Nov 22, 2012

Cranberry Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chips


As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we were reminded of our trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts back in July, 2005. Abigail was six months pregnant with William and we took advantage of the chance to travel to New England before the baby arrived. We chose to go to Plymouth because we wanted to visit the site where the Pilgrims first settled and learn about their history. We were so impressed by the courage of the Pilgrims in the face of many hardships that we were inspired to name our son, William, after William Bradford the second governor of the Plymouth Colony. During their arduous 60 day sea crossing Bradford wrote in his journal, "All great and honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courages". Their Christian faith enabled them to perservere in the midst of great adversity and establish a community where they were free to worship God according to His Word.



While in Plymouth we stayed at the Governor Bradford Inn. It overlooks the historic Plymouth Harbor where the Plymouth Rock and Mayflower II are located.


The Mayflower II is a reproduction of the original Mayflower vessel. It has been recreated to give a sense of what the original 17th century ship was like. Seeing the inside of this very small vessel meant to carry only about 50-60 passengers, (there were about 104 on board), we were amazed at how the Pilgrims managed to survive the journey. We also saw the cramped passengers' quarters, the "hold" where they stored food, clothing and other items needed to start the colony, and the very crude tools used in 17th century navigation. The photo below  shows the Mayflower II journeying from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachussets in 1957.


On board the Mayflower II, you will meet actors dressed in period costumes speaking in 17th century English who will share with you what life was like during the voyage. We met Captain Myles Standish, the military advisor for the Plymouth Colony. He shared with us his experiences while on board and the death of his wife Rose upon arrival at Plymouth.

A monument to the Pilgrims who died during the first year in the Plymouth Colony.
Over all, it was a very successful trip and we're glad we went. It is a trip that is a highly recommended.



Now to a lighter note, here's a lovely recipe that's great for the holidays - Cranberry Banana Muffins.



Ingredients

1 cup plus 3 Tbsp sugar (I use white)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs (room temp)
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup banana, mashed (about 1 1/2 bananas - you can use 2 bananas if you prefer)
1/4 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips or pieces (optional)

Procedure

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Mix all dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs and beat lightly just until combined. Add in the rest of the wet ingredients (yogurt, banana, oil, vanilla) and continue to beat in medium speed until it's smooth and there are no big banana lumps roughly 1-2 minutes.

Adjust the speed to low and then slowly pour in the flour mixture. I try to do this in three parts to prevent the flour from splattering all over the place. Scrape the sides with a spatula after adding each flour. When everything is just combined, stop the the mixer. Fold in the cranberries and the chocolate chips/pieces, if using.

Divide evenly into a 12-cup muffin pan with liners. Bake at 400 for about 18-22 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Oven heating/temperatures vary so adjust the time accordingly. I use a Demarle Flexipan - the muffin cooks faster here so you may have to adjust the time a bit if using a regular muffin pan. Let this serve as a guide. A friend of mine who made this recipe said it took about 22 minutes for her muffin to fully cook.

Leave it to cool a bit in the pan for about 7-10 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. The muffins may feel soft when you lift them up but don't worry they will harden as they cool down.

I love that this is just a balance of sweet-tart flavors and comes out really moist even after you have left it standing for a few hours. On occasion when I am feeling rather indulgent, I add 1/2 a cup of chocolate chips! Moist and delicious cranberry muffins!

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17 comments

  1. These muffins look fantastic! Yum!!

    What a lovely blog you have! As fellow foodies, we can't wait to read more! New follower here :)

    Have a great weekend,

    Chloe & Sarah

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    1. Thanks, Chloe and Sarah! So glad you discovered us. Happy you stopped by. :-)

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  2. What a great recap of your trip, Abby! And, these muffins. Yum! They look so light and delicious after all the heavy food we've had these past few days.

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    1. Thanks, Valerie! They have become a household favorite. Glad you stopped by!

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  3. Sounds like a great trip. I haven't been there in years I need to bring my kids. Love your muffins thanks for sharing them on foodie friday.

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    1. Thanks, Diane! We had the trip before we had kids so we need to return there for them to see all this wonderful history. After all, they are born Americans. Glad you came by!

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  4. Love the color in the muffin. Never tried muffin with fresh cranberries though.
    FlavzCorner

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    1. Hi Shibi! Thanks! I try to use fresh cranberries whenever possible 'cause I love the tart taste that it imparts - sort of balances the flavor. Glad you stopped by! :-)

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  5. 100 stars Abbie!!! My all time favorite!!! Melissa Juntunen

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    1. Awww! Thanks, Melissa! I am so delighted that you love these muffins! :-)

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  6. did u use fresh cranberries? Can I sub with dried cranberries?

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    1. I used fresh cranberries but am sure it's fine with dried cranberries, too. Please enjoy Cecilia. Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. Abby- I just wanted to let you know that I found your recipe and made it today...I have already had 2 muffins!!!! Actually, the recipe made 22 muffins for me because I like them smaller and not pouring over the top. I love this recipe!!! I thought the cranberries might be a little tart but they are great! The only change I made was I added a tablespoon of flaxseed meal. Took 18 minutes for my oven!!! Thanks!! misshu@comcast.net

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    1. Thank you! I am so delighted to know you enjoyed it! Glad you stopped by!

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  8. I'm making these just as soon as I close the computer. I have a pile of turkey hunters coming in for brunch and since we grow cranberries, they'll be expecting some kind of cranberry treat. These look perfect. Thanks.

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  9. I just made them! We loved them, so soft and tasty :) I used butterscotch chips and cranberries, they made quite a nice combo :D Thank you so much for sharing!

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