"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." ~Confucius

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cranberry-Eggnog Muffins

Jason and I were very busy in the kitchen this past weekend! In one day alone we made a pot of Turkey Noodle Soup from our leftover Thanksgiving turkey, two loaves of Sandwich Bread, and a dozen and a half of these yummy little muffins. We found the recipe in this month's issue of the Food Network Magazine (on page 101), and luckily this was one of those times when the planets aligned and the refrigerator and pantry gods blessed us with everything we needed to try out the recipe!

Here is the recipe from the Food Network website!

For the muffins:
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup rum or apple juice
  • 2 1/2 cups a.p. flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
  • 1 1/2 cup a.p. flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar


Prepare the pan...Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mist a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

Prepare the muffins...Warm the cranberries and rum in a small saucepan over medium heat, then remove from the heat and let steep 5 minutes. Drain. Whisk the flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the butter, eggnog, eggs and vanilla in another bowl. Gently fold into the flour mixture. (The batter will be lumpy; DO NOT overmix.) Fold in the cranberries. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Prepare the topping...Mix the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, salt and brown sugar in a bowl with your fingertips until it looks like wet sand. Sprinkle generously over the batter.

Bake until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly in the pan, then carefully remove to a rack.

I would like to add a couple of things here. First, we soaked our cranberries in rum because that is what we had on hand. While I wished that I had some apple juice instead, I was pleased to discover that the rum flavor had diminished completely after baking. And I really liked the way that it reconstituted the dried cranberries, so I can't really complain. Also, I found that the recipe calls for way too much topping! Our batch made 16 muffins (4 more than the recipe states) and I loaded them up with as much topping as I could, but I still had at least half, if not more, of the topping leftover. IMO, the muffins would be better without any topping at all, but if you like that crumby top on a muffin then I would still recommend cutting the topping recipe in half because you will have plenty...I promise! We've been sprinkling the rest on toast and it's really yummy! We will definitely be making these again. They would be great to freeze and use when we need to have breakfast on the go, but I don't think I will make the topping again because it was far too sweet for me. 

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