January is for lighter eating, apparently. But I say, go big or go home with these fresh, bright, crunchy muffins. With a pat of butter or even a swirl of tangy yogurt and chewy honey spread in between muffin halves, they’ll make your morning right. -Maggie
They say the most important meal of the day is breakfast. What they didn’t say was that breakfast couldn’t be sweet and decadent muffins, made with fresh cranberries and cocoa nibs (added for a little naughtiness). I have been over-indulging on this recipe for the past month, all for you, so I could get the recipe just right. And guess what? I did!
The mornings are my quiet time at home, a little sliver of the day (just for me) that I cherish. I rise when it is still cold and dark out; I may go to the gym, or to my office to get a head start on the day. By the time I return home, the sun is just beginning to say hello, and my husband is just getting up.
The routine is the same; I pull the shades to let the morning light warm the kitchen, I grind our beans, put the kettle on and begin to make coffee. Then I putter around either flipping through cookbooks, unloading the dishwasher, or, um, maybe I catch up on Instagram (a guilty pleasure). Then I head upstairs with a piping cup of faye (as we call it) for Lenny as he sleepily-wakes-up. I think of this morning ritual as my form of meditation, and I couldn’t start the day without it.
On rare occasions, I make morning muffins. It’s a treat not only for Lenny, but for me; smelling something wonderful baking as we begin our morning together, and the anticipation of something warm, sweet and soothing is bliss. I use a basic muffin base; all that I change are the fillings, depending on what’s in the house or what I’m craving. For this recipe, I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful fresh cranberries that are still in the markets. Be sure to grab a few extra bags to toss into the freezer to use later on; I always have a few stashed. I tried the recipe with chocolate chunks but felt it was too sweet. Cocoa nibs were perfect, and I love how they hold up when baked, adding a nice little crunch with each bite.
To make your morning muffins extra special, remember these tips:
1. Do not over-mix the batter or you will have rubbery muffins. You want lumps, so just use a spoon or spatula to gently wet the ingredients. Do not worry, the lumps disappear during baking.
2. Add your mix-ins to the dry ingredients and stir to coat. This step will prevent them from sticking together in the batter.
Other than that, just enjoy each bite as you begin your day!
Cranberry Cocoa Nib Muffins
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter or coconut oil, cooled
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Line a muffin tin with baking cups.
- Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together.
- Add the cranberries and cocoa nibs to the flour mixture, and whisk to mix. This step helps separate the cranberries and nibs for the baking process.
- In a medium bowl mix together the egg, milk, butter, ginger, and vanilla, then pour into the flour mixture.
- Mix only until combined with a spoon or spatula. The batter will be lumpy, but this is okay, you do not want a smooth batter for muffins.
- Evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with a little granulated sugar.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
- Serve with freshly brewed coffee and a touch of butter!
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