Although I’m generally not the most organized person around the house (open any closet or drawer in my home and you’ll know what I’m talking about), there is one area in which I do excel: I keep scrupulous records of holiday menus. Who attended, what was served and the quantity, if the amount was adequate, and how long things took to cook are all jotted down in my 3-ring binder.
Every year after Thanksgiving dinner I write the same note – that very little cranberry sauce and yams were eaten, and NOT to make them again. And every year I get guilted into making them because “it’s tradition”.
This year, in a vain attempt to be thrifty, I only used half the bag of cranberries to make my sauce, and didn’t use all the yams I bought. A wise move, but not wise enough. The majority of both dishes still went untouched. “I swear, I will never make cranberry sauce and yams for Thanksgiving again!” (You have to imagine me doing a Scarlett O’Hara impersonation while saying that.)
So post-Thanksgiving I had half a bag of cranberries and a yam unused. As you may know by now – I hate waste! Although I’m the self-proclaimed Queen of Freeze, I decided against freezing the cranberries – I knew they would get lost in the frigid abyss and I’d forget all about them. But what else could I do with cranberries?
Pulling out my trusty Joy Of Cooking (a must-have for any kitchen!), I looked up ‘cranberry’ in the glossary. There they were: cranberry muffins. Yes! “What if I added shredded yam and spices to the muffins?” I pondered. Perfect!!!
It took several batches to produce the look and flavor I’d envisioned. (And, yes, I actually had to buy more cranberries and yams. Oh, the irony!) But I’m now ready for future leftover cranberries and yams….even though I WON’T be making them next Thanksgiving. Really.
NOTE: While paper liners for the muffin tin make life easier in the sense that you don’t have to grease the muffin cups (a job I kind of hate), I suggest you forego the liners for this recipe. The paper (and even foil liners) tend to stick to muffins, making it difficult to remove them without losing a good portion of the muffin. Again: hate waste! So bite the bullet and grease the cups.
CRAN-YAM MUFFINS – makes 12 muffins (standard size)
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 T cinnamon (notice the measure is tablespoon)
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp ginger
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup milk (I used nonfat)
- 4 T salted butter, melted
- 1¾ cups chopped raw cranberries (measure AFTER chopping), divided
- 1 cup yam, shredded (I used garnet)
In a medium sized bowl put the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix well with a large spoon.
In another bowl (it can be a little smaller) beat the eggs well. Stir in the milk, 1½ cups of the cranberries, and the yams. Add in the melted butter and mix.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry. Using the large spoon mix together, working with as FEW strokes as possible. Over mixing will yield tough muffins. It’s fine if there’s some flour not incorporated. The batter will be thick.
Preheat oven to 400º Fahrenheit.
Spoon the batter into the greased muffin cups, dividing the batter equally. Sprinkle the reserved ¼ cup of chopped cranberries on top.
Bake at 400º F for about 23 minutes – the top will be starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool in tin for 2 minutes. Run a dull knife around each muffin, lifting them up at the end of the circle to loosen. Remove to wire rack.
Let cool at least 15 minutes before eating so they’ve had time to set, but are still warm. Delicious with a cold glass of milk, hot tea, or coffee. To reheat, toast in toaster-oven for 1-2 minutes.