Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunshine Inside and Out

Today, we went out for Sunday brunch, just the two of us. We sat by the window of this cute little restaurant and I was amazed at how warm I got from the sunshine outside. It was as if the winter blues were melting away with every bit of sunlight that streamed onto my face. After weeks of grey skies and bone-chilling windy nights, of teasing sunlight that fades in a matter of hours, of afternoons spent trudging through slush and snow after work instead of enjoying the last rays of sunshine, something wonderful happened this morning. The sun came out. I can't remember the last weekend where the sun came out and stayed out long enough for us to enjoy its warmth. It truly made me happy.

Knowing that the sun was probably only visiting, and that I had a whole, busy work week ahead of me where I'd be aching for that relaxed Sunday brunch feeling again, I decided to bake up something sunny so that at least if it wasn't sunny outside, it could be sunny inside. And what's sunnier than something baked with the fresh, tart, summer-like taste of lemons? Paired with the equally mouth-puckering taste of fresh cranberries, and you've got a sunny day, waiting to be eaten. I found a fabulous recipe in a magazine called Eating Well -- one of two magazine subscriptions that we're trying (the other one being Vegetarian Times -- also wonderful). It included cornmeal, which added an extra flavour and texture dimension. The muffins baked up wonderfully light and moist, with an almost crisp, golden top. I skipped the sprinkling of sugar and lemon zest on top, but you could do it if you like. Just mix up a teaspoon of lemon zest with 2 tablespoons of sugar, and sprinkle on top of the muffins before baking.

Bake a little sunshine into your kitchen and get ready for the work week. With these muffins waiting for me in my kitchen, I'm ready for almost anything.

Lemon Cranberry Muffins
adapted from Eating Well (January/February 2011) makes 24 mini muffins and one mini loaf

1 egg
3/4 cup of skim milk yogurt
1/2 cup of sugar
5 tablespoons of canola oil
zest of one lemon
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of fine yellow cornmeal
1.5 cups of cranberries, chopped (good luck with that .. they roll and bounce)

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, sugar, oil, lemon juice and zest until smooth and well-combined.

2. Sift in the flours, baking soda, baking powder and cornmeal. Mix until just combined. Add the chopped cranberries and give it one final mix.

3. Pour into prepared muffin tins and/loaf tin. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes for the muffins and 25-30 for the loaf (depending on what size your tin is). Muffins are reading when they get nice and golden brown, and a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Happy Sunshine!


  1. Get out of my head! I have 2 meyer lemons sitting here, and a packet of frozen cranberries and I am making lemon-cranberry loaf tomorrow!
    I totally want to bake a little sunshine in my kitchen! These muffins look lovely.
    Great minds, huh?

  2. awesome, monkia!! i hope you enjoy your baked sunshine as much as i did. :) and i'm jealous of your meyer lemons .. i've yet to try them.

  3. thanks Blackcurrant! :) i was drooling over your peanut butter chocolate taste tests ..