Presenting: the muffin you’ll need to get you through fall. Through the Halloween sugar hangover and the family visiting for Thanksgiving weekend. Through the lazy Sundays, and even through Christmas morning. With their jewel tones and sweet cinnamon spicing, these are an unforgettable staple, a simple meal that manages to have pizzazz.
There’s an actual method to muffins, a formula that’ll help make sense of the recipe you’ll see at the bottom of this post. Essentially, muffins are quick breads, baked goods that use a leavener like baking powder to rise (as opposed to bread, which could be known as “slow bread,” and takes its time when rising). Like zucchini and banana bread before them, cranberry-walnut muffins should be moist and just slightly chewy. At their best, they’ll melt in your mouth.
How do they get this way? Well, first you combine the dry ingredients. That means sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices–here, cinnamon.
In a second bowl, we combine the wet ingredients: eggs, oil, and orange juice.
When we combine the two, we do so with a light touch, pouring the wet ingredients over the dry and then folding together gently. This preserves a light crumb and that melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes people go back for seconds.
When the wet and dry ingredients are just barely combined–it’s far better to see a few streaks of flour, which will be absorbed during baking, than to overmix–we throw in the good stuff, cranberries and walnuts. The fall flavors of this pair are what elevate this muffin to its true height.
Baking is a cinch: scoop the batter into muffin tins and stick in a hot oven for around 20 minutes.
There they are: risen, golden, and ready to eat!
All muffins are best warm, still hot from the oven. These are instant gratification in muffin form, and fortunately for early birds, there’s not much need to let them cool.
Smear with butter, if you like.