Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cranberry Orange Muffins with Brown Sugar Pecan Crumble Topping


A week or so ago, my husband and I were on our way down to New Orleans to enjoy a day of music and food at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  Since we left fairly early in the morning, I popped into a coffee shop on the way and picked up a cranberry orange muffin.  Oh my!  I realized that it's been a really long time since I've enjoyed one of these.  The sweet, tender muffin is a joy when paired with the juicy burst of tangy cranberries and the sweet crunchy topping.  It's a nice balance without having just an overly sweet muffin.  

Fast forward... I've been digging through a bunch of OLD handwritten recipes that I've collected over the years, because I remember a dear friend giving me a recipe for cranberry bread when we were in school together.  I finally found it, and adapted it a bit to make these muffins with a crunchy brown sugar pecan crumble topping.  My mother was the one who showed us her love by making everything just a bit extra special.  My friend JKN from OT school is the one that showed me that you could do it all - be a great mom, wife, friend, and professional.... and STILL find the time to cook at home!  

Ingredients:

Brown Sugar Pecan Crumble Topping -
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter
Muffin Batter -
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 c butter, slightly softened
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cups whole cranberries 
Step-by-Step: (Written method at bottom of post.)

First lets make the topping -
It's a no-brainer.  Just dump all the topping ingredients together, butter being the last thing.   
1/4 cup oatmeal

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
*Tip - They are pricier, but if you need a time saving step, you can purchase the pecans already chopped.
3 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

3 Tbsp melted butter
 Mix to combine.  I find a fork easiest for this.  You will want it to resemble coarse sand at the end.
Now we are ready for the batter -
I like to prepare my pans before the batter when I'm baking.  That way, I am ready to go!  Spray your muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.  I used a butter flavored spray. 
*Tip - I am using the "jumbo" muffin tins.  Feel free to make yours smaller.  You will save some time by using smaller muffins, which will cook more quickly.  

Mix all of your dry ingredients together first.

Sift your flour.  It makes it airy to help avoid packiness.
2 cups sifted all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt
 Now start adding the "wetter" ingredients.
1/4 cup butter, slightly softened
Prepare your cranberries.  I like to dredge mine in a bit of flour first.  It helps absorb some of the juice as they bake, and also keeps them from "dropping" to the bottom.
1/2 cup whole cranberries
 Add a little flour.  I didn't even measure.  The amount is not all that important.
 Mix the cranberries around until they are coated with the flour.
 Add the orange juice.
3/4 cup orange juice
 Add the egg.
1 egg, beaten.
 Add the pecans.
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Add the floured cranberries.
1/2 cup whole cranberries, dusted with flour.  I did not add the extra flour from this bowl.
Now mix to combine.  But please do not over mix or beat this batter.
It will be thick and pretty lumpy.  That's fine.
Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin tins.

Spoon the topping over the batter.
Press the topping gently but firmly into the batter.

Bake in the 375 degree preheated oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  (Less time for smaller muffins.)
Your house will smell divine!!
Let them cool for a few minutes in the muffin pan.  To remove them, I ran a knife around the edges first before inverting the muffins.  You WILL lose some of the topping.  Expect it.  But it's fabulous to clean up.. with your fingers to your mouth! :)

Now cut one of these tender, fragrant muffins open.  Oh MY!!!  Tart juicy cranberries, the slight orange flavor, the sweet and crunchy topping of brown sugar and nuts!  OH YEAH!!  That will definitely make someone's breakfast or brunch sweeter!



Written Method:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Make the crumble first - mix all ingredients with a fork until it looks like coarse sand.  Set aside the topping.  Now make the batter.  Mix all of the dry ingredients for the muffin batter together.  Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Add in the beaten egg and the orange juice all at once.  Next, dredge the cranberries in a bit of flour, then add the whole cranberries and nuts to the mix.  Mix to blend, but do NOT beat.  You do not want to over mix the batter or they will be tough.  

Spoon the batter into 6 jumbo muffin tins sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Divide the crumble topping evenly over the top of the batter, and push down slightly.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Note -  You could cook these faster by making them into the standard size muffins rather than the jumbo muffins.  Adjust the baking time accordingly (probably 25 - 30 minutes).  Conversely, you could also spread the batter into one bread pan and make into a loaf (cook 50 - 60 minutes).
Enjoy this recipe?
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3 comments:

  1. These look delicious! I'm hosting a new linky party. I would love for you to join it. http://hickorytrailblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/assets-and-efforts-linky-party-2.html

    Thanks,
    Angela

    ReplyDelete
  2. These were great. I misread the butter and did a 1/2 cup instead of a 1/4. They were very butter but delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for making these jumbo sized!! That's how I make all my muffins!!!!

    ReplyDelete

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