Whole Wheat Cranberry Eggnog Muffins

Our holiday travels are finally over, so I can post about a recipe I modified to use some Christmas leftovers. These muffins used some ingredients we needed to finish up, and turned out great, though I had to modify the recipe a bit, and I apologize in advance that I didn’t measure what I did! You’ll just have to guess like I did if you want to try to duplicate them.

I started with this recipe I found for Whole Wheat Muffins at the New York Times. If you can’t access that: here are the basics: 2.5 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup sugar (I used white sugar, but light brown sugar would be good, too — 3/4 cup might be enough with eggnog, but I didn’t know I would add that when I started), 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt. I added a little cinamon and nutmeg or cardamom to spice it up, which is good if you have any. Mix the dry ingredients and make a well in the middle of the bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil or melted butter (the recipe calls for melted butter, but I substituted oil), 1/2 cup of buttermilk, 1 egg, and 1 cup (or more) of fresh cranberried cut in half. I also added about 1/4 cup of leftover cranberry sauce to increase the liquid a little and to use that up. The recipe calls for 1 cup of fruit or vegetables like zuccini, so I figured it would need a little more liquid than fresh cranberries would provide.

This is where I felt I should alter the recipe. I mixed the ingredients together, and the batter was very dry. That may be what it’s supposed to be like or it may be that my cranberries and sauce still didn’t provide enough moisture. So I began adding a little eggnog (since I was out of buttermilk at that point) to get the consistency I wanted. I estimate that I added between 1/2 and 3/4 cup of eggnog until the batter was thick (not runny) but would just begin to pour: thicker than pancake or waffle batter, but not as thick as bread dough. This is where the guesswork cam in — use your best judgement about how much eggnog to add.

Using a spoon, I ladled the batter into greased muffin tins, filling each a little over 3/4 full. I greased my pan with a little oil brushed into them and around the sides. This yielded 21 muffins, whereas the recipe says it makes 12, so I assume my batter was thinner than the recipe intended. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until done.

My muffins are lighter and fluffier than the pictures on the recipe indicate. The eggnog gives them a spiced flavor, and they were quite sweet, so I might reduce the sugar if I try this again, though they’re not too sweet, since the cranberries add a bit of tartness. It was a great way to use up our whole wheat flour, leftover buttermilk, cranberried, and even eggnog!

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

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