Cranberry Walnut Muffins

This recipe is 20 years old this month, and I'll be taking the index card labeled Cranberry Bread out of my recipe box around this time every year until I'm 100, my fingers are arthritic and I just can't bake anymore, damn it. These muffins are guaranteed to make your house, loft, Heights bungalow or Montrose fourplex apartment smell so good you'll have to fight the neighbors off with a stick.

Erin of Reading My Tea Leaves, a beautiful blog I've been reading for a few years, posted it last October. She could make a Lean Cuisine sound romantic, full of homespun charm. The recipe, which can be found at Epicurious.com , is easy and fast. As bread, I find that it falls apart too easily when I slice it - it's just so crumbly - that I prefer to make muffins. But maybe it's because I can limit myself to just one muffin (or two), and they're super handy to take to work for breakfast.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries (I use almost 2 cups of whole cranberries)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I use almost 1 cup of walnuts)

As you can see from the photo above, Erin added fresh ginger and rosemary to her lineup of ingredients. This recipe is great because there is room to experiment!

How to: Step 1. In a food processor or in a bowl with a pastry blender blend together the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, the salt, the baking soda, and the butter until the mixture resembles meal and transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Step 2. In a small bowl whisk together the zest, the juice, and the egg, add the mixture to the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined.

Step 3. Stir in the cranberries and the walnuts and transfer the batter to a well-buttered 9- by-5-inch loaf pan or muffin pan.

Step 4. Bake in the middle of a preheated 350°F oven for one hour for bread, about 45 minutes for muffins, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the bread/muffins cool in the pan for 15 minutes and turn out onto a rack.

Get thee to Disco Kroger or Target, I've seen fresh cranberries in both locations, and snag a few bags! Whether in loaf or muffin form, they're sure to warm the heart and please the tummy.

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