Friday, November 20, 2009

Food Friday Brunch: Cranberry Orange Muffins and Holiday Spritzers

Food Friday!  Today we’re prepping the small bites for Saturday’s wine society meeting.  Charlie Merrill at Victor Alexander Winery here on Bainbridge Island will host us in his elegant tasting room at 120 Madrone Lane.  He’s got three great wines and we’ve paired them with everything from pomegranates to seafood to truffles.  I’ll give you all the details next week because today’s post is about breakfast.
cranberry muffins and spritzer 068 Last weekend while being master of the clam universe, I stopped in at the Gray’s Harbor Public Market and bought some cranberries fresh from the bogs.   Littered with stems and imperfectly shaped these glossy orbs were as fresh and wild as they come and I knew I’d be making muffins soon.
Food Friday starts early today so Hollind can get a front row seat at A’s poetry recital this afternoon.  I can’t find a way to justify drinking wine at 9am so we're testing brunch drinks instead; a scrumptious tonic that combines rosemary infused simple syrup, cranberry and orange juices and club soda.  The perfect fizzy, refreshing start to Food Friday. 
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I’m a morning gal and I love to bake so you’d think I’d have muffins down pat.  I don't, but I took a cooking class at Greystone the imposingly..uh …grey stone Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley where I learned to never over mix muffins.  It makes them dense and dry; you want to stop stirring  (do not even think about using a mixer!) while tiny streaks of flour are still visible. 
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I made these in mini and large sizes.  I sprinkled the minis with large crystal of sugar and glazed the others. 

Cranberry Orange Muffins

1 cup fresh cranberries
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup orange juice
zest from one orange (about one tablespoon)
sugar for sprinkling
Glaze:
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice

Chop washed berries in the food processor. (don’t get carried away and puree them).  Set aside.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk well, add the chopped cranberries and whisk again.
In a separate, larger bowl whisk remaining ingredients.  Pour dry ingredients on top of wet ones and stir until ingredients are barely incorporated. 
Grease muffin tins well or use paper liners.  Fill 2/3 full.  You can sprinkle with sugar now or glaze them after baking.  Bake at 400 until toothpick inserted in center comes clean.  about 8 minutes for mini muffins and about 17 for the larger ones.
To make the glaze combine sugar and orange juice in saucepan and heat, stirring constantly until boiling.  Reduce heat and simmer for a few until you get the desired consistency.  Peirce hot muffins with a toothpick in and drizzle with warm glaze.

Holiday Brunch Spritzer

Adapted from:  Cooking Light
1/2  cup sugar
1/2  cup water
4 rosemary sprigs
4 cups cranberry juice cocktail
2 cups fresh orange juice
3 cups club soda chilled

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes or until sugar dissolves.  Add rosemary; simmer five minutes.  Remove from heat. Pour sugar syrup into a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Uncover sugar syrup, remove and discard rosemary sprigs.  Combine the sugar syrup, juices and soda in a large pitcher.  Serve immediately over ice.  Yield 12 servings of 3/4 cup.
To make ahead:  Fill pitcher leaving out the soda.  When it comes time to serve; pour juice/sugar mixture into a glass and top with desired amount of soda.

1 comment:

Cathy (breadexperience) said...

Your muffins look fabulous! Mmmmm...oranges and cranberries. I'll have to try these. Thanks for sharing.