Fluffimuffins! fluffimuffins….if you haven’t noticed, I like making mouth noises. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, following the fact that I like eating with it, too. A wonderful thing, your mouth. You can communicate with it; wars have been avoided and fought, kingdoms established, revolutions begun; foundations of civilization came from the utterances of our ancestors; independence followed upon the strong voices of our fore fathers…Snooky let the world know she was pregnant…Oh. How the mighty have fallen…
You can make music with it. Some of the most moving pieces of music come from the mouths of men, women and children. In my opinion, the human voice conveys more emotion, meaning, and spirit than any instrument. You can have fun with it: make noises for no reason! Come on, don’t you remember as a kid, making noises for the hell of it? Or, if you have kids, they’ll just sit in front of the telly, opening and closing their mouths like fish while unusual churrs and coos flow from their tiny vocal chords.
But; the most enjoyable thing you do with your mouth by far (sans any gutter-minded snickering suggestions) is to eat. To taste. To experience. To NOM. To contemplate the balance of textures, temperatures, base flavors and the penumbras that paint the rest of the experience with vibrancy, tones and substance.
So. What does the word “fluffimuffins” have to do with eating? Both are delectable ventures for the mouth to undertake. It’s also an accurate description of these particular muffins.
Some muffins are biscuit-like and beg to be slathered in soft, velvety butter; some are more like cake, with a dense and moist crumb; some are so tender they melt in your mouth…and don’t survive being excavated from the stupid muffin paper, so you have to tilt in into your mouth to funnel the crumbs…ugh. Some are more substantial, less sweet and perfectly dunkable, spreadable and chewable. Some, are fluffy. These, are pillowy. They maintain a good chew without losing their tender moistness. This muffin is that muffin. And it’s suffused with orangey freshness and studded with sweet-tart, chewy cranberries. Tell your mouth ‘your welcome’.
2 1/4 cups All purpose flour
1 cup Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Dried cranberries
5 tablespoons Butter, softened
1 tablespoon Orange zest
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Orange juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Makes 10-12 muffins, depending on how much batter you stuff in the muffin tin
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin
2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except sugar) and whisk to incorporate
3. Mash the zest into the sugar until it becomes orange in color (and, consequently…in flavor.)
4. Cream the butter with the sugar (it doesn’t get fluffy, so just beat until all of the sugar is incorporated)
5. Add the eggs, one at time, beating until fully incorporated before adding another. Patience, grasshopper.
6. Add the vanilla and orange juice.
7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold to combine. Only until the flour is mostly incorporated. A couple of small streaks are okay….you know, the ones that are only a few yards rather than fully across the college campus in nothing but your birthday suit and wiggly bits?
8. Spoon into the muffin tins. If you fill the tin to the top, you’ll get a nice domed top. If you don’t, you’re a portion-happy pansy.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test.