Sometimes, you just gotta believe

January 5, 2010

Have you ever opened the mailbox to find a packet of unsolicited recipe cards peeking out?  Usually they’re a teaser, trying to convince you to subscribe! now! and you’ll get a packet every month for the rest of forever (for a low, low price, of course).  We tend to get these every few months, and like to poke through the recipes before throwing them out.  Recently, one of the cards promised the ‘Best-Ever’ muffins.   The base recipe looked promising, but not quite what I was looking for.  Not being in a blueberry mood, I decided to make them with cranberries.  Not too shabby!

Last night, I decided to make them again, but was bored with the plain berry approach.  What the heck could I do to them to make them more interesting?   Hmmm…walnuts!  Cranberry walnut muffins sounded comforting and delicious.  I estimated the quantity of nuts, whipped up a double batch, sprinkled some coarse sparkling sugar on top, and threw them in the oven.

When they came out, I was devastated.  They were darker than I wanted, probably due to using metal pans with muffin papers, rather than the silicone pan (without papers) that I had used the first time.  The walnuts were overwhelming, making the whole thing taste like tree bark.  I thought they were awful.

We had differing opinions on what to do next.  I wanted to trash them, modify the recipe some more, and not post a peep about it until I had a successful result.  Mrslovey was of the mind that I should still write a post, describe the fail, and then re-post a revised recipe later on, once I had it nailed down.  I just didn’t know what to do.

So I did what anyone would do, I ignored the muffins and started poking around online.  Ran into friend L, and started talking about my muffin frustrations, and how I was torn between wanting to get a post out and wanting to have a ‘perfect’ recipe.  L reminded me that even if you don’t get the results you want, it can still be a learning experience.  I left the conversation feeling better about things, and decided to take the muffins to work to get feedback from a larger sampling of tasters.

Boyhowdy, did I ever get feedback – they loved them!  According to my coworkers, the muffins were moist, the sugar gave a nice crunch, and the cranberry/walnut combo worked to keep them from being overly sweet.  Seems the amount of walnuts was exactly right.  So I guess the lesson learned is this: sometimes, you just need to step away for a moment, have a little faith in your abilities, and taste the muffins again in the morning.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg, beaten

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon milk

1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

coarse sparkling sugar (optional)

* Preheat oven to 400F.  Line muffin pan with paper muffin cups.

*Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, and melted butter.  Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix until just blended – it should still be slightly lumpy.

*Add the cranberries and walnuts, and stir just enough to combine evenly.

*Divide batter evenly between the muffin cups.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar, and then bake for 22 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.  You can eat a warm one if you’d like, but I found that the flavors have more time to meld if you let them cool completely.



  1. And as usual, you did not disappoint with another baking creation! I thoroughly enjoyed every tasty morsel…..so my question to you is this: Where’s the next batch? lol

  2. Hey sweet pea….think you need to check your measurement on the amount of walnuts…not sure how much 1/cup is…in case someone wants to try these out. Sorry…it’s the editor in me!

    I love you,

  3. Now I want some of these muffins, either batch (pass/fail) sounds yummy.

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