Cheryle Finley: Muffin tins take on more than cupcakes | Lifestyles: Entertainment, Life and more

For those of you who have asked, here’s an update on my fractured ankle: I went to a follow-up appointment and my doctor says it’s still not completely healed, but it’s fine and will continue to swell for a year.

He told me if I have problems with my hips or knees to come see him as that’s his specialty. Then he asked me how old I am. Surely it was my imagination that he smiled when I told him 65. Did he assume it won’t be long until these hips and knees give out? No, it was my imagination, but he will definitely see me for hip or knee problems. I’m just hoping that’s a long way down the road.

What a beautiful weekend we had. The cooler weather this week will make us think it’s more like Christmas. And more like we should be seriously thinking about Christmas presents.

Looking for an out-of-the-ordinary Christmas gift? How about a muffin tin?

Most of us have at least one regular muffin tin for cupcakes, but the uses for cooking with these are just about endless. Mini meatloaves gives you individual servings as well as cutting down on the baking time. There are many breakfast recipes that can be made in the tin instead of a baking dish. Single dessert servings might keep us from overindulging in sweets.

Because there’s probably a regular muffin tin in everyone’s cabinet, think mini or jumbo. Those are sizes we don’t usually buy unless we need them for a specific purpose. I bought a little cookbook called “Make it in a Muffin Tin” and a recipe from this book along with a shiny new muffin tin would get someone started looking for other muffin tin options. Or you might adapt one of your favorite recipes to the muffin tin. I like to use the jumbo tins for individual desserts so I can say I just ate one.

Today, I’m sharing some jumbo and mini muffin recipes. Looking for a perfect Christmas morning sweet treat? The overnight pecan sticky rolls are put together the night before and ready to bake when you are ready to eat. These are made in the jumbo tins, so they are a good-sized serving. The corn-dog bites are mini and just right for dipping in a little mustard. A quick snack or lunch for kids of all ages. Another bite-size treat is the mini cheesecakes. So cute and so tasty.

No buttermilk? Pour 1/2 cup regular milk into a measuring cup. Add 2 teaspoons vinegar and let sit five to 10 minutes. All these are from the “Make it in a Muffin Tin” book.

Join me at Carthage Memorial Hall Saturday evening for the Steve Benjamin Memorial Christmas Concert featuring The Duke Mason Band. These talented guys donate their time each year to benefit the LaVerne Williams Children’s Christmas Party. Admission is a cash donation or a new, unwrapped toy for kindergarten through fourth grade child. Come have a good time for a good cause.

Stay warm, and happy eating.

Overnight pecan sticky rolls

Chopped pecans

Bag of frozen dinner rolls (balls of dough)

1 package dry butterscotch pudding mix (not instant)

1/2 to 3/4 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

Spray jumbo size muffin tin with cooking spray. Sprinkle pecans in bottom of each muffin cup. Place three rolls in each cup. Sprinkle dry pudding mix evenly over top of frozen rolls. In small saucepan, melt butter and add brown sugar, stirring until dissolved. Cool then pour over rolls.

Cover with clean dish towel and let rise overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Gently remove rolls from tin. Spoon extra sauce from cups over rolls.

Corny corn dog bites

1 packed corn muffin mix

1 egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup frozen (thawed) or canned corn

1/2 cup sugar

6 hot dogs, cut into 1-inch pieces

Spray mini-muffin tin with cooking spray. In large bowl, combine first five ingredients, stirring until moist. Put one spoonful of batter into each cup and place one hot dog piece into the center.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Chocolate chip mini cheesecakes

2 cups graham cracker cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespooons butter, melted

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup mini chocolate chips

In a bowl, stir together crumbs, sugar and butter; spoon into mini muffin tin. Pat and press onto the bottom and sides to form sturdy crust. Put in freezer while preparing filling. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar three minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, then add cream and vanilla.

Beat on medium-high for three to four minutes. Fold in chips. Remove muffin tin from freezer and pour cream cheese mixture into each crust.

Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes or until tops are set. Refrigerate before serving.

Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.

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