With the holidays fast approaching, Christmas morning recipe ideas are at the top of my to-do list. Lots of folks will be busy opening gifts and sharing time with their families and no one wants to be stored away in the kitchen and miss out on all the fun. So, while many a strata will be made on December 24th, here’s another idea that will bring a festive dimension to your holiday breakfast that can be made ahead. Orange, Cranberry, Carrot Cake Muffins.
When it comes to muffins, I’m pretty fussy. I like them moist, with nutritious ingredients, full of flavour and not too sweet. A muffin should not be a cupcake. I don’t think muffins need a lot of sweet, sticky toppings; I think the muffin should be good enough that it can stand alone. I like muffins that work for breakfast, can be packed with a lunch, are great grab n’ go’s, and fill the void between after school and supper. This muffin really fits the bill. But it also brings a dimension of satisfying holiday flavours in the orange, the cranberries, the carrots, the nuts, coconut and spices that your family and guests will really love.
These muffins do not have an oily taste, they’re light and very moist from the use of the whole orange. The fruit and nuts add texture, flavour and good nutrition. Whip up a batch of these muffins over the holidays; prepared ahead,they’ll keep you out of the kitchen and free to enjoy the spirit of Christmas.
Cranberry Orange Carrot Cake Muffins
1 seedless navel orange, quartered, rind included
2/3 cup (150 ml) orange juice (approx.)
3/4 cup (175 ml) packed brown sugar
1/3 cup ( 75 ml) canola oil
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla
1 3/4 cups (425 ml) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (10 ml) cinnamon
1 tsp. (5 ml) baking powder
1 tsp. (5 ml) baking solda
1/2 tsp (2 ml) each ground nutmeg and salt
2 cups (500 ml) grated carrots
1/2 cup (125 ml) each dried cranberries and chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup (125 ml) shredded coconut
1. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease and set aside. 2. In food processor, finely chop the orange. My food processor didn’t chop the orange fine enough for me so I ended up using my hand-held blender. I really ground up the orange to a fine pulp until it was foamy and resembled jam. How much you grind up the orange is really a personal preference. You may like to leave little fine pieces of orange or you can grind it to a foaming pulp like I did. The skin of the orange can be quite strong so if you like a milder orange taste, grind it up well.
2. Scrape the orange into a liquid measuring cup; add enough orange juice to make 1 1/3 cups (325 ml). Scrape into a bowl and whisk in eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla until well mixed.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt; scrape orange mixture over the top. Add carrots, cranberries, chopped pecans and 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the coconut; stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, approximately 3/4 full and evenly distributed (I personally have trouble with this part; too much in some, not enough in another — whatever; don’t fuss, it always works out in the end).
4. Bake in the centre of a 350 °F (180 °C) oven until tops are firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let cool on the rack for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool on the rack. (If you decide to make these ahead; store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours or wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month.)
Adapted from Canadian Living Holiday Baking, Fall 2004
Happy Baking ~ I hope you stop by again real soon!
This Sweet Wife ♥