Pumpkin and cranberries – two flavors that scream fall.
I have my iPhone to blame – or credit – for these lovely, festively red muffins.
Surely you’ve seen those PSAs about the dangers of texting while driving. Or perhaps such texting is illegal in your state, as it is in mine, and you’ve been pulled over for it. To the list of dangerous texting behaviors we should add “texting while baking.” I set out determined to make a batch of muffins that screamed fall. And what’s more fall than pumpkin, cranberries, and warm oatmeal on a cold morning? It may be a little early for Thanksgiving, the one day when cranberries come out to play in houses across the country, but I saw a Christmas ornament display in Kohls the other day. The lesson? It’s never too early for anything. Cranberries, with their luscious reddish-purple color and tart taste, say Christmas to me as much as Thanksgiving. I grew up with cranberry-flavored candies tucked in the holiday tins scattered around the house during December. So these muffins may have said fall, but they were also like an October frost: unexpected, early, and somehow invigorating.
But back to texting. That’s what I was trying to do while simultaneously prepping these muffins. You can probably guess what happened. I forgot the eggs – forgot them until I had filled the twelve cavities of my muffin tin three-fourths of the way full and sprinkled the oat streusel on top of each. It was the equivalent of rear-ending someone while LOL-ing with a friend on my iPhone. For what it’s worth, the conversation did require some brainpower – a friend with whom I’d just spent three hours shopping for a suit texted me to ask whether I thought he needed a size 40 jacket or whether he could get away with the tempting size 38 available on eBay for a mere $50. I resisted the urge to say how the hell do I know? and formulated some coherent reply . . . while simultaneously dolloping eggless spoonfuls of muffin batter into the tin.
So let’s just say that I didn’t follow the recipe as written. I swore (I do that too much), scooped the batter – streusel, cooking spray, and all – back into the bowl and beat in two eggs. That’s how my muffins ended up naked on top . . . and that’s how I decided to toss some cranberries in my mini food processor and sprinkle the results on each muffin. Hence, the perfect muffins for Christmas – in October.
You can wait to make these until Yuletide, but be warned: you’ll be missing a great pre-Halloween pumpkin treat.