Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cranberry Muffins

Do you have some fresh cranberries lying around that you didn't use over Christmas, and you're wondering what to do with them?  Well, wonder no longer.  Make these muffins!  They are really simple and have a fantastic fresh cranberry flavor.  I took these in to my office a week or so before Christmas, and everyone was raving about them.  When I make them at home, they are gone lickety-split.  Yep, they are that good.  The process is pretty simple.

Measure and mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.

Coarsely chop the raw cranberries, either by hand or using a food processor.  Little hint here -- although the food processor is much faster, I actually prefer to chop the cranberries by hand.  They come out more evenly chopped, and I like the berries to end up in very large pieces.  But, either way is perfectly fine.

Turn the cranberries into a separate bowl, and zest an orange right in the same bowl.

Add half a cup of sugar to the berries and zest, and mix to make sure the sugar coats all of the cranberry pieces.

Now add the small bowl of wet ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients, and mix until the flour is almost all mixed in.  Don't overmix, though, or your muffins will be tough and won't have the right shape. Gently fold in the bowl of sugared cranberries as the last step.

Scoop the batter into muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until the tops are nicely browned.  Allow to cool and serve with butter.

You could also add some chopped pecans in with the cranberries, if you wanted to.  I often have nuts left over from holiday baking, and I love using them up in recipes like this one.  Oh, I forgot to mention that this recipe calls for buttermilk.  I know it's a "special" thing to buy at the grocery store, but is it so worth it!  I usually buy a pint, and since buttermilk is very lowfat (weird, huh?), it keeps for several weeks.  That's plenty of time to make a second batch of these muffins, thus using up the extra buttermilk!  (Or, I have a great cornbread recipe that also uses buttermilk. Grandma's Cornbread)

Here's the actual recipe:

Cranberry Muffins

2-1/4 cups sifted flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
1 tsp. orange zest
1/2 cup sugar

Stir together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl.  Combine egg, buttermilk, and oil in small bowl; stir all at once into flour mixture.  Do not overmix.  Combine cranberries, zest and 1/2 cup sugar; fold into the batter.  Scoop or spoon batter into muffin tins; bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown.  Makes about 15 muffins.

I hope you enjoy these as much as my family does!

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