One batch of muffins is never enough when I come home which explains the two muffin recipes back to back. Orange and cranberry muffins are by far one of my favourites and I always look forward to making them at this time of year when there are fresh cranberries in the shops.
I first discovered the tangy orange and cranberry combination at, ahem, Starbucks quite a few years ago as one of their Christmas limited editions and was entirely addicted for a whole winter. However I wasn’t going to let the obsession burn a hole in my pocket a second winter running so it became only wise to attempt to make my own. I played around with various recipes, some using marmalade, some using cranberry sauce, and the one I settled on draws from a couple. It makes gorgeous muffins that are not too sweet so the tartness of the cranberries really zing on the tongue which is just the way I like these. Although dried cranberries would do fine I’ve only ever wanted to make these with fresh berries for all their brightness, tanginess, juiciness and loveliness. They burst and wrinkle in the heat of the oven oozing their juices everywhere so when I pull the muffin tray out the whole thing looks like a delightful pink and orange explosion. These muffins don’t rise into the cute mounds I’m used to I think because of the weight of the cranberries. Instead they tend to ooze over the sides onto the tray further adding to that look of explosion but don’t let this dissuade you because they are still wonderfully moist and the scent that fills the kitchen as they bake is so uplifting. In fact I love to savour the scent of one of these first before I tuck into it.
Orange and Cranberry Muffins
Adapted from ‘Muffins Fast and Fantastic’ by Susan Reimer
280g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
½ tsp salt
110g caster sugar
Finely grated orange zest of 3 large oranges
Juice of three oranges (about 260ml); add water to make total of 260 ml if not enough juice
85g butter or 90ml vegetable oil
110g fresh cranberries left whole, plus more for topping (increase the volume of liquid by 3 tbsp if using dried cranberries)
Preheat oven to 190-200˚C (375-400˚F, Gas Mark 6) and prepare muffin tray with muffin cases. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar. In another bowl beat egg with a fork then add zest of orange, juice (plus water if needed), followed by oil/melted butter. Pour all of wet mixture into dry and stir until just combined, adding the cranberries during the final strokes. Batter will be lumpy. Spoon immediately into muffin cases and top each with a few more cranberries. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and spring back when pressed gently.