Tuesday, May 5, 2009

cranberry-white chocolate muffins

My husband often teases me about how I would rather spend untold amounts of money to use up leftover ingredients than simply discard them. Followers of this blog are aware that last November I overbought fresh cranberries whilst in the throes of autumnal mania and have been chiseling away at them ever since, little by ever so little. This morning I finally used up the last of my formerly fresh, now frozen cranberries. (And there was much rejoicing.)

I've long been a big fan of the flavor (and color) combination of cranberries and white chocolate and have made cookies and scones on many occasions featuring these two ingredients. While pondering what to do with my remaining cranberries I had a flash of inspiration -- why not give them the cranberry and white chocolate treatment?!

I started with the recipe for Big Beautiful Muffins in The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. Like many other recipes from the folks at America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated, the instructions suggested many different ways to adapt the recipe to suit my fancy, so I felt comfortable playing around a bit. I added 3/4 cup of chopped cranberries (still frozen) and 3/4 cup white chocolate chips to the batter. Those amounts seemed appropriate when compared to the other variations, but in the end, I felt the muffins could've used more of both, perhaps a cup of each instead. The recipe makes a dozen and are big as advertised, perhaps a bit too big for a standard muffin pan. The muffin tops fused to each other and required a bit of pulling apart when I removed them from the pan. This resulted in jagged edges -- not all that pretty. The good news is the muffins were tender (I didn't overmix -- yay!). An additional note: I substituted 2 ounces of unsweetened applesauce for 2 ounces of the 4 ounces of melted butter, and didn't miss the fat in the finished product at all.

Next up... getting rid of those chopped dates from last December!

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