January 24, 2012

cranberry clementine muffins (or bread)

I have a cooking crush on cranberries.  The little red gems are just gorgeous.  I love when the Official Day Of Eating Too Much (y'know, Thanksgiving) approaches, and the bags of cranberries are abundant in the store.  Sometimes there's even a makeshift bog in the produce section, and gosh, is that ever exciting to me.  I love the beautiful crimson color.  I love the shape of the berries.  I love watching them burst into delicious pockets of flavor as they bake.  Of course I love eating them. 

There's a coffee shop slash bakery in town that offers delicious cranberry muffins.  Since it just so happens to be across the street from my office, I could easily eat a baker's dozen in a month's time.  My waistline and wallet are begging me to reign it in a bit.  I've got good news for my wallet and bad news for my waistline: I've perfected a recipe for these muffins at home.  And - shh, don't tell - I think they might even be a bit better.

The first time I tried this recipe, I actually made a cranberry bread loaf.  It was good, though I missed the abundance of crunchy outside bites that come with making muffins.  So I tried it again - and again - with muffins, and my crush has blossomed to true love. 

The cranberry-orange flavor combination is popular for good reason, though I love replacing the citrus with clementines.  The sweet little guys add a fantastic contrast to the tart berries.  For me, the best part is the sprinkle of raw sugar on top, which gets crunchy as it bakes.  When I fill the muffin tins, I'm careful to dollop a few berries right on top, because when those berries burst & meet that crunchy sugar, something magic happens. 

Cranberry & Clementine Muffins
makes one dozen muffins*

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
2 3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 dark brown sugar
zest of one clementine
2 tbs fresh clementine juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 c whole milk
1/3 c vegetable oil
2 c fresh cranberries, rinsed & dried
1 tbs granulated sugar
demerara or turbinado (natural) sugar for garnish

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, mixing completely.  In a separate bowl, combine zest, juice, egg, milk & oil.  Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture.  Stir until just combined.  Toss cranberries with the granulated sugar, then stir into the batter.  Spoon batter into greased muffin pans, about two-thirds full.  Sprinkle a generous amount of the raw sugar on top of each muffin, then bake at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.

Remove muffins from pan & enjoy within two days.

*Also makes one standard loaf of bread, if desired.


  1. Sounds wonderful. Cannot wait to go home and try this recipe. Love cranberries and clementines are my favorite citrus!

  2. I worked on a Cran Apple Quick Bread at work today. Delish!