Cranberry Orange Muffins
1 cup dried cranberries (or craisins, or cherries!)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus up to 1 tablespoon for topping, if desired
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Put the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan, and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Remove berries from the heat, and set aside to cool and plump. Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.
Line muffin tins with papers or lightly brush a tin with butter. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, orange zest, and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
Fold the flour in 3 parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until just combined. Fold in the cranberries. Do not over mix. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with sugar.
Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan on a rack. Serve warm.