Friday, October 26, 2012

Muffin Kick Round 3: Cranberry Orange

Muffin Kick Round 3:
Cranberry Orange

So my dad was coming into town from California, actually still is in town, and he requested some cranberry orange muffins. So I looked through some recipes and found this one hidden among them. Having never made these particular muffins before I figured dad would be a good guinea pig. After all, he usually doesn't mind it and gives pretty good constructive criticism when I need it. I got good reviews for this one so I deemed it worthy of coming onto my blog. Wouldn't want to post something that I didn't get the approval of my taste-testers.

So like most muffins, these are fairly easy. Hardest thing was finding the damn cranberries in the grocery store. I really like that these muffins are made with whole wheat flour, I like the color it gives the muffins and whole wheat just sounds healthier in general, right?

Alright, so let's not waste any time here. Unless you want how was your day? Mine was alright, worked both jobs now I'm enjoying a refreshing beverage and writing this lovely entry. My puppy dog is at my feet and she'll probably stay least until she realizes I have no food, I'm just writing. Yep...that's my exciting Friday night. Well, I got big plans for tomorrow so I can handle a quiet night tonight.

So let's get started on these muffins. Here's what you'll need material-wise: 2 medium/large bowls, mixing spoon, and a muffin tray. Simple right? Yes. Excellent!

2 cups whole wheat flour (I added extra, probably about 1/3-just under 1/2 a cup)
1/3 cup sugar (I ended up with closer to 1/2 a cup probably)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups orange juice
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (you can cut them in half if you so choose, I didn't...mainly because I forgot)

OK so first...preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, in a large bowl get the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together and mix them all up.

Next...get a medium sized bowl and combine the orange juice, oil, and egg. Mix it all up so the egg is well beaten and the oil isn't separated from it all. So you add the orange juice to the egg and oil...

 Yummy, yummy orange juice

And...BOOM! Whisk it all together so it's all wonderful and fantastic!

Now what you're going to do is create that "well" we talked about in my Old-Fashioned Raspberry Muffins entry. Basically, it's a hole in the center of the dry ingredients. It really does help get all the dry ingredients moistened a lot better without having to stir the batter a lot, which can cause the muffins then to not rise properly, be tough, or just not good in general. So make this well as displayed...

Then it's very simply, you're going to pour the wet mixture into the well. Now this one has quite a large amount of liquid, which is why I added extra flour. So the liquid fills the well and pretty much covers the top of the dry ingredient well.

No worries though! Just gently mix it all up and get everything night and moist. You want it to be all mixed, meaning you don't want random clumps of dry flour ingredient and stuff. And don't be a afraid to mix the batter well, just basically don't sit there mixing and stirring for more than a minute or so. Don't go getting all crazy having fun and stir it for 5 minutes. That won't lead to deliciousness of the muffins. What you can do once everything is mixed in, is add the cranberries.

These, you fold in. "Fold" means scooping up from the bottom of the bowl and making that folding motion with your spatula/mixing spoon. This helps mix the cranberries in without continuing to stir the batter. See? It's a very sneaky technique, it makes you think your stirring and mixing the batter more...but you're not.

Now it's time to get them in the pan! Either coat the muffin tray with cook spray, misted olive oil, grease and flour, however you want to do it. Me? I personally like to just use the paper liners. It's a way easier clean up. Fill them about 3/4 full. I filled mine a little more because I only wanted 12 muffins. I was giving them to my dad and didn't want to give him 16+ muffins. And they didn't puff over and come together so if you want to fill them mostly full, be my guest.

So you're going to fill them up, then pop them in the preheated, 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. I put mine in for 15 then turned the pan around and put them in for another I believe 3 or 4 minutes. Every oven is different, check yours and watch your muffins carefully. They're done when a toothpick or cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean. And you want them to look like they're cooked, I usually cook mine a couple extra minutes because once they cool down a set I don't want them to be mushy. No one likes mushy muffins. Even if the alliteration sounds nice, mushy muffins are not good.

So here's my favorite muffin shot while they're cooking. See they're just beginning to rise and get all yummy looking. This is at about the halfway mark. This is when I concluded that filling the cups slightly fuller wasn't going to be disastrous.

Once the muffins are finished cooking, you want them to be lightly browned, let them cool in the tray for about 5 minutes. This helps them set a bit and makes them easier, and not so hot, to handle. Move them to a wire rack to cool completely...or until they've cooled enough to where you want to eat them.

Well, there you go! Done and done! Now I probably used more cranberries than directed in the recipe. I know my dad likes cranberries and the extra in the muffins would be something he would enjoy. For people who would prefer more of an orange taste than cranberry I would suggest not adding extra orange juice, all that's going to do it make the muffins runny. *Eww* So here's what I would do: Either add some orange extract (probably 1/4-1/2 teaspoon) or a teaspoon or 2 of orange zest. I'm thinking either of those would boost the orange flavor and counter the cranberry if you want that. If you want balance, add the amounts I listed in the ingredients above.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Suggestions? Let me know :) I'm happy to hear!

Thanks for reading!
'Til Next Time!!

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