Harvested from bogs when cold weather arrives and available throughout the winter months, tart, fresh cranberries are a signature fresh fruit of autumn and early winter. They are packaged in 12-oz. plastic bags that contain 3 cups of berries. Cranberries can be enjoyed throughout the year by freezing them in airtight freezer bags; they keep up to 1 year in perfect condition. The combination of tart cranberries sweetened with oranges, another fruit of winter, is one of the classic flavor pairings in baking.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 1 egg
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, or walnut oil
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup strained fresh orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Grease 10 standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, milk and orange juice until blended. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Using a large silicone spatula, fold in the cranberries and nuts just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Do not overmix. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them level with the rim.
Bake the muffins until golden, dry and springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 10 muffins.
Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book, Edited by Chuck Williams (Oxmoor House, 2009)