February 12, 2010

The Perfect Pairing for a Long Weekend: Cranberry Walnut Muffins

Long weekends are the best.  I love waking up on Monday and having it not be a “Monday”.  And for those days, what you really need is an easy muffin you can quickly bake in the morning that will leave your house or apartment smelling delicious for the whole day. This is especially enticing when it’s cold and snowy and you don’t have much incentive to leave said home. This long weekend also happens to be Valentine’s Day, and these spicy muffins flecked with cranberries, orange, and nutmeg, these will warm you to the core.  The perfect remedy for a chilly long weekend.

I made these muffins this week and they were particularly good when toasted with a little butter or orange marmalade.  I added orange zest and walnuts because I like my muffins to have a bit more texture, but I’m sure they would be delightful without those additions.  Nigella calls them “Christmas-Morning Muffins”, but I would suggest baking them from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day and any time in between.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins (adapted from Nigella’s Christmas-Morning Muffins from How to Be a Domestic Goddess)
Makes 12 muffins

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. nutmeg
Juice from one orange
1 tbsp. orange zest
¼ c. milk
¼ c. unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
½ c. dried cranberries
½ c. chopped walnuts

2 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and nutmeg.  Squeeze the orange juice into a liquid measuring cup, then pour in the milk until the mixture comes up to the 2/3 cup mark.  Add the melted (and cooled) butter, egg, and the zest to the milk and juice and whisk to combine.  Pour the liquid ingredients in to the dry and stir til the ingredients are just combined.  Gently fold in the cranberries and walnuts and fill the muffin cups.  Mix together the topping ingredients and lightly sprinkle the mixture onto the tops of each muffin.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle of the muffins comes out clean.

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