If you have Cranberries still lying around post festive season, then this is the recipe you are looking for. I had half a bag of cranberries and I know I am not going to use them up. They will be forgotten on the shelves among the New Year celebrations. So I decided to make some breakfast muffins. Store shelves are still full of oranges and I am using my favorite Cara Cara variety for this recipe.
This is a small batch recipe that yields 6 medium sized muffins. Muffins are best when made fresh so for the two of us 6 is perfect. These can be stored at room temperature (wrapped in cling wrap or vacuum sealed) for up to two days. If you want more yield feel free to multiply the recipe.
If you wan to make large muffins, use the same batter but bake them in standard muffin trays and increase the bake time by 5-8 minutes depending on the doneness.
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What Oranges to use
Any orange is okay except the once that have an extremely bitter zest like Bouquet de Fleurs, Chinotto, and Seville. Most commonly available oranges are great for this recipe. We only use the zest of the Orange. If you don’t have oranges or don’t want to go to the store just to get an Orange, by all means use some natural Orange extract (about 1/2 tsp) .
Frozen Or Fresh cranberries
When in season use the fresh cranberries. It is hard to beat the flavor of the fresh berries. But if you are looking to make this recipe any other time of the year, feel free to use frozen berries. You don’t have to thaw the berries, just use them frozen. Even thought cranberries are a lot sturdier(harder) than other berries, they will turn in to soft juicy pockets bursting with flavor once baked.
The secret ingredient that makes the muffin super moist and flavorful is the Kefir. I have made muffins with yogurt, sour cream, butter milk but this time I decided to use LifewayKefir (#sponsored) fermented whole milk.
What is Kefir?
Well, I am sure this is already a part of some of your diets. But for those who don’t know, it is a tart and tangy cultured dairy drink packed with protein, calcium, and live and active probiotic cultures. So it is just like yogurt but in liquid form. I think this texture exactly matches that of drinking yogurt (good old school days)
The kefir adds a nice tang to this cake which blends perfectly with the lemon. And did you know that lifewaykefir has flavored kefir. YES! there are so many flavors that there is one for everyone out there!
With those sorted out, lets see how to make these cute little muffins now
Gather all the ingredients before starting. Make sure everything is at room temperature.
Grate the zest of half an Orange and mix it with the sugar. Rub the zest and sugar until sugar turns yellow(or orange). This will help release the oils in the zest which brings out maximum flavor.
This batter is simple. Beat butter and sugar until creamy (doesn’t have to be fluffy but until it turns slightly pale)
Then add the egg and beat until the egg disappears.
Mix flour, baking powder.
Add flour and Kefir alternately until you get a smooth, silky batter
Do not overmix!
Final batter should be light, smooth and voluptuous, almost like a butter cake batter. If the batter is too tough/stodgy, add a splash of extra Kefir and fold until incorporated.
Leave this to rest until you preheat the oven to 400 °F
In the meantime prepare a medium muffin tray/ standard cupcake tray. I always use the butter and flour method to make it non-stick.
When the oven is ready, deposit the batter equally into 6 cavities. It is okay to fill to the brim.
Drop 5-6 cranberries into each muffin. Push a few berries in and leave some exposed so that they are nicely spread across the crumb.
Sprinkle a layer of sugar on top. Use either
-raw sugar crystals (demerara sugar)
Be generous with sugar as it will create a nice crunchy top. You can also use other crunchy toppings like, granola or streusel.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes
Once baked, remove from the pan and leave on a wire rack to cool.