15 March 2016

Their Last Appearance

There are dozens of ways to a create a cranberry muffin, but the ones I baked up twice this week happen to feature only a smidgen of oil and a decent pour of orange juice. The batter is hand-mixed and not a carton of yogurt or block of butter are opened for what results in, we think, a lovely breakfast muffin. After adopting these blueberry muffins as my house muffin mix this year, it felt like a step back to not use that base for the cranberry orange muffin I was craving, but I have fallen for the simplicity of these. You have to have options. What if your dairy is running low? Sprinkled with leftover streusel and baked to golden, these muffins, in their minimalism, are excellent.

Cranberries are a lovely in-between-seasons fruit. They last in the freezer for a bit, and they are great for baking with before the "real" berries kick in, their tartness complemented by the sweetness of their orange pairing. The charm of these muffins is they aren't rich or fussy, but I couldn't resist fiddling with a base recipe I found. I swapped in a little spelt flour, and slipped a tablespoon of milk into the OJ and added some spice. Then I sprinkled them with a little streusel. I made them in the evenings, and wrapped in plastic, they were fine overnight and warmed for a few minutes the next day. Your dwindling cranberries will be happy to make their last appearance.


Simple Cranberry Orange Muffins

Originally adapted from Joyfully Healthy Eats

2 cups/ 250 grams all purpose flour (may swap 1/4 cup/ 30 grams spelt/barley flour)
½ cup/90 grams sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup cranberries
1 egg
¾ cup orange juice (fresh or bought--may swap a few Tbsps milk in if needed)
¼ cup canola oil (I want to try some light olive next time)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 heaped teaspoon grated orange zest
1/8 tsp each cinnamon + ground ginger

Streusel (I used leftover of this, amounts below will be enough to sprinkle)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold is fine
Pinch of salt

Heat the oven to 400 and butter 10 muffin wells. 

Make streusel: mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt, then work in the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

In a large bowl, rub the zest into the sugar until moistened and fragrant. Into that same bowl, sift together flour,  baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices and whisk together. Add the cranberries, reserving about 10-20.

In a small bowl or measure, beat the egg, then add the orange juice, vanilla and oil, whisking well. Fold wet into dry until just combined. Divide into muffin tin evenly. Lightly press one or two cranberries into each muffin.

Sprinkle a little streusel over each one, and place in oven for 16-20 mins, until a tester comes out clean and muffins are lightly browned and bounce back when touched. 

Cool a few minutes in the pan, then twist them out to cool completely. 

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