Along with pumpkins, winter squash (which, I’ve never cooked, but I’ll get to that soon thanks to Mary Frances), and fresh apples… one of my favorite things about fall is cranberries. Those beautiful, bright red, little round glistening berries with a spunky tartness! I love the boldness of cranberries. I’ll be sharing several more dishes with cranberries this holiday season, but I wanted to give you a sneak peak of the beautiful berry in an elegant little muffin.
I like to make muffins because they are portable, baked in single servings, and are great for quick “on-the-run” breakfasts. I usually make at least one batch of muffins a week. Our muffins vary from week to week: Some weeks we’ll use bananas that are hitting the expiration date, other weeks we’ll use leftover corn from dinner the night before. Muffins can be sweet or savory, fluffy or crumbly, with a glaze or without… muffins give you a choice. I like that.
For the muffins I made this week, I decided to first make a batch of whole-berry cranberry sauce. Talk about a sweet smelling kitchen! If you’ve never made your own cranberry sauce, you should try it. It’s incredibly easy. It’s basically a very simple jam recipe. I love making my own cranberry sauce, because you can always change the flavor. For the liquid you can use plain water, orange juice, grape juice, basically whatever suits your taste buds… my favorite is made with apple juice. I also added one peeled and diced apple to this cranberry sauce, to incorporate apples (Natalie's ingredient of the week) into this week’s menu. Here is the basic cranberry sauce recipe:
Quick Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 2 cups whole cranberries
- 1 cup liquid (water, juice, etc.. I used apple juice)
- 1 cup sugar
Add all ingredients to a small sauce pan. Cook on medium high heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring continuously, until cranberries begin to “pop” and the sauce gets a medium-think “jam” like texture. The cranberry sauce will become more firm as it cools. Serve immediately, or refrigerate once cool. Will keep up to 10 days. It doesn’t get much easier than that folks!
These muffins came about last year because I had an abundance of cranberry sauce. I needed to use it for something, and it was time for muffins, so I just added about a cup of sauce to the batch! They were delicious! To make a less sweet muffin, you can simply use plain uncooked cranberries instead of sauce. If you’re not gluten-free and want to make a wheat version of the muffins, use two cups of plain flour (instead of the gluten-free flours) and leave out the xanthan gum.
Cranberry Apple Muffins
- 2/3 cup tapioca flour
- 2/3 cup brown rice flour
- 2/3 cup sorghum flour
- 1 tsp. xanthan gum
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 eggs, separated
- ½ cup – ¾ cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce made with apples (or add ½ cup, peeled diced apples to muffin batter)
- ¼ cup oil
- ½ cup sugar (optional – you really don’t need this sugar if you’re using cranberry sauce, it’s sweet enough)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. In a large bowl mix egg yolks, yogurt, cranberry sauce, oil, and sugar until combined. Add flour mixture in small batches to egg mixture, stirring just until combined. In a small bowl, whip egg whites until stiff. Slowly, fold into batter. (Batter will be thick – you can add more yogurt if needed). Spoon batter into a muffin tin and bake for 15-17 minutes. This recipe yields 10 large muffins.NOTE: I made a simple cream cheese whipped topping for these muffins by mixing equal amounts of low-fat cream cheese, whipped topping, and powdered sugar. Yum!
This is also my entry for the Garden-Cook-Event at Paulchen’s Food Blog. A different ingredient is chosen every month for the theme of the blogging event. This month is (of course): the cranberry!