cranberry walnut muffins

Several months ago, Tuesday was invited to a work brunch. She wanted to bring along something crowd-pleasing, easy to make, and most importantly, delicious. She asked if I had any ideas for a muffin recipe. Yes, I did!

This recipe comes from the owner of a farm where I worked during college. It can be easily altered to meet a variety of needs — gluten-free, reduced sugar, pick-the-berry-of-your-choice, add nuts, etc. I bake these muffins quite a lot, and I usually add a heaping cup of mixed berries in place of the blueberries from the original recipe as well as a half cup of chopped hazelnuts. Also, instead of a crumb topping, I make a “sugary-y butter-y topping” that is less crumb and more goo. (That version, baked last summer, is pictured, somewhat poorly, below.) However, since cranberries are making their last stand in grocery stores and farmers markets (if you’re lucky!), I decided to experiment with those instead.

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I made these muffins on Sunday and was it ever the perfect day for standing near the oven. Here’s an image of a small forested area in my neighborhood from that afternoon.

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muffin batter ingredients:

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 c. cranberries
  • 1/2 c. walnuts

sugar-y butter-y topping ingredients:

  • 1/3 c. turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. butter

directions:

Heat oven to 400F and grease a muffin tin. Mix the dry ingredients (both flours, brown sugar, salt, baking powder) together in a bowl. In a second bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (egg, milk, oil.) Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to combine. Using a grater or (preferably) a microplane, zest the lemon directly into the mixing bowl. Cut and juice the lemon and add the juice to the bowl. Mix. Coarsely chop cranberries and toss with flour to prevent bleeding into the batter. Coarsely chop walnuts. Add both the cranberries and walnuts to the batter and mix gently with a rubber spatula to combine. Fill muffin tin with batter.

In a separate bowl, combine sugar, whole wheat flour, and softened butter. Work ingredients together with hands until a smooth butter-sugar glob forms. Put a spoonful of the mixture into the center of each of the muffins. Bake for 22-25 mins. Check for done-ness with a knife or toothpick; the muffins are fully baked when the knife/toothpick comes out clean.

Yields 12 muffins. I am strange and like my muffins huge and exploding out of the tin, so I bake six instead of 12 with the same quantity of batter.

There are numerous appropriate methods to eat a muffin. On its own with a cup of tea or coffee is a pretty standard choice. My favorite method, however, is to eat these muffins for breakfast smashed into a bowl of yogurt with extra nuts on top. Enjoy!

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