Friday, November 23, 2012

Cranberry Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins

After a few snowstorms over the past few weeks and the disappearance of most of the pretty fall leaves still lingering sparsely on the trees, it's really starting to feel like winter, although we've had a pretty warm Thanksgiving week this week. I wish fall lasted longer, because while I love a little chill in the air and every excuse possible to wear boots, I really don't like being cold all the time, driving on icy roads and having to leave the warmth of the house to go out into the freezing air.

But with winter comes the holidays, which I love, so there's always something to be excited about even when the weather isn't cooperating.

I've managed to resist buying any new Christmas decorations, although I wander the seasonal aisles at Hobby Lobby and Michael's whenever I happen to stop there for something else. There are so many cute things that we absolutely don't have room for in our condo - it's hard enough to find a spot for the tree where it's not blocking something - but even so, I could talk myself into thinking that there's always room for a little snow village or something equally adorable.

My mom's snow village was always my favorite decoration to put out, the little lighted houses strategically placed on their field of white fabric stuffing sprinkled with silver glitter, tiny skaters arranged on an oval mirror in the middle of the village, and snow-dusted trees scattered here and there.  One of these Christmases, I will have to invest in my own pretty snow village.

To get into the holiday spirit of baking, I baked a batch of muffins, pretty with red cranberry polka dots, studded with dark chocolate chips, and a hint of tangy orange throughout.  Cranberries and chocolate chips are the perfect complement for each other, slightly sour and a little sweet, so they balance each other nicely.

With our Sunday morning breakfast of muffins, we also ate Greek yogurt, topped with oranges, sliced almonds and a sprinkling of nutmeg.  Cranberry orange compote, which I've started making this time of year for the past few years (no more canned, jellied cranberry sauce) was delicious on the muffins, too.

We spent a wonderful Thanksgiving day yesterday with some friends, and I have a few new pie recipes to share soon.  This morning I made turkey soup with some of our leftovers, and the rich broth simmering on the stove permeated the house with its delicious aroma.  Tonight, after the house is clean and the laundry is done, I'm so looking forward to relaxing with a warm bowl of soup for dinner and no more cooking today...

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Orange Muffins

  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cranberries and chocolate chips.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until moistened.

Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling them ¾ full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then serve warm or room temperature.

Yields 12 muffins.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen