Cranberry Nut Muffins

I have no idea what happened to my cranberry muffin recipe. Certainly, I have made cranberry muffins, and my personal cookbook (you know; the one where you collate hand-written recipes that you have collected over time?) contains two of them, including one that is clearly labeled “Mom’s Cranberry Nut Bread.” But neither of them looks right to me.

So when I opened the cookbook this weekend after buying cranberries, I found myself at a loss for what to do. The logical recipe would be Mom’s, because my mom was a phenomenal cook. (Ask my childhood friends; they’ll back me up.) But while the ingredients looked familiar, the mixing instructions were more complicated than necessary for quick breads or muffins; I can’t believe I’ve ever followed them. The other recipe looked more promising in its simplicity, but the ingredients looked wrong. For example, I like banana bread, but I don’t recall ever using bananas in cranberry muffins. I did, however, like the addition of cinnamon in this recipe, which my mom’s recipe lacked (surprisingly, as my mom was a fan of cinnamon).

I also tried looking online, thinking maybe that’s where I had gone previously for this recipe. But no, nothing there jumped out as familiar, either. I did, however, see some other ingredients that sounded good to me.

In the end, I made something up. Here’s what I ended up with. It’s mostly my mom’s ingredients list, but with a few strategic additions and substitutions, and simpler mixing/preparation steps.

Cranberry Nut Muffins
2 C flour
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 butter
3/4 C orange juice
1 egg, partially beaten
1 C chopped pecans or walnuts
1 – 1 1/2 C fresh cranberries

1. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

2. Melt butter.

3. While butter is cooling slightly, beat together the egg and orange juice. Then add both sugars to the liquid mixture, and mix well.

4. Add butter to the liquid mixture. Mix well.

5. Add flour mixture, stirring just enough to make sure the flour is all moistened.

6. Add nuts and cranberries. Stir together so they are evenly mixed throughout.

7. Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with paper muffin cups. Fill cups only about halfway.

8. Bake at 350 degrees, about 25 minutes, until knife toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean.

This makes about 20-21 muffins. The brown sugar gives them such a rich sweetness that they make a great dessert offering, despite the tartness of the cranberries

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