These are light, airy, slightly chewy outside and sweet/tart inside due to the chopped fresh cranberries running throughout them. If you're looking for a delicious looking and tasting addition to breakfast, brunch or afternoon snack, these fat-free muffins are just the ticket!
If you're a cranberry lover, take advantage of the fact that fresh cranberries are still in season and not only make these muffins, but also buy a couple of extra bags and throw them in the freezer (they last for about 8-12 months) so you can enjoy fresh cranberries all year round.
Other than separating the eggs, the most time consuming part of this is that you sift the cake flour three times. You may be tempted to skip this step, but don't, if you want that really airy-light angel food consistency. And don't throw out those egg yolks either! You can make pudding, ice cream, lemon curd, mayonnaise--so many different things and you can store the yolks for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge, so you don't even have to use them right away.
The other really important step is to beat those egg whites with the sugar really well so that you incorporate a lot of air into the batter and insure that the cake comes out tender and light.
Then it's just a simple matter of folding in the chopped cranberries and some vanilla--so pretty!
The original recipe said that one batch would yield 12 muffins, but when I filled my standard muffin tins, it came out to about 18.
No matter, better portion control and since they're so light you can treat yourself to two!! It's all about perspective, right?
Cranberry Angel Food Cake Muffins
Makes about 18 muffins
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes; Bake Time: 15-20 minutes
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups egg whites, (about 8-10 eggs)
1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped cranberries, coarsely chopped in food processor (no need to defrost if frozen)
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF and line muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Sift the cake flour with 1/2 cup of the sugar into a bowl. Sift again twice more. Set aside.
3. If you have a stand electric mixer, attach whisk attachment (if you have a hand held it's fine too) and whip egg whites on low speed until they are foamy, for about 30 seconds. Add cream of tartar and salt on medium speed for about 1 minute. Slowly add in the rest of the sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until barely incorporated. Next, fold in the vanilla and chopped cranberries.
4. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes until tops are puffed, and slightly cracked and browned. Transfer trays to cooling racks and let cool completely.
5. Muffins are best on the same day as made, but keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from Gale Gand's Brunch! by Gale Gand. I left out the orange zest and made smaller sized muffins.