I never knew before this year how much I loved cranberries. In years past, I equated them to that canned jellied cranberry sauce that got served with Thanksgiving dinner. Yuck. So, you can see how I thought that all cranberry would be equally as disgusting.
That was until I made cranberry sauce from scratch for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Oh Em Gee. SO GOOD. I just about fell out of my chair when I tasted it.
This passed weekend my husband and I stopped at two more Starbucks in Germany… Mannheim and Heidelberg. When in Heidelberg, I ordered their white chocolate cranberry muffin and was amazed at how delicious it was. The pairing of the white chocolate and cranberry went perfectly together and I decided right then that I needed to make them at home!
I started these muffins with a variation on my cranberry sauce. I didn’t make quite as much as I made when I used it for Thanksgiving and I didn’t cook it as long. Just enough to begin to break down the berries and extract the juices. I still wanted chunks of cranberry floating through my muffins… just not whole, bitter berries.
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup reduced cranberries (see recipe below)
- 1 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
- 250g (about 2¼ cups) fresh cranberries
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup (not pancake syrup – can substitute this with 2 Tbsp more sugar if you don’t have it)
- ¼ cup cranberry juice (or any other juice you have – apple, orange, lemon)
- In a large pan, combine the berries, sugar, syrup and juice and bring to a light boil over medium high heat.
- Just as it begins to boil, reduce to simmering.
- Cook about 10 minutes or until the cranberries have broken down with about half still in tact and a nice thick syrup made from the remaining berries. You will hear a popping sound, have no fear! That’s just the berries popping open in the heat… like popcorn!
- Cook until it becomes thick. Remove to cool while preparing the batter.
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line muffin pan with liners.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time and mix until just combined.
- Mix in the vanilla.
- In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour in three parts. Between each addition of flour, add half the buttermilk.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix just about 80% of the dry mixture has been combined.
- Fold in the cranberry sauce and the white chocolate chips.
- Fill muffin liners ⅔ full. Bake about 16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.