Thursday, March 24, 2011

Easy, Zesty Cranberry Orange Muffins

by Darla

Recently, I wanted to make some muffins for breakfast, but found myself low on supplies. I had all of the ingredients to make a basic muffin, but not much by way of flavors for it. As I searched and perused what I did have, nothing sounded good. Of course I had chocolate chips, but I want a fruit muffin. In the refrigerator, I had an orange that was on it’s last leg (and that was it…I sorely needed to make a trip to the grocery store) and probably wouldn’t be eaten because of it’s sad state. Nothing better to do with a piece of fruit that’s about to go bad than to bake with it, right? Orange muffins sound good, huh? Alright, then, that’s what I’ll make. Then along comes the hubster, suggesting that I add cranberries to the mix too.

Curses. I do not like cranberries.

He was right, though, cranberries and oranges are so meant to go together. And we have plenty of dried cranberries. I decided to bite the bullet and add them to the mix.

Before I say what I thought of them, I just need to tell you how gorgeous these muffins turned out. They were just beautiful. For a treat that tends toward being a little on the homely side, I think these particular muffins are very pretty.

How did they taste, though?

Well, I knew I’d love the orange flavors, I love citrus fruits and flavors anyway, and I was right. The muffins had just the right amount of subtle orange flavoring to keep them from being overpowering, and the glaze was a burst of sweet and tart that perfectly complimented the mild muffins. As for the cranberries…I actually liked them! I was surprised by how sweet they became in the oven. They added this great little punch of sweetness to the mellow orangey muffins. I’m not gonna say that these have converted me into a cranberry lover, but I certainly won’t hesitate to use them in my baking again!

To make this incredible muffins you need all-purpose flour, sugar, sour cream, unsalted butter, an egg, dried cranberries, baking powder, salt, and finely grated orange zest.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the egg until combined, about 20 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is thick and thoroughly combined. Stir int he orange zest until evenly distributed. Slowly whisk the butter into the mixture until combined. Add half the sour cream, whisking until just combined, repeat with the remaining sour cream. Add the flour to the sour cream mixture and fold with a spatula until the batter comes together. Add the cranberries and continue folding the mixture until the berries are evenly distributed (do not overmix).

Evenly divide the batter in between the cups of the muffin pan (about two and a half tablespoons of batter per cup). Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until light golden brown in color, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool for five minutes before glazing.

While the muffins are baking, make the glaze.

My favorite part of these muffins is the glaze made with these three simple ingredients: sugar, orange juice, and finely grated orange zest.

Combine half a cup of the sugar and orange zest in a bowl until the zest is evenly distributed; set aside.

In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the remaining sugar (1/4 cup) and the orange juice, bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar and continue simmering until the mixture becomes syrupy.

Generously, brush the tops of the muffins with the orange glaze. I did this in the pan, but you can work with the muffins on a wire cooling rack if you prefer. Also, I used every last bit of the glaze, but you can go lighter with it, if you like.

Once all of the muffins are glazed, dip the top of each muffin into the orange sugar, being sure to get them covered well.

Don’t they look so pretty with that sparkly sugar top? I’m not sure exactly what it is, but something about these muffins just strikes me as so lovely to look at. I just love the orangey-peach hue they have, the speckles of deep reddish purple from the cranberries, and the craggy, yet fluffy tops-all pretty and sweet with zesty sugar. Beautiful!

Let me repeat myself here: I don’t like cranberries. I do, however, love these muffins. They are currently my favorite muffin, and I really need to branch out before my family gets sick of them, but I don’t wanna. These are just too good. They’re soft, but dense-without being dried out-and the flavors all combine so perfectly. Each bite of the smooth, lightly orange flavored muffin is perfectly complimented with either a zippy sweetness from the cranberry, or a sweet tartness from the glazed tops. If you’re a sweet and tart fan, you have to try these. Enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Muffins
Make 12 standard muffins
Ingredients

FOR THE MUFFINS
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalte butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sour cream
3/4 cup dried cranberries

FOR THE GLAZE
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 orange juice

To make the muffins: Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan; set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg until combined, about 20 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is thick and thoroughly combined. Stir int he orange zest until evenly distributed. Slowly whisk the butter into the mixture until combined. Add half the sour cream, whisking until just combined, repeat with the remaining sour cream.

