Another holiday has come and gone. This year’s Valentine’s day really sneaked up on me. I had a busy week before our shipping day, Mia’s birthday, and all of a sudden I was over my head in cookies and cardboard boxes again. But everything made it out just fine – it always does, somehow. Through it all I actually had one or two days that I did not see the kids at all. To make it up to them I promised them a special Valentine’s breakfast, which ended up being these fresh baked muffins with lots of bacon. The sprinkling of coarse sugar on the top gives them a nice crunch.
Cranberry Walnut Muffins (makes 10 muffins)
1-1/3 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg, plus 1 egg white
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons coarse turbinado sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy and well-mixed. Gradually add the eggs, oil, buttermilk and orange extract (they should all be mixed together first). Slowly mix in the flour, baking powder and salt, mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts by hand. Divide the batter evenly between 10 muffin cups, either lined with muffin papers or sprayed with a nonstick spray. Sprinkle each muffin with a little coarse sugar, then bake on the top oven rack for about 25 minutes, or until completely cooked in the center. Cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan.