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Cranberry Orange Muffins

Let me start this off with a conversation I recently had with my mother over AIM:
(11:26:12 AM) Rene: you know whats in season right now?
(11:26:22 AM) Mom: intelligence?
(11:26:33 AM) Rene: well besides that
(11:26:36 AM) Rene: CRANBERRIES
(11:26:39 AM) Rene: WE MUST GO BUY SOME
(11:26:47 AM) Rene: WE MUST WE MUST WE MUST
(11:26:56 AM) Mom: oh yes .. I LOOOOOOVE cranberry nut bread. yum yum yum
(11:27:01 AM) Rene: I NEEED cranberry orange scones or muffins
(11:27:02 AM) Rene: or something
(11:27:05 AM) Rene: CRANBERRIES
(11:27:14 AM) Mom: oh, those would be aweseom <— *snicker* typo. Ignore my typo of “need” above.
(11:27:22 AM) Mom: awesome, even

As you can see I am, ahem, excited about cranberries to say the least. The’re red, tart and more sour than lemon baked goods. What’s not to like? I guess if you don’t like tart/sour things, cranberries aren’t your cup of tea. 

The recipe I used said it would yield 12 muffins, I believe I got about 18. They didn’t have huge rounded tops, but that’s ok. I’d rather have more. The muffins were definitely delicious. When I went to visit my boyfriend, Leigh, and his family last night, I brought over 8 muffins so everyone could have one. No go. Leigh definitely ate all of them. I sneaked one of them and half a muffin he left out in the open. Silly him, don’t leave out cranberry muffins; I eat them. Muhaha. My sister, Lisa, remarked that they were kind of tart for her tastes…but she still ate four of them. 

I used a recipe that I THOUGHT I’d used before…clearly I was wrong. Luckily; it turned out just dandy: nice and moist yet tart from the cranberries and orangey from the…erm…oranges. The recipe is actually for a blueberry muffin, but I hate blueberries and I was excited about cranberries and I had oranges. I’ll link back to the original recipe that I modified so if you’re of the blueberry persuasion, you can make them. 

There are somethings I’ll do differently when I make them again, since I have two more oranges and (ahem) 3 POUNDS of cranberries I have no reason not to. My father loves me and buys me cranberries  from Costco. OM NOM NOM. 

The original recipe for the blueberries muffins has you cook a cup of the fresh blueberries and all the dried blueberries with a little bit of sugar to make a sort of syrupy blueberry mixture to mix into the muffins. In my awesome muffins I, clearly not thinking, only put in a cup of cranberries and didn’t think to include more for the lack of dried cranberries. Oops. Oh well.

I also only added a tablespoon of sugar to the cranberries because I like tart things. If sucking on lemons wasn’t bad for the enamel on your teeth, I’d totally do that. If tartness isn’t your cup of tea, add an extra tablespoon of sugar to the cranberry mixture on the stove. So next time (like later today hehe) more cranberries in the pot. 

This recipe also uses buttermilk, which I don’t keep handy cause I never use all of it before it goes bad. So I used 1 tablespoon vinegar and enough milk to make 1 cup to make up for the lack buttermilk, then measured that into a 3/4 measuring cup. I really want to try these out with buttermilk just to taste the difference. Clearly I need to make a third batch. It’d be more scientific that way, one muffin with buttermilk one with the substitute. This is obviously the best way to test which one is better. 

Recipe down the rabbit hole!
Cranberry Orange Muffins
Adapted from Food. According to me. (<– blueberry muffin recipe. Ew)

3 cups Cranberries, quartered (or halved. I got lazy and they still worked wonderfully)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, 3 ounces if you like that more(or you know, more fresh cranberries quartered or   halved either or) 
2 1/2 cups flour, or 12.5 ounces if you’re so inclined.(oddly, I don’t remember doing this…or at least the half cup part)
2 teaspoons baking POWDER (I’m always terrified of using the other baking soda instead and vice versa)
1 teaspoon salt, normal table salt please.
1 1/4 cup sugar or 8 ounces if you like to weigh things.
3 whole large eggs. 
4 tablespoons unsalted butter  melted and slightly cooled. 
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons turbinado sugar *see note at the end

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut cranberries in half or quarter them. Through a cup and a half to two cups of cranberries (if you add two and a half cups you’ll have 1 cup of cranberries to fold into the batter) into a small saucepan and over low heat. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar depending on desired sweetness. Stir frequently and press the cranberries to the side of the pot until they’ve broken down somewhat and have mixed with the sugar to make a nice thick mess. This should take about 5 minutes.

2. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together and set aside. In a large enough bowl, mix the sugar and eggs together until they’re light and fluffy. Slowly mix in melted butter and oil. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla.

3. Gently mix the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, the batter will be lumpy. Add the remaining cup or 2 cups of cranberries to the mixture. I like to toss the cranberries (or any add in) with some flour before so they don’t sink to the bottom. 

4. Fill the muffin tin cups almost to the top and then top off with the cooked cranberry goodness. Using a skewer (the original recipe recommends a bamboo one) swirl to mix it in.  If you’re using the turbinado sugar sprinkle it over the tops of the muffins now.

5. Place muffins in the oven for 17-19 minutes. The recipe says to cool for about five minutes. Yeah right, but they do taste better cooled. Darn.

*NOTE: Turbinado sugar is the sugar you see on top of scones and some cookies in bakeries and coffee shops. It is a coarser ground sugar used on top of baked goods to give it a crunch. You should be able to find it in your supermarket. I usually see it in the “healthy/organic” section at my Safeway. Why they moved it from the baking section where I bought it I’ll never understand. I have a bag of it, but I honestly don’t like it on baked goods. The crunchy part…I dunno, it just doesn’t do anything for me. So it just sits and looks sugary in the pantry taking up space. 



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