More on the apple hit parade and really I'm killing two birds with one stone here, although I promise, promise that no animals have been hurt in the making of these muffins (where the heck did that expression come from anyway?!). Not only did I use up a few more of the many, many apples currently hanging out in my dining room, but I even managed to almost entirely use up my last bag of cranberries that I squirreled away sometime last December, knowing that I'd want to make something with real cranberries before the bags of the stuff reappear in the markets in November!! Whew, was I cutting it close!! Anyhoo, these little guys, are totally delish, loaded with tart little shards of apple and cranberry that keep them from being too sweet, apart from the amazingly crunchy and sugar studded muffin top, so that everything balances out perfectly. Yup, these muffins really hit the bliss point! One bite and believe me, you will hit the bliss point too!
The sour cream in the batter makes these really, really tender and as long as you don't overmix anything (you know by now, muffins like a minimum of mixing, right?) things will turn out just beautifully. And the little crunch of sanding or Demerara sugar you sprinkle on top, which is optional (but not in my book) gives these that "wish-I-lived-near-that-bakery" feel!!
And the apple/cranberry combo is really yummy--I think I feel a pie with this combo coming on in the near future, or at the very least, for Thanksgiving.
So if you've got a little time on your hands this weekend and some extra apples (help--I'm running out of ideas!!) and want to make someone wake up amazingly happy, whip up a batch of these little gems and make it a happy muffin morning!! It's physically impossible to wake up grumpy when the smell of these is wafting through the air. Try it and you'll see what I mean!!
Apple Cranberry Muffins
Makes about 18-20 muffins, depending on how full you fill the muffin tins
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes; Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 medium firm, tart apples (like Granny Smith or Jonagold), peeled, cored and diced
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped frozen cranberries
- Milk or water to thin out batter if necessary (I didn't need this)
- Demerara sugar or sanding sugar for sprinkling on top of the muffins
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Place on rimmed baking sheets--not sure why the recipe says to do this but the muffins come out great this way, so I wouldn't tamper with it.
2. Using an electric mixer, blend the butter and sugar together well. Then add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. On low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, mixing only until no dry ingredients are visible. Then add in the sour cream and mix on low speed until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the apples and cranberries. If the batter is too thick too handle, add a couple of tablespoons of milk or water to think it out (I've never needed to do this.)
3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups--they should be filled to the top. Sprinkle the tops with the demerara sugar.
4. Place the muffins into the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 400ºF. Bake for 20 minutes and check muffins for doneness. They should be golden brown, spring back when lightly pressed with your finger and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean. If not, cook for a few minutes longer.
5. Remove the muffins from the oven and place on a cooling rack in the tins for at least 10 minutes. Then remove the muffins and let cool to room temperature before serving. Muffins can be stored well wrapped at room temperature for 3-4 days or frozen for several weeks.
Note: Recipe adapted from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman.