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Thanksgiving breakfast gets short shrift in our world but it doesn’t mean it should. I mean, people are hungry on Thanksgiving morning, aren’t they? Or is it just a sad human bean thing to hold on for hours on holidays with nothing but coffee sloshing around in our tummies until mid-afternoon feasting? Surely we don’t need huge egg and cheese casseroles or piles of pumpkin pancakes with butter, syrup, and pork sausages (or maybe we do), but a small something like a perfectly perfecto muffin would, I think, go over a treat. Ginger Cranberry-Blueberry Muffins, based on my best blueberry muffin, can be prepped the night before by kids (or adults) — see below MUFFIN TIPS — and quickly baked long before it’s time to slide the pies, rolls, and your sweet turkey bird into the hot oven. If you’re the planning sort, they could be baked and frozen this weekend and taken out to thaw on the counter next to the big butter dish and a pile of cute napkins on Wednesday night. A little Greek yogurt with a honey drizzle would round out such a simple meal and, I think, keep you from dreaded coffee tummy. I mean, who wants that?
Just in case you want choices, I’ll include a few other muffins for you.
Check out the crisp edges here. That’s what I’ll be talking about.
I like muffins for breakfast as well as the next woman but also adore them for snacks, car trips, or for spiffing up and filling out the random dinner. If you’d rather serve these on the Thanksgiving buffet at home (or elsewhere as they travel well), I have no doubt they’d be totally appreciated by dinner guests. Maybe you’re the person who doesn’t bake yeast rolls but would rather have a homemade bread all the same, thank you. Or perhaps you’ve got a kid or a noncook hellbent on making something for Thanksgiving? This fits that bill, too.
Short breaks during the long cooking day:
If you’re not an accomplished muffin maker, scroll down below to MUFFIN TIPS … or put on your brave baking hat, look over the ingredient list, pull out your flour and whatall, and enjoy this brief smiling bread making time when you try this:
Ginger Cranberry-Blueberry Muffins (KIDS BAKE THANKSGIVING)
- 2 cups (240 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (50 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup (250 ml) milk
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) neutral oil such as canola
- 1½ teaspoons EACH: grated fresh ginger and grated orange rind
- 3/4 cup (2.6 oz/75 grams) fresh or frozen coarsely chopped cranberries
- ½ cup (4 oz /95 grams) blueberries
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a 12-count muffin tin.
- In large bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder) well. In separate 2-4 c measuring cup or small bowl, beat together the wet ingredients (milk, egg, oil, ginger, and orange rind.) Pour milk mixture into bowl of dry ingredients and mix briefly. Add cranberries and blueberries. Stir until just blended.
- Using a large sprayed ice cream scoop, divide the batter between well-greased muffin cups. (Or use paper liners.) Bake about 15 min. or until just barely done. Muffins should be golden brown on the sides but still pale (but kind of firm) on top. Remove from tin using a small offset spatula and cool briefly on a rack. Turn out into basket and serve warm with butter.Best eaten within a day or two. Store in a gallon plastic bag at room temperature for 2 days, in the refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for 2-3 months
BAKING WITH KIDS:
Little ones are great at collecting ingredients, greasing and flouring pans, measuring, mixing, and checking to see if the bread is done. Do the chopping yourself (if you’re doing it by hand) unless your older child already has good knife skills. Cranberries are not easy to chop–they keep rolling around, though the job isn’t terribly time consuming. If you have a food processor or manual chopper, this is the time to use it. Fresh ginger can be grated or chopped.
The devil is in the details!
*Grease the muffin cups (see above) in the tin really well (on the tops/edges, too) to achieve at least two-textured muffins. Your muffins should have a crunchy outside texture and a tender one or crumb on the inside. Other textures may include soft or softened fruit or crunchy nuts or seeds. I’m not in favor of paper or parchment muffins pan liners because the batter steams inside them (no crunchy exterior) but use them if you really like them or just don’t want to grease pans. They’re useful if you must bake pan after pan of muffins or are transporting a large number of muffins to another spot.
*Preheat your oven well. Muffins need a hot oven to rise high and bake quickly. Make sure your rack is at the center.
*Measure liquid ingredients using a 2-cup measuring cup if you have one.
*For easy, quick morning muffins, do your prep the night before. Grease the pan, measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl or 8-cup measuring cup and leave covered on the counter or in the cold oven should you have inquisitive pets or critters. Mix the liquid ingredients, cover, and refrigerate. The next morning, preheat the oven while you make coffee, first taking out the dry ingredients/pan if you’ve stored them there! Stir muffin batter together, fill muffin cups, and bake.
*We mix dry and wet ingredients separately in order to prevent over-mixing the batter, which leads to a tough baked good. The wet ingredients can literally be beaten together so they’re well mixed; the dry are only stirred or whisked together. When they’re combined, it’s best to stir them together with a rubber spatula until just barely mixed for a tender crumbed muffin.
*Once the muffin batter is mixed and the tin filled –each cup no more than 2/3 – 3/4 full– bake immediately. Most baking powder is double-acting, meaning it begins to work as it becomes wet and then again in the oven.
*Bake until muffins are just done with crispy bottoms/sides, a firm pale or just golden in spots top, and a tender, pebbly crumb.
*Remove muffins from the pan within a minute or two to a cooling rack using an offset spatula, a butter knife, or similar small, rounded edge utensil. Muffins left in the hot tin will continue to bake, giving you an over-baked muffin instead of a moist, light treat.
*Best eaten warm with copious amounts of butter and very hot coffee, muffins are also lovely at room temperature, great for car trip snacks, or for carrying to a meeting, class, or the Thanksgiving potluck. Stick them in a towel or napkin-lined basket, add a ramekin of butter with a spreader, cover, and off you go.
*Muffins are great for breakfast or snacks but they’re also a tasty, quick bread for the lunch or dinner table. If you’ve a small dinner but need more, muffins will round out the meal perfectly. And contrary to popular opinion, muffins needn’t contain fruit or any additional ingredients. They’re tasty plain, all on their own. Recipe for plain muffins here.
*REHEATING: While you can reheat a few muffins quickly in the oven wrapped in foil, they’re best split, buttered, and heated on a grill pan or in a small skillet. Try it and see; you’ll be surprised.
The 5 Best Muffin Tins/FOOD AND WINE
IF YOU LIKED THIS, you might like “A Cranberry Thanksgiving Day – Or How to Get Kids Involved in Thanksgiving.”
LIFE GOES ON:
FRIDAY MORNING BREAKFAST– right after your first course of pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Heat leftover veg covered in a hot greased skillet until really warm. Crack in eggs, season, lower heat to low, and cover until eggs are done to your liking. (Watch carefully.)
We’re a bit out of whack and late to the gate due to the October sewer back up (recently had another small version), basement demo, and impending rebuild but things are moving ahead. Thanksgiving will find me along with best sous and husband Dave and Miss Rosie, traveling to Decatur, Illinois to cook Thanksgiving dinner for Dave’s Dad, Gene, in a VRBO! Having done holidays in rentals a few times over the years, you know I’ll bring sharp knives, a big bowl and pastry cutter, as well as a pie plate, but will mostly make do shopping when we arrive and cooking the meal with what’s available. One year, the oven died on Christmas Day. Did you know you can bake potatoes in a slow cooker and roast the Christmas beast on a charcoal grill in the snow?!
To the American readers: Happy Thanksgiving to you and all you love!
Thanks for being in the kitchen with me; it means a lot.