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 year, I also had the chance to try cranberry wine for the first time. And let me tell you, it was amazing! The tartness of the cranberries pairs so well with the sweetness of the wine. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend 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.
- 1/2 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
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup reduced cranberries (see recipe below)
- 1 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
- 250g (about 2 1/4 cups) fresh cranberries
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (not pancake syrup - can substitute this with 2 Tbsp more sugar if you don't have it)
- 1/4 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 2/3 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.