Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Jen's Best Cranberry Muffins

My friend Jen shared this recipe, which she adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated Best Blueberry Muffin recipe (you can read it here). She once made it with leftover cranberry sauce I foisted upon her instead of the jam and she recommends it. I made it to use up some frozen cranberries I had, so I made the jam; I reduced the amount of sugar in the muffins a tad as well. These muffins were fantastic! They’re everything you’d expect from muffins, jammy on the inside, with a good moist crumb and sweet crunchy outside, all under a perfectly domed top. I think this recipe would work really well for any type of berry. Definitely a keeper!

For the topping
1/3 cup sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
1 ½ tsp finely grated zest, from 1 orange

For the muffins
3 cups cranberries, rinsed and dried, divided
1 cup sugar + 1 tsp sugar, divided
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12.5 oz)
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp unsalted butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly (½ stick)
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (use lactose-free milk with a dash of lemon juice or vinegar)
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

For the topping
Stir together sugar and orange zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

For the muffins
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 °F. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray (or grease the old-fashioned way).

Bring 1 ½ cups cranberries and 1 tsp sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.

Whisk remaining 1 cup sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined.

Toss remaining 1 ½ cups cranberries in flour mixture. Then, using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture into cranberries and flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)

Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon 1 tsp of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using a chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle orange sugar evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

malt_soda said...

Glad you liked them! I have made strawberry muffins (not this recipe) and I didn't like the way the strawberry tasted in the muffin. So far blueberry and cranberry are the only berry muffins I've liked.