As far back as I can remember my mom has been making these muffins along with some cheddar bacon muffins and banana muffins for Christmas morning. She bakes them earlier in the week and then freezes them. On Christmas we slice up fruit, set out a cheese platter, warm up some muffins and have a easy and relaxing breakfast together.
So I'm a little biased towards these particular muffins, but they are tasty enough to have won a spot on our breakfast table for at least a decade (correction) 21 years!
Maybe it's the perfect flavor combination that has kept them around for so long. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm super anal about Christmas traditions and everything (and I mean everything) has to happen the same way every. single. year.
We wouldn't let terrible muffins to ruin our Christmas year after year so it's probably a little bit of both.
My mom bakes the muffins out of a tattered copy of Muffin Mania which is covered in her handwritten notes.
I was surprised when I found a brand new copy at the book store a few months ago. It was about 17 -18 dollars and I said to myself "That's too expensive for a small paperback book.. I'll just Google the amazon.ca price and see if I can get it cheaper"
I found it on amazon.ca.. for 107 dollars! Suddenly 17 dollars seemed like a bargain. I guess the book had been out of print until recently so the scarce copies were selling for a higher price. I snatched up my own copy and was looking forward to baking up a batch of cranberry eggnog muffins....
I called my mom and she went to her copy of the book where she had written the recipe for her own eggnog version on one of the pages. Of course a new copy wouldn't have her notes in it! Thank god I hadn't bought the 107 dollar one from Amazon thinking that I'd find the recipe inside it.
The recipe is easy (as all muffin recipes should be), you chop some thawed or fresh cranberries, sprinkle them with sugar and set them aside to sweeten while you make the eggnog flavored batter.
The muffins bake for 15 minutes and the loaf takes about 40 minutes. They make your entire house smell like Christmas and it's impossible to not eat a few right away. I like to brush the tops of the muffins with butter and then sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.
We usually freeze the rest of the muffins as soon as they are cool.
The loaf can be left plain, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, or glazed and then enjoyed in slices. I think they're best served warm but other members of my family like them best at room temperature.
For the full Christmas breakfast experience, serve them with my mom's cheddar bacon muffins (another recipe I thought would be in the muffin book but was actually hidden in my mom's notes) and your favorite banana muffins.
Cranberry Eggnog Muffins
(from my mom's notes in Muffin Mania)
Makes 18 muffins or two loaves (or 9 muffins and one loaf)
2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups eggnog
2/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375
1. Chop the cranberries and cover with 1/2 cup of sugar. Put aside to sweeten while you make the batter
2. In a separate bowl stir together the dry ingredients: flour, the other 1/2 cup of sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. In a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients: egg, eggnog, and melted butter.
4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and briefly stir.
5. Fold in the walnuts first, and then the chopped cranberries.
6. Fill 18 greased muffin cups or two 8 X 4 loaf pans (or 9 muffins and one loaf pan). Bake the muffins for 14-20 minutes. Bake the loaves for 35-40 minutes (you may need to tent the loaf with foil if it starts getting too dark around the halfway mark).
7. Allow to cool and enjoy! If you are planning to freeze then allow them to cool and freeze right away.