LOWER-FAT CRANBERRY-ORANGE MUFFINS WITH WALNUT CRUMB TOPPING

Recipe courtesy of The Bear Cupboard (http://bearcupboard.blogspot.com)

Inspired by Food & Wine Magazine, March 2001

Rating:  10 out of 10


TOPPING:

1/2 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar (or 1 Tbsp. NuNaturals stevia)

1/4 tsp. baking powder

3 Tbsp. melted butter

1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts


MUFFIN:

1-1/4 cups dried, sweetened cranberries

4 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

4 Tbsp. water

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp. NuNaturals stevia)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

3/8 tsp. Diamond kosher salt, or 1/4 tsp. table salt

1-1/2 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest, packed

3 Tbsp. melted butter

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

4 Tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yogurt + enough milk to make 1 cup (or 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt)

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. orange extract


CRANBERRY-ORANGE DRIZZLE:

1 cup confectioner's sugar

2 Tbsp. reserved juice from cranberries


Prep:  Combine cranberries, juice and water in small saucepan; heat to boiling; cover pot, remove from heat.  Let cranberries sit for 30 minutes to plump.  In the meantime, set out all muffin ingredients to bring to room temperature.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper baking cups and spray the interior of the cups with nonstick cooking spray.  Heat oven to 350F (325F for dark or coated pans).


Make the crumb topping:  In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and baking powder.  Stir in melted butter with fork.  Add walnuts, pinching mixture into clumps with fingers.  Set aside.


Make muffins:  In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest.  Drain cranberries well, pressing them down slightly in sieve, reserving juices for glaze.  Pat cranberries dry with paper towels, then add them to the flour mixture, tossing to coat well.


In large bowl, whisk together melted butter, applesauce, yogurt/milk mixture, egg and orange extract.  Pour over flour mixture and stir with spoon or spatula just till barely combined. Do not overmix.  Divide batter equally among muffin cups, using about 1/4 cup for each.  Cover with crumb topping, gently pressing topping onto batter.  Bake about 15 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs.Cool muffins on wire rack.  While muffins are cooling, prepare glaze by combining confectioner's sugar and about 2 Tbsp. reserved juice.  Add more juice, if needed, to make a thin glaze.  Drizzle over tops of warm muffins.  Serve immediately.  Yield:  12 muffins