1 tablespoon flavored alcohol (optional - see below)
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar (for batter)
1 egg, beaten lightly
2/3 cup milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
How to make it
See the note concerning variations below for different ways to make these muffins.
In a small bowl, toss cranberries with 1/2 cup sugar (and alcohol, if using) and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and beat in 1/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in egg and beat for 1 minute.
Stir in the sugared cranberries along with 2/3 cup milk and the freshly grated rind from 1 orange.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the mixing bowl gradually while on very slow speed (about 30 seconds). Stir in walnuts.
Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes or until muffins test done (Be careful not to over-bake or the muffins will be dry). Brush lightly with melted butter when the muffins are still warm from the oven and sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar. Recipe makes about 12 large muffins, depending upon the size of the muffin pans.
Variations: A tablespoon of walnut liqueur, butterscotch schnapps or vanilla rum will add impart the flavors of Fall to these muffins as cool weather approaches. Thawed frozen orange concentrate may also be used. We sometimes substiture 1/2 cup oatmeal for 1/2 cup of the flour. White whole wheat flour may also be used.
Small amounts (1/4 cup) of chopped raisins and/or Craisins can be added to the batter along with the walnuts for variation. Soak the raisins or dried cranberries in the sugar and alcohol until they plump up.