Sweet, tart and flavourful, these cinnamon and orange muffins are packed full of festive flavours and studded with cranberries!
The sweet yet tart flavours of cranberries always remind me of cozy winter nights with trays of sweet cranberry granola bars and a cup of tea. These muffins are so delicious; crunchy sugar top with a soft, tender and moist muffin full of sweet cinnamon, orange zest and tart crannies!
Crannies are cranberries by the way, that is what we call them (anyone else?!) .
I am writing this post whilst munching on one of these muffins, they are so good! I wasn't expecting big things from these babies but once 10 minutes into their baking time and rising like little volcanoes, the house was flooded with the smell of all things Christmassy!
The base of these delightful muffins is the dry ingredients; your typical plain flour, a lot of baking powder, a dash of baking soda, a pinch of salt and a generous amount of cinnamon. For me, it is hard to believe that cinnamon and me used to be arch-enemies, I used to really hate it (gasp!). But now, cinnamon and I are best friends; the spice is so warming, comforting and wintery!
Sieve together the dry ingredients and mix it up good, they like to be mixed.
Next comes the vital ingredients that makes these muffins so divine and tender; the wet ingredient.
For these muffins, instead of using soft butter or melted butter, I used a non-flavoured rapeseed oil. I find that if you want a cakier muffins with a sponge-like crumb, you would definitely use soft butter. However, oil lends a very tender and soft crumb, which I find is more "hearty".
With the oil, caster sugar, 2 eggs, yogurt and buttermilk, these ingredients keep these muffins oh-so-good! I use yogurt and buttermilk for 2 reasons ~ 1. if I used all buttermilk, the batter would be too runny and 2. the yogurt has a little more fat than the buttermilk, making the muffins retain their delicate texture and bounce.
What makes these muffins so light and fluffy yet substantial is the reaction between the acid and alkali in the muffin mix. The yogurt and buttermilk both contain lactic acid and the orange juice contains citric acid. These acids react with the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which produces carbon dioxide and bubbles. Once the muffins are in the oven, the chemical reaction speeds up, because of the heat, creating a rapid rise.
Did you like my chemistry lesson?!
I was so upset that I couldn't buy any fresh crannies, they would of been so nice in these muffins, however, I came up with such a good tip to guarantee flavourful muffins!
Gently heat up the juice from 1 large orange and pour over some dried crannies. Leave them for ten minutes and ta dah! Plump crannies full of fresh orange juice, yum! Dry of the crannies and add them to the dry ingredients and add a tablespoon of the red tinted juice to the wet ingredients.
If you are feeling really wild, instead of the orange juice, you could use a orange liqueur or even a brandy or rum for a seasonal twist, but don't give them to the kids though!
Look at those juicy crannies! I managed to pick the muffin with the least amount of cranberries, what skills!
I shall leave you with the view from my attic window, the benefits of living in Scotland!
Cranberry Orange Muffins
Posted by Eve
- 275g plain flour
- 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
- zest and juice of 1 large orange
- 100g dried unsweetened cranberries
- 75g oil, I used rapeseed
- 120g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 120g plain yogurt
- 120ml buttermilk
- Preheat the oven 220ºc/ 210ºc fan/ gas mark 7. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin or line with liners.
- Sieve together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and stir in the orange zest. Set aside.
- Put the sugar, eggs, yogurt and buttermilk into a bowl and whisk together until smooth.
- Gently heat up the juice from the orange in a saucepan on a low heat and pour over the dried cranberries. Leave them for ten minutes. Dry of the cranberries after the soak and add them to the dry ingredients and add 1 tablespoon of the red tinted juice to the wet ingredients.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined but with a few lumps. Using an ice-cream scoop, scoop level scoops into the prepared muffin tin.
- Bake for 5 minutes and then lower the temperature to 190ºc/ 180ºc/ gas mark 5 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown, risen and when a skewer is inserted, it comes out clean.
- Leave the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing and placing on to a wire rack to cool completely.