Posts Tagged ‘Cranberry’

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.)

2 eggs

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


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Ryan James Thompson was born November 14, 1990 … 21 years ago. It feels

more like 10, maybe 12.  For me, time is like a dangling carrot, you chase it

frantically, but you just never quite reach it … there just never seems to be

quite enough time.   Despite our long days and short nights here on the farm,

the years seem to roll along at a breakneck pace and as much as we try to cram

in every last detail of work and play, the days just get away on us.  21 years

ago Ryan came into the world and thrust his dad and I on an

amazing adventure of raising an awesome and inspiring son, so today is a

special day. 

Since I bake a lot of birthday cakes you would think I would have had an

amazing cake in honour of Ryan’s 21st birthday but with other orders to fill,

cake just wasn’t on the menu.  So, with little time, I needed to come up with a

desert that would be special and delicious.  This ended up being a perfect

finish to a perfect day. 

Served warm with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and a scoop of vanilla bean

ice cream, this is the kind of food I live for. The cranberries are slightly tart

and the orange offers a beautiful subtle, citrus flavour.  The apples are

scrumptiously sweet because of the carmelly brown sugar and heavenly

vanilla. In fact, Ryan would have been quite happy to have sat down with just

the bowl of apples and called it a day.  In fact, I had to keep slapping his hand

to get it out of the bowl.

Served warm, (not hot, because you want people to really enjoy the flavours)

these turnovers ooze fruity goodness that contrasts beautifully with the crisp,

flaky phyllo.  The balsamic drizzle enhances the sweet, tart and citrus flavours

and the vanilla bean ice cream adds a delicious creaminess and more vanilla


All in all, this dessert is awesome and really does not take a great deal of

time.  Peel and chop your apples while the cranberries are simmering and you

can be serving these up in an hour. This recipe makes 16 turnovers.  You

could make double that amount if you were to reduce the size for a dessert


Cranberry Orange Jam

1 pkg. fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cup (250 ml) water

1 cup (250 ml) sugar

1 orange, peeled

Put all ingredients together in a pot to simmer, stirring frequently.

Simmer until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Remember that the

mixture will thicken once it cools so you don’t want to let it get too thick. Set

aside to cool.  Once it’s cool you’ll want to puree it just enough to grind up the

orange.  You can use a blender, food processor, or a hand-held blender, giving

it just a few bursts of power so that you still have the odd whole cranberry in

there. A hand-held blender is perfect for this because you don’t have to

transfer the mixture back and forth. Just pop the blender in the saucepan, give

it a couple bursts of power and wham, bam, you’re done.

Apple Filling

6-7 apples, MacIntosh, or whatever you like

1/2 (125 ml) fresh lemon

1/2 cup (125 ml) brown sugar

 1 tsp (25 ml) pure vanilla

Wash, peel and chop 6-7 apples.  I like to use MacIntosh because they have a

delicious sweetness.  I didn’t have quite enough so I used a couple of delicious

off of the tree in the front yard.  Use whatever you like best, you can even use

a variety, it’s up to you. Cut the apples up into bite-size pieces.  Squeeze 1/2 a

lemon into the apple pieces to prevent browning and add a splash of flavour.

Add 1/2 cup (125 ml) brown sugar and 1 tsp (25 ml) pure vanilla.  Stir and set aside.


Frozen phyllo dough

1 cup (250 ml) butter, melted

16 teaspoons coarse brown sugar

Use a package of store bought frozen phyllo pastry found in the freezer section

of most grocery stores.  Allow the phyllo to thaw in the package in the

refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for about 5 hours.  Do not open

the package until all of your filling is prepared and ready to use.  Unwrap the

phyllo and lay out flat.  Take one sheet of phyllo and place in down on a baking

sheet or cutting board.  Brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter using a

pastry brush.  Brush the phyllo gently making sure to get the edges.  The

phyllo does not have to be completely covered in butter just lightly make

broad strokes across the surface.

Repeat this 7 more times until you have a pile of phyllo sheets, 8 sheets high. 

With a sharp knife, cut your phyllo into 8 sections.

Add 1/4 cup of the chopped apple mixture followed by a 1/8 cup of cranberry

orange jam. (Don’t mind me … as you can clearly see, I couldn’t figure out

what I was doing.  I do have moments like that … even whole days actually).

Brush around the edge of the phyllo section with melted butter and fold over. 

Press to seal the edges as much as possible.

 Brush the top of the turnover with more melted butter and sprinkle with 1

teaspoon of coarse brown sugar. Cut 3 slits into the top for the steam to escape

while it bakes.

Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in a 325 °oven for 20-25

minutes or until lightly brown and crispy.

Repeat the process, building another 8 sheets of phyllo, cut, fill and fold.

 If you want to get fancy, you could make triangles.

Serve with a balsamic reduction that you can get from most grocery stores or

make it yourself by simmering a 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar until it thickens. 

Add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy.  Heavenly!!!


This Sweet Wife (Ryan’s mom)

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