Christmas morning goodies #1: Anytime Cranberry Muffins

So Christmas morning, I actually set my alarm to get up before everybody so I could cook some breakfast goodies to eat while we were opening presents. (Yeah, I’m awesome. I know.)

I made Hanky Pankies, which are little bites of sausagey-beef goodness and homemade cranberry muffins. When my daughter bit into one of the muffins, she stopped and said, “Ok, these can happen just…anytime, right?” I consider that a win.

I found the muffin recipe on Barefeet in the Kitchen via Pinterest (don’t you just love Pinterest?). It was listed as a Cranberry Christmas Cake, but I decided to make it into muffins so it would be easy to eat without forks, or plates, or any of that formal stuff. Who wants to mess with all that when there are gifts to open?!

Start by beating 3 eggs and 2 cups of sugar with an electric mixer until thickened and light in color, about 5-7 minutes. The mixture will be almost double in size when you finish. (I had never used a recipe where the eggs act as the leavening agent — no baking soda, baking powder, or anything. Beating them to the right consistency is very important. Go by the time, especially the first time you make this. There will be a ribbon of batter from the beaters when you lift them.)

Add 3/4 cup of softened butter (1 1/2 sticks) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. I also threw in a splash of orange extract...maybe a teaspoon. Beat for another 2 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of flour until just combined. Add 12 ounces of fresh cranberries and stir by hand until they are mixed throughout the batter.

Fill lined muffin tins with batter. (If you don’t have liners, be sure to grease each of the cups, preferably with butter.) It doesn’t rise very much, so go ahead and fill them at least 3/4 full. I easily made 24 muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the muffin pans and serve while still warm.

You can also make this into a snack cake by spreading the batter in a buttered 9×13 pan and cooking for 40-50 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before cutting into small slices.

And like my daughter said, these can happen just ANYTIME!

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