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~Cinnamon-Raisin Bread-Stuffing Muffins ('Stuffins')~

IMG_8673'Stuffins' -- just saying it brings a smile to my face.  These are just plain fun to make, kid-friendly, and, practical too -- pretty little portions of complete happiness.  If you brown bag your lunch, just wrap one up and toss it in.  If you're cooking for just you or for two, make a dozen to have on hand for the entire week. They're a surefire crowd pleaser as well.  A few years ago, I made a huge batch and took them to a Fall tailgate party where the men couldn't get enough of them!  

Stuffins can be made from any chunky-style bread-stuffing recipe, as long as it contains beaten egg as a binder to keep them from falling apart when you remove them from the muffin cups.  I particularly love the sweet and savory fruity edge that cinnamon-raisin bread and tart chopped apple adds -- those flavors naturally pair great with all sorts of poultry and pork!

IMG_8621Stuffing baked in muffin cups = Stuffins!

IMG_8483Roast Chicken + Stuffins = Perfect rainy-day comfort food!

IMG_8322The calendar and the extra hour of daylight in the evening tells me it is Spring, but, here in Central PA the weather is still cool and damp. 

IMG_8079I'm roasting chickens for dinner tonight, and, since I just happen to have a loaf of my cinnamon-raisin bread on hand, I'm making a quick batch of stuffins to go with it.  There will be enough of leftovers for Joe and I to lunch on all week!

You can find my recipes for ~ This Woman's Way to Roast the Perfect Chicken ~ and ~ Bread Machine Basics and Cinnamon-Raisin Bread ~ by clicking on the Related Article links below.

IMG_84931  1-pound loaf cinnamon-raisin bread, preferably 2-3 days old, cut into 3/4" cubes, about 8 cups

4  tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)

1/4  teaspoon nutmeg

1/2  teaspoon poultry seasoning

1  packet from 1 box G. Washington's Golden Seasoning and Broth Mix

1/2  teaspoon white pepper

6  ounces diced celery  (about 1 1/2 cups)

6  ounces diced yellow or sweet onion (about 1 1/2 cups)

12  ounces peeled Granny Smith apples, chopped into 1/2"-3/4" pieces (about 3 cups)

4  jumbo eggs

3/4  cup milk, plus 1/4 cup additional milk, more or less, if necessary

no-stick cooking spray

IMG_8502 6a0120a8551282970b01a51196dd7d970c~ Step 1.  In a 12" skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add the fennel seed, nutmeg, poultry seasoning, seasoning packet and white pepper.  Stir to thoroughly combine.

~ Step 2.  Remove from heat.  You don't want the butter to brown.

IMG_8511 IMG_8510~ Step 3. Prep the celery and onion as directed, placing them in the warm skillet as you work.

~ Step 4.  Increase heat to saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 6 minutes.  While the vegetables are sauteing:

IMG_8538 IMG_8532~ Step 5. Peel and dice the apples as directed.  

When the onion and celery are cooked as directed above, add the apples to the skillet.  Continue to saute, stirring occasionally, until apples just begin to soften, about 4-6 minutes.  Remove from heat.

IMG_8487~ Step 6.  Using a serrated bread knife, cut the cinnamon-raisin bread into 3/4" cubes.  You will have a generous 8 cups of cubes.  

Note:  Before cubing, I trim a thin slice from the crusty ends of the loaf.  I do not use these end slices because they have a tendency to burn as the stuffins bake in the oven.

Place the bread cubes in a very large bowl as you work.  Feed those two crust ends to the birds!

IMG_8553 IMG_8550~ Step 7. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the slightly-cooled celery and onion mixture into the bread cubes.

~ Step 8.  In a 2-cup measusring container, using a fork, vigorously whisk together the eggs and the 3/4 cup of milk.

IMG_8564Add egg mixture to bread mixture. Fold, until ingredients are coated. Let it sit for a minute and fold again. Let sit for another minute and fold.  

IMG_8573The bread should be very wet and no liquid should be puddled in the bottom of the bowl.  I almost never have to add any additional milk.

IMG_8586~ Step 9.  Spray bottoms of 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Using a 2 1/2" ice-cream scoop as a measure, place a generous, firmly-packed scoop in each cup.

IMG_8592~ Step 10. Using a tablespoon, evenly distribute all of the remaining stuffing mixture onto the tops, mounding it towards the centers.

IMG_8595 IMG_8619~ Step 11. Place muffin pan on a large baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.

Note:  I don't do this because they drip as they bake.  I do this because it keeps the bottoms of the stuffins from over-browning.

~ Step 12.  Bake on center rack of 350 degree oven 30-35 minutes.

Stuffins will be puffed up, pulling away from the insides of the muffin cups, and golden:

IMG_8630~ Step 13.  Place pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool, in muffin pans, for about 6-7 minutes. 

IMG_8668~Step 14.  Place a sharp paring knife down along the side of each one, gently lift it up a bit, and transfer it to a cooling rack.  There should be no reason to run the knife all around the side of each cup.

IMG_8679Stuffins should remove easily. If they don't, cool for another minute.

Serve hot, warm, at room temperature or reheated.  Everyone is going to love you for these:

IMG_8686Cripy on the outside, tender and steamy on the inside...

IMG_8722... served with a drizzle of gravy, this is a side-dish of love:

IMG_8748Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Stuffing Muffins ('Stuffins'):  Recipe yields 1 dozen standard-sized stuffins, or, 6-12 servings.

Special Equipment List:  12" skillet; cutting board; chef's knife; large slotted spoon; serrated bread knife; 2-cup measuring container; fork; very large mixing bowl; large rubber spatula; standard-sized muffin tins, enough for 1 dozen stuffins; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; parchment paper; cooling rack

6a0120a8551282970b01a511912fff970cCook's Note:  If cinnamon-raisin bread isn't your "gig", my ~ Bread Machine Basics & My Brioche Recipe ~ would be a great substitute.  It's a sweetened yeast bread enriched with milk, butter and eggs.  You can find the recipe in Categories 2, 15, 18 & 20!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014) 


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