When I was going to college at the University of Toronto, I used to drop by my local Second Cup every now and then for a nice big latte and a lemon cranberry muffin. It just hit the spot on blustery snowy mornings, and fueled me for the 20 minute walk across the icy campus to my classes at the very furthest end of the university. Sometimes, instead of going in the mornings, I’d spend a few hours in the coffee shop sipping my coffee and munching on my muffin, researching papers all afternoon (hooray for free wifi).
Tim Hortons also had a lemon cranberry muffin, and though it didn’t have the nice crisp cap of the Second Cup muffin, it had a deliciously fluffy cake-like consistency and was almost always gone by the time I got to the Tim Hortons on the south end of campus.
A good lemon cranberry muffin is just one of the best parts of winter. And despite the fact that it was probably 80 degrees out today on the Central Coast, cranberries are in season, and I’m stocking up. A few bags of cranberries thrown right in the freezer will last me through till spring, so I’m anticipating plenty of cranberry goodness all through the winter.
Check out the colors of this gorgeous muffin. I used a yogurt cake base, because every since I made this lemon yogurt cake by Orangette, it has become my go-to lemon cake recipe. It’s moist and fluffy, with a fine crumb, perfect as a base for poppy seeds or fruit (or both). I love the tart cranberries as they explode in your mouth! After making the muffins, I felt they needed a little extra sweetness, so I made a lemon simple syrup that I brushed over the top of the muffins. But you could just increase the sugar slightly, or sprinkle sugar over the top of the muffins before baking them.
I had a little extra batter left over at the end, so I made a giant muffin (or a mini loaf) in a buttered ramekin. I actually love the look of the ramekin muffin and think that a set of these little cups with muffins baked into them would make a great Christmas gift.
Lemon Cranberry Muffins
½ cup plain yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup oil
2 cups fresh cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix the yogurt, sugar, salt and eggs together in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir together until moistened.
3. Add oil and mix, mix, mix until batter is smooth and homogeneous. Fold in cranberries.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into muffins comes out clean.
Lemon Simple Syrup
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
In a small saucepan, heat the lemon juice and sugar together gently until all the sugar dissolves. Brush over muffins.