It’s That Time of Year, and I have been in deep, deep denial.

Sure, I’ve heard a few Christmas carols, but we didn’t send any cards. There’s no wreath on the door. The decorations are still nestled in the garage with care.

And, ohmagah, my in-laws soon will be here.

So, I made a batch of Christmas-Morning Muffins to fortify me as I haul out the holly. No mixer required. Just combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, the liquid (including fresh clementine or orange juice) in another, and stir them together into a lovely, lumpy batter. Then, fold in a few handfuls of dried cranberries or a mix of cranberries and chocolate chips. The topping is just a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar over each muffin.

Light, cakey, and they smell like Christmas.

I’m going to enjoy every bite of one of these muffins (maybe two), do a few one-armed push-ups, and get to work transforming the Continental Crump House into a Winter Wonderland. Because it’s time. Because we need a little Christmas.

And because one of our neighbors asked if we were celebrating this year.

Must. Deck. Halls.

Let’s go!

Christmas-Morning Muffins

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s “How to Be a Domestic Goddess”

Makes 12

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Juice of 1 or 2 clementines or small oranges
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 ounces (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) dried cranberries OR 2 1/2 ounces dried cranberries plus 2 1/2 ounces chocolate chips
    Topping:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar, and add a generous amount of fresh nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. Take a liquid measuring cup, and measure 1/4 cup milk. Then add freshly squeezed orange juice to the milk until the liquid reaches the 2/3 cup mark. Add melted butter and the egg, and beat to combine.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, and stir until the ingredients are just combined but lumpy.
  5. Fold in the cranberries and chocolate chips, if using.
  6. Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the tops of the muffins. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.