I voted this morning. Voting always makes me emotional. When I get emotional, I usually start thinking about cooking with honey. Today it was cooking with honey and cranberries.
Cranberries are quintessentially American. With the elections today and Thanksgiving coming up, it’s the perfect time to have a Cranberry Week on Romancing the Bee!
Native Americans used the cranberries as a staple as early as 1550. They ate cranberries fresh, ground, or mashed with cornmeal and baked it into bread. They also mixed berries with wild game and melted fat to form pemmican, a survival ration for the winter months. Honey was used to sweeten the berry’s tangy flavor.
By 1620 Pilgrims learned how to use cranberries from the Native Americans. There are several theories of how the berry was named. German and Dutch settlers named the berry “crane-berry” because it appeared to be the favorite food of cranes or the blossom resembles the head and neck of an English crane. Eventually craneberry was shortened to cranberry. By 1683 cranberry juice was made by the settlers.
The health benefits of cranberries rival those of honey. Cranberries have vitamin C and fiber, and are only 45 calories per cup. In disease-fighting antioxidants, cranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable–including strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries.
So let’s celebrate Cranberry Week by baking some Honey Cranberry Cosmo Cupcakes! To your health!!
Makes 3 dozen
FOR THE CUPCAKES
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups honey
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons cranberry juice cocktail
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons triple sec
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
Food coloring (optional)
FOR THE FROSTING
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) butter
1 pound (about 4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cranberry juice cocktail
1 tablespoon vodka
2 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons triple sec
2 tablespoons milk
Food coloring (optional)
To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and honey together until light and fluffy, at least five minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a tim, then stir in the lime and orange zests. Add the cranberry juice, lime juice, triple sec and vanilla, and stir until combined.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the batter and beat until just combined. Stir in half of the sour cream, then another 1/3 of the flour, and mix again until just combined. Stir in the remaining sour cream until just combined, then add the remaining flour and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Don’t over mix.
Place 3 tablespoons of batter in each cupcake liner and bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter for about 30 seconds. Beat in the sugar and salt until combined. Add the cranberry, vodka, lime juice, and triple sec and whisk on high for at least 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add some of the milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Stir in food coloring, if using. Garnish with a slice of lime.
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