Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Smell of Christmas

If I had to pick just one smell that reminds me of Christmas it would be the smell of an orange. When I was little, Santa would magically appear after the children's program at our church and give us candy canes and oranges.  For me, the candy cane always took a backseat to the sweet, fragrant orange.  I would run my finger nail across the peel to release the citrus aroma and breathe in deeply.  There was always an orange in the toe of my over-flowing Christmas stocking and the smell of citrus filled the air each winter morning as my mother peeled and sectioned oranges for our breakfast.

Cranberries are definitely the dominate taste in this muffin recipe, but it was while I was grating the peel and juicing the oranges that the sweet childhood memories came flooding back.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

12 ounces (340 g) fresh cranberries
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel
2 cups (280 g) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) oil
1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Wash and pick over cranberries.  Chop cranberries in food processor or blender until coarsely chopped.  Add 1/4 cup (50 g) of sugar and orange peel, set aside.  In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, orange juice, and eggs.  Add to dry ingredients all at once and mix just until moistened.  Gently fold in cranberries and nuts.  Fill prepared muffin tin. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Add the sugar and orange peel and let sit a few minutes for the flavors to mingle.

Mix lightly so the muffins stay tender

Does Christmas have a smell for you?

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