Come fall, I start dreaming about cranberry confections. This recipe, adapted from Food & Wine Magazine’s March 2001 issue, called for fresh or frozen whole cranberries. I really wanted to make these with whole cranberries, but couldn’t find any. So I subbed dried sweetened cranberries instead. I erred in only using 3/4 cup, thinking that when they plumped, they’d double in size. Well, maybe they did double, but I wanted more cranberries. So I’ve adjusted the recipe below accordingly.
These muffins are the bomb and are almost cupcake-like! So tender and delicate, so moist and flavorful. I was short on orange zest when I made these, so there was barely a hint of orange; but they were still delicious. Be sure you use the full amount of orange zest for best flavor. The crumb topping is to die for, especially with the glaze made with the leftover juice from plumping the cranberries. (Food & Wine’s glaze was just confectioner’s sugar and water.)
Really, these are a winner. You might want to double the recipe, because these will go fast.
|Glazed Cranberry-Orange Muffins with Walnut Crumb Topping|
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, March 2001
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
|INGREDIENTS: 1-1/4 cups dried, sweetened cranberries|
4 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, divided use
4 Tbsp. water
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided use
3/4 cup sugar, divided use
2-1/4 tsp. baking powder, divided use
11 Tbsp. (1 stick + 3 Tbsp.) Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend (or butter), melted, divided use
1/4 cup chopped or broken walnuts , toasted
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1-1/2 Tbsp. orange zest, packed
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt (I used Stonyfield Farm)
1 X-large egg
1 cup confectioner’s (10X) sugar
Combine cranberries, OJ concentrate and water in small saucepan; heat to boiling; cover; off heat; let sit for 30 minutes to plump.
Heat oven to 425F (400F for dark or coated pans). Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Make crumb topping: In medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 tsp. baking powder. Stir in 3 Tbsp. melted butter, then add walnuts, pinching mixture into clumps with fingers. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, whisk together remaining 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest. Drain the cranberries well, pressing them down in a sieve, but catch the juices that remain. Pat the cranberries dry by rolling them in several thicknesses of paper towels. Add them to the flour mixture, tossing to coat well.
In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 8 Tbsp. melted butter, yogurt and egg. Pour the flour mixture into the liquids and stir lightly with a spoon or spatula just till barely combined. Do not overmix – it’s okay to have some lumps. Spoon batter into muffin cups and cover with crumb topping. Gently press topping onto muffins.
Bake about 15 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near center returns clean. Cool muffins on wire rack. While muffins are cooling, prepare a glaze using 1 cup confectioner’s sugar and about 2 Tbsp. of the reserved juice from the cranberries. Use as much of the juice as you need to make a thin glaze. Drizzle it over tops of muffins and let them air dry till the glaze hardens. Serve immediately or freeze for later use. Yield: 12 muffins
1. To make a lower-fat muffin, use 1/2 cup applesauce + 2 Tbsp. melted butter, instead of 8 Tbsp. butter.
2. Easy way to melt the butter – In large microwaveable bowl, heat ALL the butter on high, covered, till it melts. Prepare topping ingredients using 3 Tbsp. of butter from large bowl. Mix the egg & yogurt with the remaining butter in the large bowl.
3. If you use fresh or frozen whole cranberries for this recipe, increase cranberries to 1-1/2 cups, and toss them with 2 Tbsp. additional sugar before adding to flour.
4. Large egg may be substituted for the X-large egg, if desired.