Here's another post with a multiple personality disorder. Don't say I didn't warn ya.
Wok&Spoon inspired me to make muffins with those eminently delightful dried cranberries a couple of weeks ago. To add interest, I gave the muffins a 'bleeding heart', which is a small spoon of cherry jam right in the middle. Topped with chunks of almond white chocolate and roasted hazelnuts, the muffins were ready for the oven. I almost forgot the cranberries - they were outside the kitchen by the sofa. Cranberries are great to munch on while watching the news - so I was in danger of scarfing the lot in my quest for interesting muffins.
The muffins were still reasonably soft the next day. Heat one in the microwave on low power for 12 to 15 seconds for an aromatic boost. If you want the recipe, here it is (I developed it myself):
Cranberry Bleeding Heart Muffins
7 tbs sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla essence)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
a small handful of hazelnuts (or your favourite nuts), medium roasted
a small handful of white choc chunks
a handful of cranberries
4 tsp of your fav berry jam
Cream by hand the sugars into the butter for 2 minutes in a big bowl. Add eggs and mix lightly. Mix the flour with baking powder and salt, and add to butter mixture. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter 8 or 9 holes of medium muffin pan(s). Spoon a tablespoon of the batter into each hole. Add half a teaspoon of jam to the centre. Top with more batter till three-quarters full (a bit more if you like to bake dangerously!). Top with nuts, choc chunks and cranberries. Pop into the middle of the oven for 23-25 minutes. (Watch the 'rising show' through the glass front once every 5 minutes for added satisfaction.) Take out of oven and, after 2 minutes, remove muffins carefully with small fork and butter knife. Let cool on a wire rack. Eat two while still warm! (This recipe gives you 8 or 9 muffins.)
(Right) Isn't this the biggest cherry you've ever seen? It's labelled 'XL' in the supermarket here in Switzerland. Very juicy and sweet! Eating it is like a little spot of heaven on Earth.
The picture below is specially for Spiffy who wanted to see Scarface the duck. The Mallards seem to have lost some downy feathers from their heads. Next to these weather-worn wild ducks is a perfectly unmolested Eurasian coot, which is pretty hardy, cunning and quick.