Tuesday, December 27

Best Bread Recipe of 2011: Cranberry Orange Muffins

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 Countdown to 2011 with Finding Joy in My Kitchen

I am linking this recipe up to Finding Joy in My Kitchen's Countdown to 2012: Best Bread Recipes.  Although, I know this isn't a "bread" recipe, it is what is referred to as a "quick bread," meaning yeast is not used for leavening.  Instead, a quick leavening agent such as baking soda or baking powder is used.  Thus, making it quick as compared to yeast breads which can often take several hours.  Unfortunately, in all the recipes I posted this year, I didn't do one single bread, so I thought this was just as well!  I did make these as muffins originally, but as with most muffin recipes, it could also be easily baked in a loaf form as well.  Simply lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  

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As I have mentioned *a time or two* here before, I am using more whole grains (really whole foods in general) in the kitchen. Some areas are better than others. Such as rice--we use brown rice exclusively around here now.  And let me be upfront--I don't love brown rice.  Not by any stretch.  I prefer white rice, but I know the brown is better for you, so we do that instead.  But get this--a friend of mine told me that using something a little "higher end" really helps in the way of enjoying brown rice.  Let me explain--I am a "bulk foods girl" (almost always).  And I am frugal.  Whatever brown rice was the cheapest, I was buying.  However, my friend told me, get the basmati brown rice instead of the standard long/short grain.  I was skeptical to say the least, but I thought, okay I'll try it this once.  And it really does make a difference.  Pair the "better" rice and using chicken stock instead of water to cook it--um, yes, thank you, I'll have seconds.  For reals, try it--let me know what you think.  I think it's nearly as good as white rice.  

Anyhow, this post wasn't supposed to be about rice.  For flour, I try to do whole wheat as much as possible as well.  We do whole wheat for sandwich bread, whole wheat pancakes and waffles, whole wheat banana bread and most of our muffins are whole wheat as well--I have switched to exclusive whole wheat in the Best Ever Muffins and Morning Glory Muffins as well as many others.  That said, there is something about fruit and whole wheat that doesn't sit as well with me.  Like the scones, when it comes to things like blueberry muffins or in this case, cranberry orange muffins, I just couldn't go all the way.  I did compromise though and did half and half (nearly).  And you know what?  They were good!  The all whole wheat may not be half bad either--slathered in butter of course.

Update: My, my, how things change in 12 months time!   I now use freshly ground soft white wheat flour (as of Summer 2011) exclusively in my baked goodies like muffins and cookies.  Read more about that over here.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease bottoms of a muffin pan or line with paper liners and set aside.

1 cup frozen cranberries (don't thaw)
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
3/4 cup milk (I used whole, but I am sure most milk would work just fine)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (vegetable oil would work too)
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar + 1 additional tablespoon (mine was rapadura)
1 1/4 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder (since switching to aluminum free, I have found it to more reactive than regular baking powder--if using regular baking powder use 2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp salt

In a small bowl, toss frozen cranberries, 1 tablespoon of sugar and orange zest.  Set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix melted coconut oil and milk.  Whisk in egg and and remaining sugar.  Add in flours, baking powder, and salt and start folding wet and dry ingredients together.  When about half way incorporated, add in cranberry mixture and fold together until dry ingredients are just moistened. 

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Cookie65 said...

Love your blog but its very irritating to try to read the pink lettering against the white background!! And I have good eyesight.

SnoWhite said...

I love orange and cranberry together -- these look like great muffins.


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