Thursday, December 31, 2020

Herbs and Spices Author's Muffins RECIPE (for Good Luck in 2021)

 By Cal Orey

Forget hours of cooking yucky black-eyed peas, cornbread, noodles, and lentils for hitting the jackpot. Round foods, including cakes and circular dried fruits are eaten by different cultures on New Year’s Day. Why? It is a tradition because the globular shaped food is a promise of success and prosperity. 

And muffins, like these, infused with coin-shape fruit signifies out with the old and a time to embrace new beginnings. Here’s proof: This week on a chilly afternoon with our snow-covered ground, a young man carried a large box to my doorstep. I knew it was a container full of my new published book The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices: Timeless Treasures. I assumed he was the UPS guy. Nope. The Good Samaritan brought me the gift which was accidentally misdelivered to his house in another neighborhood. I was lucky. After all, he could have dumped, sold, or burned the box of books if he ran out of firewood this winter. I gave credit to these muffins I baked that morning. Here’s the recipe inspired by my belief in fresh starts and fate.

 Cranberry-Thyme Streusel Muffins

 2 cups flour (I used 1 cup each of all-purpose flour and cake flour; combining both makes a lighter less dense muffin)

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 large eggs

¼ cup honey (you can substitute with white granulated sugar)

3/4 cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil or butter (oil preserves the muffins longer)

1 cup cranberries, dried (soak in water for 15 minutes to plump up berries)

2 tablespoons thyme, fresh, chopped

Streusel Allspice Topping

½ cup flour (all-purpose flour)

1/4 cup oats (quick cooking)

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon allspice (McCormick)

½ cup pecans

3-4 tablespoons European style butter (with sea salt)

 In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients with nuts and melted butter. Set aside.

In a large bowl, for muffins combine flours, and baking powder. In another bowl, add eggs, beaten, honey, milk, and oil. Mix dry and wet ingredients. Fold in berries. Use an ice cream scoop to place batter into each muffin lined pan. Top each muffin with streusel mix. Bake muffins at 375 degrees for about 25 muffins or until firm. Serve warm. Makes 8 to 10 muffins.

 These muffins are good plain or cut in half and spread with butter, jam, or cream cheese. Pair with hot coffee or tea. And note, cranberries are touted as a superfruit. This little berry is packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, dietary fiber, and heart-health flavonoids – all essential for staying healthy during our winter and the big chill... So, will baking muffins change your life in the new year? Perhaps. But it’s worth a shot because these gems are yummy and boast good for you ingredients. And hey, these coin-shaped muffins, fruit, nuts, and oats may bring you good luck and good fortune in 2021.

 -- Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is


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