Here are a few fun facts about our native berry, the cranberry.
- Dennis, Massachusetts was the site of the first recorded cranberry cultivation in 1816.
- American recipes containing cranberries date from the early 18th Century.
- Americans consume some 400 million pounds of cranberries each year. About 80 million pounds -- or 20 percent -- are gobbled up during Thanksgiving week.
- Did you know that there are 440 cranberries in one pound? 4,400 cranberries in one gallon of juice? 440,000 cranberries in a 100-pound barrel?
Orange Cranberry Buttermilk Muffins
Recipe by Chef George Hirsch | Makes 12 Muffins
chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle
For the Topping:
1/3 cup lite brown sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons nuts, walnuts or pecans, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 Tablespoon sweet butter
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nuts. Blend butter in with a fork until mixture is crumb like.
For the muffin mix:
4 Tablespoons sweet butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour; or 1 cup all purpose & 1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon flour for coating plumped cranberries, plus greasing muffin cups
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
**2/3 cup dried cranberries, plumped
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
*2/3 cup buttermilk
*1/4 teaspoon white vinegar, for making regular whole milk into buttermilk.
Add white vinegar to milk to make the buttermilk. Allow to sit 5 minutes to sour.
Grease a regular size 12-cup muffin pan with butter and dust with flour, tap out excess flour; or use muffin cups liners.
Place baking rack in the center of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Note: If using a dark colored muffin pan, reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Dark colored pans absorb more heat while baking in the oven and become hotter and carry heat faster than light colored pans.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and orange zest.
Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until combined, about 10-12 strokes to moisten the flour mixture. The mixture will still have some lumps. Do not over mix or the muffins will become tough when baked.
Toss plumped cranberries in a fine strainer with about one Tablespoon of flour to lightly coat. Using a rubber spatula, fold in a 1/2 cup of the cranberries. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, place batter into muffin cups filling each cup to three quarters full. Add remaining cranberries on top of muffins and divide crumb topping over muffins.
Bake about 15-20 minutes, until muffins are golden brown. Check muffins half-way through and rotate muffin pan if oven temperature is uneven. Test donesness with a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin; or when touched lightly—the muffin should have a slight resistance to finger pressure.
Remove from oven and allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from pan.
**To plump dried cranberries add 2 tablespoons of orange juice from recipe and heat in microwave for 30 seconds; drain orange juice back into pre measured 1/3 cup orange juice.