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Sunday, October 29, 2017

October 29: Cranberry Orange Mini Muffins

Sunday is a day I want to sleep in. And, because of soccer, it is the only day of the week I get to sleep in. (Ooh! But only 2 more weeks until the season ends!!!)

When I wake up, I want to laze around for a bit, sipping coffee, looking at my friends' kids' photos on Facebook, watching a couple Tasty videos. You know, stuff like that. 

After that first cup of coffee (I have two a day), I want to meander into the kitchen in my pajamas and throw on my apron and whip up something yummy. 

Unfortunately, the neighborhood kids like to start knocking at 10:30 in the morning. I have to stop my internet browsing to help my kids get on their roller skates. Then, when I head into the kitchen, the kids who were supposedly playing with my kids like to come do secret knocks on my front door and then run away, leaving notes on the doorstep. Oy. Can't a woman just bake in peace, I ask you!?


I've been jonesing for some cranberry orange something for a few days now. I originally thought I'd make some quick bread and had planned to use Sally's Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread recipe. But as I was looking over the recipe, I realized I didn't feel like making a glaze, and I wasn't in the mood for a streusel topping (even though streusel is life). Then I realized I didn't even want to make it in a loaf pan because that requires an hour bake time AND is crumbly when it's time to serve (since, you know, it gets cut into slices.) It occurred to me then that what I'd really like is some nice cranberry orange mini muffins. Small. Poppable. No crumbs.

Thus, I adapted Sally's recipe. I cut out both toppings and subbed in just a small sprinkle of coarse sugar on top for some crunch. I used dried cranberries instead of fresh/frozen cranberries, and didn't add the optional pecans, instead subbing in a half-cup of mini chocolate chips. I also cut back the orange zest (from 2 Tablespoons to 1) and added in a small amount of orange extract to bring up the orange flavor a tad. And, of course, I baked them as mini-muffins instead of as a loaf. 

Can I just say: oh man, these are SO. FLIPPING. GOOD. 

Admittedly, I was starting to get kind of annoyed while I was baking them. Like I said, there were several knocks at the door, plus, when I make these recipes, I have to stop what I'm doing at every stage so that I can snap a (dark, shadowy, amateurish) photo to share. Plus, with these, since I was not following a recipe, I also did one pan as a test-run because I couldn't remember how much batter I usually use in my mini-muffin cups. (The small or the medium OXO scoop??? Spoiler alert: it's the small one.) So anyway, I was getting sort of cranky about the whole affair. 

Until that test tray came out of the oven and I tasted one of these glorious mounds of happiness and knew that yes, it was all worth it. Every knock. Every photo. Every dirty dish in my sink. Because these little flavor bombs were everything I'd hoped they'd be. 

I trust you'll feel the same.

Cranberry Orange Mini Muffins
 (Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread, linked above)

Yield: 48 mini muffins


2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 large egg, at room temperature (to bring an egg to room temp, either leave it out on the counter for an hour, or place it in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk (no substitutions)
1/3 cup vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
zest from one medium or large sized orange
2-4 Tablespoons turbinado sugar (for sprinkling on tops)


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, dried cranberries, and mini chocolate chips. (Be sure to break up your dried cranberries because they tend to like to hang out in clumps.) Set aside.

3. In another medium bowl, whisk together both sugars, being sure to break up any lumps. (I reach in with my hand to make sure no lumps are hanging out in there.) Add the room temperature egg (it needs to be room temperature so that it disperses properly in your sugar.) Whisk until smooth.

4. Add buttermilk, oil, vanilla and orange extracts, and orange zest. Whisk until smooth.

5. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Whisk (or stir with wooden spoon) just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated/moistened and no lumps remain. (Do not overmix or your muffins get too dense.) 
6. Spoon 2 teaspoons of batter (the equivalent of 1 small OXO scoop) to each mini muffin cup. Sprinkle some turbinado sugar to the top of each muffin. (They're sweet enough without it, but I like the added crunch.) 
7. Bake for 13-17 minutes, or until your muffins are golden and the centers spring back when you gently press with your finger. (Start checking them at the earliest time. Mine took about 16.)

8. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool entirely. Store in airtight container.

Or, better yet, in your stomach.

One things are for sure: these muffins are worth getting up for!

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