the holiday season; we have to share. Be sure to taste both the batter and the streusel unbaked – they are amazing. Potato chips? Yeah, they’ll be making more muffin appearances. This was definitely a fun day in the kitchen.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup pecans, toasted
- 2 cups pears, diced
- ¼ cup almond milk
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 10 Cinnamon Sugar Pringles, crushed into medium sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 10 cups in a muffin tin. Paper liners may alternatively be used.
- Make the muffins. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves.
- In a large bowl, stir together sugar, oil, and vanilla until fully combined. Mix in the eggs thoroughly. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix until a thick dough is formed. Add the pecans and pears and mix to combine. If the dough is still thick, add the almond milk until a still stick, yet pourable batter is formed. How much you add will depend on the juiciness of your pears. I added the entire ¼ cup.
- Make the streusel. In a small bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add Pringles and stir until distributed. Drizzle in oil, and stir until small clumps are formed.
- Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling all the way to the top. Top each muffin with streusel, gently pressing it into the batter. Bake for 22-25 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan.
- Gently remove muffins from the tin, by loosening the tops, then swiftly forcing a spatula down the side of each cup, pushing the muffin out. May be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 2 hours, or in a 350 degree F for about 20 minutes.
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for an autographed copy of Giada de Laurentiis’ cookbook!