Even though I am an unapologetic wuss when it comes to cold weather, I love this time of year, mostly because it means I can break out the cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks, and it means that I can stock my freezer to capacity with fresh cranberries. And, with these cranberries, I can make my favorite cranberry muffins, and I can even call them healthy because there's wheat flour in them (just ignore the stick of butter. Focus on the wheat and the cranberries). In all seriousness, though, these are delicious, satisfying, and they're great to have when company arrives. I like to keep a batch in the freezer for unexpected guests, or for mornings when I want a baked good but just don't have the gumption to bake.
Jumbo Cranberry Orange Muffins (makes 12)
1/2 cup melted butter 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar 2 eggs 2 tsp. vanilla 1/4 cup whole milk 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or graham flour, which I prefer) finely chopped zest of 1/2 large orange (optional) 1 Tbsp. baking powder 1 tsp. cinnamon 3/4 tsp. salt 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (or frozen, thawed, and drained cranberries)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare muffin tins for baking. 2. In a medium bowl, blend together brown sugar and butter with a wooden spoon. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. 3. Stir in vanilla, milk, and orange juice. 4. In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients (except cranberries). 5. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. 6. Stir in cranberries. 7. Divide batter evenly among muffin tins and bake for 17-20 minutes or until done. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.