The combination of tart cranberries sweetened with oranges, another fruit of winter, is one of the classic flavor pairings in baking. Tart, fresh cranberries are a signature fresh fruit of autumn and early winter. Cranberries can be enjoyed throughout the year by freezing them in airtight freezer bags. They keep up to 1 year in perfect condition. This recipe is adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book, Edited by Chuck Williams (Oxmoor House, 2009). They are delicious and I hope you will give them a try.
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
grated zest of 1 orange
4 T. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. strained fresh orange juice
1 1/2 c. fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries
1/2 c. pecans or walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 10 standard muffin cups with butter or butter flavored nonstick cooking spray; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugars, baking powder, salt and orange zest. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, milk and orange juice until blended. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Fold in the cranberries and nuts just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Do not overmix. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them level with the rim.
Bake the muffins until golden, dry and springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and serve warm or at room temperature.