Pucker up for a Cranberry kiss

Now that Halloween is officially behind us, I think we can safely start discussing holiday type food-stuffs. My list of these foods include: gravy, cookies, potica and cranberries.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I love to abuse my tastebuds. Salty, sour, bitter, tart — I’ll try any harsh or intense flavor. Fresh cranberries fall into the category of tart, and boy were the ones I picked up from the store pucker worthy. They bounced.

HPIM1124Can you say gorgeous?

(Note: When you do buy fresh cranberries make sure they pass the bounce test. Fresh cranberries bounce; Bad cranberries go splat. This is hard when you’re buying bagged cranberries. Just make sure they’re firm to the touch and they have a nice color to them. Cranberries can range from dark red to pale pink/white.)

I decided to test a recipe for cranberry muffins from Mark Bittman and his heavy tome, “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.”

HPIM1122Yes, I am a vegetarian with a real set of bull horns. I’m complicated and they have a great story.

Here are the ingredients as they appear on page 693:

Cranberry Muffins (from Mark Bittman)

3 T. melted butter or neutral oil (I used butter)

1.5  cups all-purpose flour

.5 cup cornmeal

.5 cup sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

.5 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (I used fresh)

(I also tossed in about .5 cup of chopped walnuts)

HPIM1123Ready…set…BAKE!

This recipe was really easy. Preheat oven to 400* F. Line muffin tin with muffin cups or grease with oil or butter (makes about 12 medium muffins or 8 super-sized ones). Combine all dry ingredients. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet. Mix together. Add berries and nuts. Fold in. Bake.

HPIM1132Never was the sentence “batter will be lumpy” more appropriate.

Now the recipe said to bake 20 to 30 mintues. I had mine in for 19 and they were just a shade past perfectly golden. Next time I’ll start checking around the 15 minute mark. Burned muffins are just no good.

cran_muff_lookers

Mine turned out wonderfully. I will be making these again; sooner rather than later. The muffin was lovely, with a sweet and soft — but not mushy — crumb. I love the texture the cornmeal adds, and I could see and taste the cinnamon.

I would recomend using fresh cranberries. These held their shape and did not make the muffin soggy. When bitten into, however, they popped open with a tongue tingling tartness.

I can’t wait for tomorrow morning. A cranberry muffin and a hot cup of coffee. Hello, heaven?

My grade for this recipe: A

What are your favorite breakfast foods? Any easy morning meals you’d like to share?


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