Cranberry Orange Muffins

November 22nd, 2020

I am sending all of you my best wishes for a safe and secure Thanksgiving. We will have a small Thanksgiving with just six of us. All of us have been very careful. I made these Cranberry Orange Muffins for breakfast to enjoy, either between the two of us or shared with our limited family members. They freeze well.

There is lots of orange zest, orange juice and a small hit of citrus flavoring in the batter along with frozen cranberries that burst in the oven and lend their tart essence to the mix.

You can find the recipe here. Let the holidays begin. It has been a tough year. Let us hope for a better New Year.

Orange Muffins (Nonnettes) with Grand Marnier

October 3rd, 2019

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Nonnettes are tender little muffins originating in Dijon, France.  What sets them apart is the warm spice (pain d’epices) which is a blend including cinnamon, ginger, star anise, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and coriander.  It is easy to make and I will include the recipe at the bottom of this post.

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In addition to the spices, the Nonnettes have a filling of orange marmalade, orange zest and Grand Marnier.  They are perfect for the Fall weather to come.  It is still summer on Lake Lure even in these early days of October.


I made these Nonnettes a few months ago and photographed them.  The leftovers were frozen.  I forgot to add the drizzle to them before I froze them.  The muffins above came from the freezer.  I added the glaze and enjoyed them just as much as when they were freshly made.


3/4 Cup Water
7 Tbls Butter
3/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Tbls Pain d’épices spices
2 Tbls Grand Marnier
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup All-Purpose-Flour
1 Tbls Baking Powder
Zest of 1 Orange
6 tsps. Orange Marmalade
3 Tbls Orange Juice
1/3 to 1/2 cup Confectioners’ Sugar

Heat water, butter, honey and sugar, just until butter is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the spices and Grand Marnier. In a large bowl whisk the flours and baking powder. Add the orange zest and stir to combine. Pour in the syrup (it should still be fairly hot). Stir until combined. Flour and butter a 12-hole muffin tin. Divide the batter over the holes. Chill for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Using a teaspoon, make a little well in the center of the batter and fill with half a tsp of marmalade. Bake the nonnettes for 20 minutes. The nonnettes should be tender and spring back when pressed. Allow to cool completely before unmolding. Place the nonnettes on a rack, making sure there is a sheet of tin foil underneath it. Make a thin glaze by whisking the orange juice into the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the nonnettes and leave to set.

Pain d’épices Spices:
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
4 whole star anise ground
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp coriander

Use 1 tablespoon of this mixture in the muffins and save the rest.

Printable Recipe

Blackberry Cornmeal Muffins

July 16th, 2015

Blackberry Cornmeal Muffins 1

Summertime is blackberry picking season.  I remember picking blackberries as a child, smearing the dark juices all over my fingers and clothing.  Unfortunately I haven’t found any blackberry bushes where we live now.  So I was forced to pick up a plastic box of them at the grocery store.  There is just something wrong about that.  I need to find a patch of blackberries somewhere.

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There is an odd synergy between blackberries and cornmeal.  They both have a grainy consistency.  Blackberry “seeds” always get stuck in my teeth and cornmeal has a sandy bite to it. If you are experienced tooth ache or some other issue with your teeth, you can check here for expert dental services. But that is why the ingredients make such a hardy and satisfying munchable muffin.

This recipe came from one of my favorite NC markets and chefs, Sara Foster.  Foster’s Market is an institution in Durham, NC and loved by the Duke University family and residents far and wide.  We like to stop in when traveling to visit the kids.  Sara Foster, former catering chef for Martha Stewart, moved to NC in 1990 and opened her gourmet market and cafe in a funky building with a gravel driveway to rave reviews.  It is the kind of place where you would want to hang out, as many Duke students actually do.  Sara’s food is honest, fresh and seasonal.

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These simple and easy muffins taste like summer on a plate.  Smear them with a bit of butter and start your day with a smile.

BLACKBERRY CORNMEAL MUFFINS ( From Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line 12 large muffin cups with liners and spray the top of the pan lightly with vegetable oil spray or grease lightly.

Stir the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

In a separate large bowl, stir the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla together.  Gradually add the flour-cornmeal mixture, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moist and no flour is visible.  Do not mix more than necessary.  Gently fold in the blackberries.

Scoop the batter with a 1/3-cup measure or ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tins to just below the top of the liner.  Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops spring back when pressed lightly and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning them out.

Note:  I used standard muffin tins and ended up with enough batter for 18 muffins.

Printable Recipe

Cornmeal Molasses Crumb Muffins

April 15th, 2013

I love rummaging through antique stores.  You never know what you will find; what stories will be revealed.  I was not on a quest for a cookbook, but that is what I came away with.  I found a pristine copy of Country Baking by Ken Haedrich.  There was a convenient love seat nearby so I sat for a while and read through the recipes.  The very first one was for these muffins.  I had eaten a very uninspiring breakfast that morning, so the thought of these cornmeal muffins appealed to me in a big way.  Wholesome cornmeal, whole wheat flour and just a touch of sweetness from the molasses sounded like my kind of quick breakfast.  There was more; lots of recipes for quick breads, yeast breads, pies, cakes, crackers and savory dishes like Deep Dish Sausage and Shrimp Pie.  I knew I needed this cookbook.

I found out something else when I got home.  Ken Haedrich is one of the country’s foremost baking authorities.  He has an online website called The Pie Academy.   It is dedicated to the idea that anyone can learn to make great pies from scratch.  I contacted him by email and he has graciously agreed to do a guest post on my blog in the near future.  Country Baking is now out of print.  He wrote it over 20 years ago.  There are still some books available on Amazon.  But Ken told me that he has three copies left in his supply if you are interested.  It has a different cover but the same content.  They would be $17.00 including postage.  You can contact him at  to order your copy.  It is still a relevant baking book and according to Ken, one of his favorites from all of his publications.

I know I was glad that I found this book and had the opportunity to learn more about Ken Haedrich and The Pie Academy.  I look forward to having him share some of his knowledge with us on this blog.  I am also happy to share this great recipe with you.  A muffin and cup of coffee have been my breakfast of choice for the last few days.


Muffin Batter:
1 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup flavorless vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses

Crumb Topping:
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached flour
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and butter 12 muffin cups.  To make the muffin batter, stir the unbleached flour, cornmeal, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and spices together in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg lightly, then whisk in the milk, oil, and molasses.  Set aside.

Make the crumb topping by combining the crumb ingredients in a mixing bowl and then rubbing them between your fingers until you have large, damp crumbs.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the liquids, and stir with a few deft strokes, just to blend.  Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.  Sprinkle some of the crumb topping on each muffin and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  When the muffins are done, the topping should be browned lightly and the muffins themselves slightly springy to the touch.  Cool the muffins on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes, after which they should lift right out.  Serve them hot, storing leftovers in a sealed plastic bag for up to 2 days.  To reheat, wrap in foil and place in a hot oven for 5 minutes.

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.