Jane Espenson, a TV writer I adore, was recently on twitter talking about how she’s never satisfied by the store bought cranberry muffins she gets at various coffee shops. I know what she means because I feel the exact same way. The muffins at those chain coffee shops are either too orangey or too sweet, and they never, ever have enough cranberries in them. I have one coffee shop by me, Catalina Coffee, whose cranberry muffins are nearly perfect. They still don’t have enough cranberries, but they’re not too sweet and they’re unbelievably moist. Why all the talk about cranberry muffins? Because this is the time of year they seem to be everywhere.
Every fall into winter I try tons of different cranberry muffins and never seem to find the perfect version, mainly because they’re all lacking in the cranberry department. The other problem with store-bought cranberry muffins is that they only seem to be around for a few months. Once cranberries disappear from the grocery store shelves so do those delectable little treats. That’s why I always, always buy an extra bag or two and freeze them. That way I can make delicious cranberry muffins year round and include all the cranberries I want. But I don’t have to stick to just cranberries, I can add nuts or apples or even orange juice… if I really want to that is.
It’s unfortunate that this time of year there aren’t too many fruits available. All you can really find these days are citrus fruits and a numerous variety of apples. But luckily I love apples. Granny Smiths used to be the only apple I’d touch because the grocery store sells them year round and they have a wonderful sweet crunch. But thanks to the farmer’s market, I’ve recently discovered several other varieties that are just as good, if not better – Pippins, Fuji, and my favorite, the Pink Lady. I’ll eat them straight from the vendor or add them to salads, pies and muffins. I added them to my cranberry muffins and I was immediately transported to nirvana. The sweet apples combined with the tangy cranberries made for the perfect alternative to the typical blueberry muffin. But what was even better was that this was a muffin I wasn’t going to find in any coffee shop display case. This was a muffin that would only come out of my oven… or yours.
Cranberry Apple Muffins
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup light sour cream
- 1 cup pastry flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
- 1 large apple, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the sour cream.
- In a separate bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined.
- Fold in the cranberries and apples.
- Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and serve.