Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cranberry Orange Muffins {Lightened Up}


They don't often grace my breakfast table since, while delicious, they are typically oversized and full of fat and calories. As my favorite comedian would say...muffins are just bald cupcakes. :)

Not these muffins, though. When I was home last week, my mom made a batch of these muffins based on a Cooking Light recipe she found. They were light and flavorful, not heavy like most muffins. They were perfect with a hot mug of tea and a piece of fruit.

They don't look like much on the outside (don't cook them until they get golden brown - they're  perfectly cooked and moist when they're just done). But, they are beautiful on the inside, and they're slightly sweet and packed with the bright flavors of cranberry and orange. The kitchen smelled warm and homey when they were baking.

Perfect for the holidays or any winter weekend!

Cranberry Orange Muffins (Lightened Up)

Makes 1 dozen, Adapted from Cooking Light's Fresh Cranberry Muffins

2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries (frozen will also work)
2/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla 
1 heaping Tbsp. orange zest
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. coarse or turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in bowl; mix together. Stir in cranberries. In a separate bowl, combine milk, butter, orange zest, vanilla and egg; add wet mixture to the flour mixture, and stir just until combined (do not overbeat).

Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with wrappers or sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle tops with coarse sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes, until muffins spring back when touched in center or toothpicks come out clean. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

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