After having brownies for breakfast two days in the past week, I decided it was high time to get something more appropriate in the house. Nothing at the grocery store appealed to me, so I came back home to bake something. Fortunately for me, my buddy Jessica over at A Singleton in the Kitchen has been sharing muffin recipes every Monday as part of an event she calls Muffin Mondays. I’ve bookmarked many of the recipes as she’s posted them so I just needed to figure out which one I’d try first. I kept going back to the first recipe she shared – cranberry vanilla muffins – they’d appealed to me immediately when I’d seen them back in February and even though cranberries are no longer in season, I had a bag stashed in my freezer just begging to be used. Besides, I think we can all agree that cranberries are a bit easier to justify than brownies when it comes to breakfast…
I adapted the original recipe just slightly based on Jessica’s recommendations. The recipe calls for vanilla sugar, which the author makes by combining half of a vanilla bean with a cup of sugar in a food processor. I substituted 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract for the 1/2 vanilla bean. I actually had vanilla sugar in my kitchen (which I’d made previously by tossing used vanilla beans into a container of sugar) but I wanted to see how the vanilla extract substitution would work. The only other change I made to the recipe was to substitute 4 tablespoons of nonfat Greek yogurt for 4 tablespoons of the butter. It’s not a change I’ve ever made to a muffin recipe but Jessica said she does it regularly with good results and I’m definitely in favor of lightening things up where possible.
The verdict? They were very good muffins! The batter was delicious and just a bit sweet and the tartness of the cranberries was a nice contrast to that sweetness. The yogurt for butter substitution worked perfectly – the muffins were moist, fluffy and not at all lacking in flavor. My only minor change the next time I make the muffins might be to cut back a bit on the cranberries. Granted I’ve only tried two muffins so far, but I thought the ratio of cranberry to muffin was high. Still, these are a great breakfast treat and one I definitely recommend trying if you have cranberries leftover in your freezer!
1 teaspoon vanilla extract