Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cranberry Sauce Cranberry Orange Muffins

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
4 eggs
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.


burkie said...

great use for leftover cranberry sauce! (and in my house, when there is cranberry sauce, there is always leftover cranberry house)

giz said...

Perfectly shaped muffins and I love the cranberry - I have a pile of cranberries left over - thankfully I found your recipe for cranberry sauce. I wonder if I could use another red wine rather than Zinfandel.

burkie said...


i'll take this one since maddog is more into beer than wine :)

any red would probably work fine, though i think Zin is the perfect companion to the cranberries & spices. a syrah or shiraz would be my second choice, or a pinot noir.

biscuitpusher said...

see burkie, I knew you were good for something. :)