Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cranberry orange crunch muffins

Don't you wish you could go back in time and remember the first time you ate a flavor combination that blew your mind?

No... just me...?

I can't remember the first time I had orange and cranberry together, but I do remember when I was working in a lab at Northwestern over 10 years ago being in love with Dunkin' Donuts cranberry orange muffins. It was my "splurge" breakfast many a times, and I still get sad about the fact that they don't make them anymore. There's just something that makes my mouth happy when you combine tart cranberries with fragrant oranges.


These muffins not only hit the flavor combo spot, they were super light and fluffy with a great crunchy topping.

Though a tad too sweet for me for breakfast (I'm weird like that), I found that they make a great day-time snack when I want just a touch of sugar to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Buen Provecho,
Jacqueline

Cranberry-Orange Crunch Muffins, adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yield: 12 muffins

Though I haven't tried it, I think these muffins could benefit from a lot more cranberries. Not sure if it would compromise the structure of the muffins, but next time I make these I'd like to add at least another 1/2 cup of cranberries. I think you could also use more grated orange peel, or use both peel and oil. (Can you tell I like my citrus and cranberry combo?!) 

Also, I was not a fan of the cinnamon in the muffin topping, because I felt it "muddied" the fresh flavors of the orange and cranberry and turned them into more fall-inspired flavors. The boy was a fan though, so I think it's personal preference. Feel free to reduce or cut it out completely.

Ingredients

Batter
2 cups (8 7/8 ounces) flour
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder (I like the aluminum free kind)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) vegetable oil
3/4 cup (6 ounces) milk
1/4 cup (2 ounces) orange juice
1/8 teaspoon orange oil OR 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries, or more to taste

Topping
1/4 cup (7/8 ounce) finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) brown sugar, dark or light, firmly packed
up to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

Directions
  1. Batter: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, then toss the cranberries in the mix and stir to coat. 
  2. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the egg, oil, milk, orange juice, and orange oil or peel. 
  3. Gently and thoroughly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. 
  4. Using a muffin or cookie scoop, or a 1/4-cup measure, pour the batter into 12 lightly greased muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full. 
  5. Topping: Combine all of the topping ingredients. Sprinkle a scant 1 tablespoon of topping over the batter in each muffin cup (see picture below)
  6. Bake the muffins in a preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes, or until they're nicely domed and a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. 
  7. Remove the muffins from the oven, and run a knife around the edge of each one to separate it from the pan. Carefully tilt each muffin in its cup so steam doesn't collect underneath as they cool. After about 5 minutes, transfer them to a rack to cool completely. 
BEFORE
AFTER (yum yum)

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