Saturday, January 3, 2009

Raspberry Cinnamon Muffins with Orange Zest and Walnuts

I got some nifty little cookbooks this year for Christmas and I will be writing about all of them sooner or later.

But first up is one called Tasting the Wine Country, sent to me by my mom in law, Charlotte. The raspberry cinnamon muffins from the Gaige House Inn in Glenn Ellen, CA caught my eye right away, and I fiddled a little with the recipe, adding walnuts and vanilla extract and using orange zest instead of lemon zest, which Charlotte would appreciate.

Remember not to over mix the batter when making cakes or muffins. I never knew this as a child, and once made a loaf of banana bread as solid and dense as a square of sidewalk cement because I had mixed the hell out of the batter thinking I was really being thorough. When I threw it out in the compost heap, even the squirrels wouldn't touch it. Come to think of it, it might be there to this very day...

One more thing - this is a fairly healthy muffin, with only 4 tablespoons of butter and using sour cream instead of oil (you could even attempt light sour cream, for extra New Year's points.)

Raspberry Cinnamon Muffins with Orange Zest and Walnuts

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 teaspoons orange zest
l egg
1/3 cup mashed or blended strawberries or raspberries
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 cup raspberries (it says to use fresh but I used frozen for this and the blended ones above and it worked great)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or butter a 12-cup muffin pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and baking powder and set aside.

In a large bowl, or a Kitchen Aid mixer, combine the sour cream, butter, egg, vanilla extract, zest and mashed berries. Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing until just combined each time. Gently fold in the whole berries and walnut pieces and distribute the mixture evenly into your muffin pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. Don't over bake! Remove to cool on a wire rack so they don't become soggy.

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