Cranberry Orange Muffin

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Cranberry and orange. Almost always paired together, and definitely a marriage where the resulting whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Cranberry and orange. The most favoured flavour of fall baking ... for me at least ;) And after I've featured cranberry and orange bundt cake and cranberry orange scones, muffins are the next baked good I'm tackling.

These cranberry orange muffins turned out really well. They are not too sweet, with just a bit of tart, just a bit of tang, just a bit of zing, and a whole lot of wowza. There were so many different textures at play ... the juicy burst of the berries, the soft and buttery batter, and that bit of golden crisp on the edges ... gotta love it when it all meets in your palate.

Please do use fresh cranberries for this recipe. They are a superfood! At 25 calories for half a cup, they are naturally sweet, bursting with juiciness, and more importantly, they are so beneficial for your plumbing, preventing gum diseases to tract infections. And we all can attest to the nutritional goodness of oranges. Just recently I read about another phytonutrient in oranges that are only found in the skin and the white pith. This was hailed as the most beneficial nutrient having the capacity to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Woohoo! More zest to you!

So if there is any opportunity to include potent superfoods into your cooking and baking, do so with gusto! More than anything, it makes your sweet treat a nourishment than just a guilty pleasure.

375 g (3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
3 tbsp flour
440 g (3-1/2 cups) all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
225 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
100 g (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
240 ml (1 cup) Greek style yogurt
Zest of 4 oranges
4 tsp vanilla extract
60 ml (4 tbsp) orange juice
60 ml (4 tbsp) milk

1. Preheat oven to 200C or 400F.
2. Line 2 muffin pans with paper cases.

3. In a small bowl, toss the cranberries with the 3 tbsp of flour and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

5. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat the softened butter with the two sugars until pale and fluffy.
6. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
7. Add the yogurt, zest, vanilla, orange juice and milk, and beat to combine.

8. Turn off the mixer, scrape the sides and give it a last fold.
9. Make a well in the bowl of the dry ingredients and pour in the beaten egg and sugar mixture.
10. Fold until no visible lumps of flour remain.
11. Toss the cranberries in, without the excess flour, and mix just to distribute evenly.

12. With a dough or ice cream scooper, scoop batter into prepared paper cases and place the muffin pans in the middle rack of the oven.
13. Bake for 5 minutes, reduce the temperature to 175C or 350F and bake a further 18-20 minutes, rotating 2/3 into the baking time.

14. When the tops turn golden, test doneness with a wooden skewer, bearing in mind that the cranberries will pop and may make the skewer wet. We are just checking that the batter is dry and not 'doughy' anymore.
15. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove individual muffins to cool on a wire rack.

They are so good as is, but if you would like to make a glaze, mix
90 ml (6 tbsp) orange juice
120 g (1 cup) confectioners sugar
together until smooth and drizzle over the tops.

Enjoy warm!

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