Saturday, October 9, 2010

Apple "Cranberry" Muffins

Ah, Saturday breakfast! I know I harp on this all the time, but it really has become an important ritual in our household. Case in point: last weekend, Julia had the opportunity to spend the night at her friend's house. However, before she made the final decision, she called me to find out what was for breakfast. When I assured her I'd save her some muffins, she decided it would be OK to spend the night after all.

So, on to the muffins. The recipe calls for cranberries, and that had worried me. You can get cranberries around here sometimes, but only at the giant supermarkets and for limited times (and high prices). I had thought I'd wait to make these muffins until I could find cranberries, and then I noticed the red currants at the farmer's market. Perfect! They're round, tart, seedy--very cranberry-like.

The technique in this muffin is a bit different from normal muffin recipes--instead of melting the butter and mixing it in the batter, you cut it in with a pastry blender. This gave a tender muffin.

As you see, this is a muffin with a lot of "stuff"--currants, apples, nuts, raisins--and not that much batter to hold it together. I was a bit concerned, but again, it worked.

Here is a muffin, ready to eat. You'll see all the chunks of goodness inside. I really liked them--they were moist and fruity and just sweet enough. The currants were a really nice, tart counterpoint. They made our Saturday morning special once again.
Here's the recipe--make your Saturday special.

Apple Cranberry Muffins

1 egg
grated rind of 1 orange
1/3 c. (2.7 oz.) orange juice (for me, this was more than the juice of that one orange)
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. (2.5 oz.) raisins
1/2 c. (2.2 oz.) sifted whole wheat flour
1/2 c. (2 oz.) sifted flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 t. allspice
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. (3.5 oz.) sugar
1/4 c. (2 oz; 1/2 stick) butter, cold
1-1/4 c. raw cranberries or red currants, washed and dried
1 tart apple, peeled and diced fine
1 c. (4 oz.) chopped walnuts (I used sliced almonds, but walnuts would have been better)
Sugar (raw sugar is nice here)

Heat the oven to 350 and line 12 muffin tins. Mix together the egg, orange peel and juice, vanilla, and raisins. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt, and sugar into a large bowl. Add the butter and cut in with a pastry blender. Add the orange juice mixture and stir just until blended. Now add the fruit and nuts and mix that. Scoop the chunky mixture into the muffin cups and sprinkle each muffin with a bit of sugar. Bake for 25-28 minutes (check these after 20 minutes) or until they are just firm to touch. Enjoy fresh from the oven.

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