Blogger Challenge: Cranberry!

This week, it was my turn to pick the secret ingredient! I wanted to do something related to Thanksgiving, and cranberries just seemed like the thing to do. It’s so easy to find fresh ones right now, and it’s an ingredient that I’ve grown to like a lot more in the last couple of years than I did as a kid. I still have fresh berries left, so I’m planning a cranberry-apple pie later today. (I’m on a spree of trying desperately not to waste any food.)

I settled on making cranberry-orange muffins. The original recipe was for a streusel muffin, but I left off the streusel topping in the interest of making them slightly healthier. The recipe is from Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook (the 1996 edition).

The muffins are really yummy. The cranberries are a little tart, but it blends nicely with the sweetness of the muffin. I’m not sure I ended up with quite enough orange zest, but there is still a hint. The orange smell is stronger than the orange taste, if that’s possible. Also, the recipe calls for the cranberries to be halved. I chopped mine up a little smaller, because I don’t really like big chunks of fruit in my muffins.

Cranberry-Orange Muffins

1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1//2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cranberry halves
1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1. Heat oven to 400. Grease bottoms only of 12 medium muffin cups with shortening or line with paper baking cups.

2. Add orange zest to milk. Beat milk, oil, vanilla and egg in a large bowl. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt all at once, just until flour is moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Fold in cranberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

3. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan to wire rack. Serve warm if desired.

I also had leftover canned cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, so I made Paula Deen’s Berry Steak Sauce. It was delicious on pork chops! It can be served either hot or cold (mine was cold) with pork, beef, or chicken. The recipe calls for jellied cranberry sauce, but I had whole berry. It was still good – the only problem with using whole berry is that there were still some berry bits in it. I think it would be slighly better with jellied sauce, just because it would be smoother.

Berry Steak Sauce

1 16 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
1/3 cup bottled steak sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons prepared mustard

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

Finally, here are some other cranberry recipes that the Iron Chef bloggers have made this week!

Cranberry Cinnamon Muffins
Cranberry Sorbet


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