I didn't intend to bake yesterday (how often do I say that?) but I had an awesome home-made cranberry sauce (my standard for holiday season that I found on epicurious years ago) sitting in the fridge waiting to be used up and I hated to throw it away. This was actually a recipe for a quick bread that I found on the blog A Cookie A Day, but I opted for muffins since they bake so much faster.
This is not as good as my favorite Cranberry Orange Bread, which is pretty much the standard that I hold all cranberry orange combinations up against -- but it's not too bad. A little dry, but not terrible. For all the cranberry sauce in the recipe I was expecting much more zing and flavor from this and this version just didn't deliver. I was also surprised by how thick the batter was -- it almost seemed to be missing something -- like a cup of sour cream or yogurt. And of course if you go to the source recipe you will see that her version was topped with a grand marnier glaze, which seemed like a good idea in theory, but in reality I didn't like the flavor when I made mine and rather than starting over I just left my muffins plain.
My ultimate verdict is that I probably won't make this particular recipe again, or if I do I will add yogurt or sour cream to bring the moisture content up a bit. If I have cranberry sauce to use up in the future I will likely try a variation on my favorite recipe since that one hasn't let me down yet. However, despite the fact that I didn't like the grand marnier glaze when I made it this time, the idea has promise and I will probably experiment with that again.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering pan
1 cup sugar
zest of 2 oranges
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup whole cranberry sauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350. Spray two muffin tins with baking spray.
In the bowl of a large mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the orange zest and mix until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time mixing well after each addition. Combine the orange juice, vanilla, and cranberry sauce in a small bowl and stir to combine. In another small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture and the orange juice mixture half at a time to the egg/butter mixture, mixing on low speed just until the flour disappears.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups (I got 18 standard muffins) and bake for 12-18 minutes until a tester comes out clean. I checked mine after 10 minutes and ended up baking them for about 18 total.