Add the flour to the sour cream mixture and fold with a spatula until the batter comes together. Add the cranberries and continue folding the mixture until the berries are evenly distributed (do not overmix).

Evenly divide the batter in between the cups of the muffin pan (about 2 1/2 tablespoons of batter per cup). Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until light golden brown in color, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes before glazing.

To make the glaze: While the muffins are baking, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and orange zest in a bowl until the zest is evenly distributed; set aside.

In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the remaining sugar (1/4 cup) and the orange juice, bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar and continue simmering until the mixture becomes syrupy.

Generously, brush the tops of the muffins with the orange glaze. Once all of the muffins are glazed, dip the top of each muffin into the orange sugar, being sure to get them covered well. Serve warm.

Recipe by Darla

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah March 24, 2011 at 8:33 am

Hmm, I might just have to try these.

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2 Maria March 24, 2011 at 9:43 am

I love the sugary tops!

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3 Lucy @ The Sweet Touch March 24, 2011 at 10:04 am

What is it about muffins that make such a sweet, comforting breakfast treat? These look great, and can we say healthy too since they have orange and cranberry;)

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4 kari March 24, 2011 at 10:10 am

I am going to bake these tonight!! I have a dying orange I walk by in the morning, it deserves to be used.

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5 Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes March 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Gosh do these look good.

And I agree, I absolutely love the sugared muffin tops.

Thank you for another fantastic post and recipe!!

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6 Candi @ Family Stamping and FOOD! March 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm

YUM!!!

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7 yasmeen @ wandering spice March 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm

i absolutely love the idea of taking this one step further with the orange sugar on top of the glaze. lovely!!

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8 kathy jones March 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Look delish!!! Now I have out Saturday morning muffin recipe thank you :)

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9 Heather March 24, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Those look and sound so yummy!

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10 maggie March 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Such beautiful muffins! I’d love to make them myself. They look delish.

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11 Rebecca Harrach March 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm

These look fantastic, very tasty!

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12 sucre en poudre March 25, 2011 at 4:06 am

Lovely muffins ans I love cranberries!
iza:)

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13 Jun March 25, 2011 at 5:52 am

I think I can finish a pan by myself!

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14 bttrflybabydoll March 25, 2011 at 9:41 am

Sugar on the top makes anything better! I happen to love cranberries though, and orange as well. I have everything at home to make these. I think I will make these Saturday! Thank you!

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15 Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls March 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

GREAT pictures! Loving the topping… oh meee oh my!!

Great blog; happy I found you!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

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16 Colleen @ MissPetiteSweets March 26, 2011 at 11:32 pm

These sounds great! I used to work at a bakery that had the most delicious cranberry orange scones, and your recipe reminds me of theirs.:)

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17 Dilbitz September 6, 2011 at 12:32 am

I LOVE these muffins! So tangy and sweet, easy and quick to make! The sour cream adds a perfect tangy-ness to the muffin. Bliss in my mouth. lol

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18 Samantha January 11, 2012 at 11:22 am

I absolutely love these muffins! They have become my all time favorite. I have a vegan friend I would like to make these for. Any suggestions for substitutions?

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19 Bev from the 'burg April 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm

These were the very best orange cranberry muffins I have ever tasted! My husband even thought they were delish, and he isn’t crazy about cranberries. They are 2D4!!!!!!!

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20 Sara May 20, 2012 at 6:35 am

Hi!!
I saw you great recipe and I decided to go for it! with some little changes but the result was lovely. I linked my post back to you as source of inspiration. Check it out!
Have a lovely baking day,
Sara

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21 Kim - Liv Life December 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I made these fabulous treats for a car load of 13 year old girls and you made me a hero! They gushed about the muffins and I even had one offer to adopt one of them. We posted about them today, but as I made them exactly as you did I’m directing people to your blog for the recipe. Thanks for one of the best recipes we’ve found in a long time!

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