Baking for Warmth: Mini Apple-Cranberry Muffins

These cold mornings, I find myself wanting something more comforting for breakfast than my standard Special K. Oatmeal does the trick sometimes, but quickly zapping a few mini-muffins from my freezer stash is even better.

Warmed with a hefty shake of cinnamon and a shower of freshly-grated nutmeg, these moist little muffins have lovely pockets of soft-baked apple and bright tart spots of cranberries (Thanksgiving leftovers, thankfully frozen.) With a fair amount of whole-wheat flour they’re just wholesome enough to justify that cake-for-breakfast thing.

They’d be nice with a handful of nuts thrown in, or some chopped up dried apricots. I ran out of eggs this week, but unless you did too, you might even have everything you need in your pantry already. And these are even better if you don’t have to trek outside.

Mini Apple-Cranberry Muffins
adapted from King Arthur Flour
makes 32 mini muffins (You can also make these as full-size muffins—bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees.)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 stick unsalted unsalted butter, at room temperature
scant 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
2 small apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cranberries (leave frozen if they’re already frozen)

Line mini muffin tin with paper liners. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter with both sugars until fluffy. Add egg and mix well, then fold in the buttermilk. Stir in dry ingredients until barely mixed, then add apple chunks and cranberries.

Divide the batter among prepared muffin cups (you’ll probably make two batches depending on the size of your pan, fill any unfilled cups with water.) Bake muffins for 15 minutes and test with a toothpick—bake until the toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a rack.

In apple, baking, muffins

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