I call these muffins "bridge" muffins because they very perfectly moved me from that last end-of-summer zucchini that had been sitting in my refrigerator to autumnal cranberries and carrots. The sweet, golden-hued orbs are studded with tart cranberries, and the zucchini and carrot add additional texture and moisture.
This recipe comes from The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook. S and I went last winter to the SoNo Bakery at lunchtime on a freezing cold day. Just the walk from our car two minutes away to the bakery had me shivering, and the steaming mugs of savory root vegetable soup that we had were a warm welcome. The bakery is informal--you order at the counter and they bring your food to you at a table (or the bar chairs facing into the bakery if that's what you choose to do). The day we went, S and I watched the bakers roll and fill chocolate croissants on big marble slabs while we sipped our soup and daintily bit into our array of baked goods. The large glass windows for viewing are worth the trip there by themselves, but you will be satisfied with the cozy interior and clearly-baked-from scratch goodies. I would recommend the little chocolate and caramel tarts, so tiny they urge you (and you are willing, of course!) to try several other desserts.
Zucchini, Carrot, and Cranberry Bridge Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour (you can also use some whole wheat--see notes below)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
3/4 c finely grated carrot (about 2 medium)
3/4 cup finely grated zucchini (about 1 medium)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw the cranberries)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin and set aside. Note: If you plan to make large muffins that puff up over the top of the cups, gently grease the top of the muffin pan.
2. Whisk together the flour through baking soda and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar through vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and fold with a rubber spatula until incorporated. Fold in cranberries.
4. Divide the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups (about a 1/4 cup each--use more for larger muffins).
5. Bake, rotating the pan, until muffins are golden brown, the tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
6. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently lift muffins and turn on sides; allow to cool in pan.
My notes: I doubled the recipe, used 1 1/2 cups of sugar instead of 2, and used 2 cups of white flour and two cups of whole wheat pastry flour. I also used extra large muffin pans, and the recipe made 11 of these (I filled each cup nearly full so that the muffin tops puffed up). Extra large muffin cups will take about 35 minutes to bake. Be gentle when removing the muffins from the pan--the muffins are dense with goodies and will break if not turned on their sides slowly. Muffins can be frozen and taken out of the freezer the night before you wish to eat them for breakfast. If you wish, you can reheat them in a warm oven right before serving.