Thursday, December 02, 2010

11. Cranberry Orange Muffins

In two previous posts I have talked about going through several different options of what to bake, one for a friend’s potluck and another for the Daring Bakers’ November Challenge.  In both of those posted I listed a few ideas that I had. Me being the over preparer that I am, I made sure that I had some of the ingredients on hand so that if I changed my mind back to something I previously crossed-out, I could still make the dish.

That is where these glorious cranberries came from. I bought them originally to make a crostata with for either of the two previously mentioned purposes, but I went a different way. My mother is not a fan of cranberry sauce, so that crossed out a simple cranberry relish with thanksgiving dinner. So, what to make? Immediately, I thought of cranberry orange muffins.

I think these muffins are like those warm hugs you wake up to on Thanksgiving morning or Christmas morning and have for breakfast before the big feast later. For me however, they have just been wrapping me in their tart yet sweet warmth before I head to the office for work.

On a slightly ironic note, as I was updating my top 100 list and checking off my two previous accomplishments, what do I see as one of the items on my list? Cranberry orange muffins! Sometimes, I go to my list for inspiration regarding what to make and other times I am simply inspired by something I want to taste. These muffins where inspired by the fact that I just wanted to taste cranberry orange muffins, but low and behold, they are on the list too. Yippee!

Cranberry Orange Muffins
(Completely transformed and adapted from the Barefoot Contessa’s Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins)

12 TBS butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar + 6 tsp orange zest sugar*
4 Large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 vanilla extract
8 oz sour cream
Juice of 1 orange
Zest of 2 oranges (1 for batter and 1 for orange zest sugar)
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz fresh cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place 12 jumbo muffin cup liners into jumbo muffin pans.

3. With an eclectic mixture, like a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, cream butter and sugar with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.

4. Lower mixer speed to low and add eggs one at a time.

5. Then add vanilla, sour cream, orange juice and orange zest increasing the mixers speed and scraping down the bowl when needed.

6. In separate bowl combine and mix well the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

7. With mixer back on low slowly add flour mixture until just blended well; do not over mix.

8. Fold in fresh cranberries, making sure the batter is mixed well.

9. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop two nearly two full scoops into each liner. Top off any muffins that are not filled to 1/2 inch under the top of the liner.

10. Gentle tap pan on counter to spread out batter or use the back of a spoon.

10. Spoon orange zest sugar on top of each muffin.

11. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then for another 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Be sure to rotate and turn the muffin pans.
*Orange zest sugar is just the zest of one orange mixed with approximately 1/2 cup of sugar. Shake to mix and let the mixture sit for a few hours to mingle and get friendly.

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