Sunday, January 15, 2012
Cranberry Orange Sweet Harmony
Some flavors I really believe were created to mingle with others to become a product on there own. I also believe that there are still a million other flavors waiting to be mixed and matched by some creative kitchen chef or scientist. I'll leave those to the mixologists of the world to work on and until then, I'll stick to those flavor combinations that I have committed to memory.
I can't honestly say when I had cranberry and orange flavors mixed together for the first time. It may have been a Thanksgiving dinner way back when my mom added orange juice to the cranberry sauce. That citrus provided some extra zing that made the tart cranberry wake up. Or maybe it was that first cranberry-orange scone I tasted at the local tea house my mom and I would go to as a teen. This I do know: cranberry-orange is a delightful and easy flavor that just works well on every level whether part of a complex dish or a simple one. It's also one of those flavors you can fall back on when needing to whip-up a sweet little morning treat.
I buy cranberries on sale after Thanksgiving and then freeze them. I like to use them in canning, coffee cakes, simple syrups (Cosmos anyone?) or sugared for a pretty garnish. As with most anywhere today, citrus is available year-round here in Texas and I always have a bowl of it on my table, especially in the winter to keep things looking and tasting fresh. Yes, this is an old recipe and yes, it's probably one you have made before, but remember how good they were when you opened one up and exposing those jeweled cranberries, then that zing of orange tingled your tongue at the same time that the cranberry popped with a tart burst of flavor? Yep, that's what I thought! You feel like making some right now, right? Well, if not now, then maybe the next time that someone reminds you how good those flavors are together... I'm jus' sayin'!
Cranberry Orange Muffins with Crumb Topping
Preheat oven to 400°f
In a large bowl whisk the following:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Then add the following and stir until combined:
1 cup cranberries
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
In a small bowl combine the following. (If your butter is cold and hard, use the cheese grater to grate the butter into bits and then combine with fingers to create "crumbs")
Streusel Crumb Topping
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
Line your 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners ( I used these fun new ones I got as a Christmas gift). Fill 3/4 full with muffin batter in each muffin paper. Then sprinkle 1 tbs. of crumb mixture on top of batter (you can use less but I happen to love that crumb topping which is why I use more). Don't pack the crumb mixture down. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and when you place a tooth pick in the middle of the muffin it should come out clean.
These beauties freeze well if you can actually stop eating them...
Or place a couple in a basket with some orange juice and champagne for a neighbor?