Citrus Cranberry Muffins

I've mentioned before my fondness for having muffins in the freezer for quick microwaving when I need a mid-morning pick-me-up. And since I'm looking for a pick-me-up, it seems ideal to feature tangy cranberries in the mix every once in a while. You did freeze a bag or three of cranberries when they were on sale right after Thanksgiving, right?

One of the great things about these muffins is that you do not need to thaw the berries at all. Just pop them into the batter at the end and bake away. If you are looking to see that gorgeous red color, pop a few onto the top of each muffin too. Baking the muffins with whole cranberries means they will have a lot of cranberry flavor — which is just what I'm looking for as January digs its claws into everything around us and a little color and a lot of flavor are in order.

In addition to pairing a just-warmed muffin with a cup of coffee mid-morning, you could put together a plate of muffins (all one kind or mix and match) for a morning brunch. Simply take them out the night before and let them thaw on the counter or use the microwaving trick for them in small batches. Presto! You've got a bit of morning delight to share with friends and loved ones.

Citrus Cranberry Muffins

  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • ¼ c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ c. plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Zest from 2 oranges
  • 1 ¾ c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 T. orange juice
  • 2 T. milk
  • 1 ½ c. frozen cranberries (do not thaw)

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on high until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is combined and uniform in texture. Then, beat in the orange zest until combined.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and slowly mix with a spoon. Add the orange juice and milk, gently stirring until combined and little lumps remain. Fold in the cranberries.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F, then, while keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool completely before freezing.

  • Yields: 1 dozen muffins
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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