When my daughter Maddie was in kindergarten, she was extremely choosy about what, if anything, she would eat for breakfast. Often, she would leave for school on winter mornings with a couple of cookies to nibble on later. For some reason, she insisted on having them neatly wrapped in plastic and safely stashed inside her long, elf-like knitted cap that hung halfway down her back.
It’s hard to send children off in the morning with a slice of toast (cold and crumbly) or cereal (way too sloppy). But these muffins, studded with your kids’ favorite berries, are super tasty—and perfect for breakfast at home or on the go. Also, they’re easy to make, so kids get lots of practice cracking eggs, measuring, and stirring. Oh, and they’re sturdy enough to be wrapped in plastic and popped into a backpack or pocket—or in Maddie’s case, a hat.
What You’ll Need
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup whole-wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
What to Do
- Preheat the oven to 400℉. Invite your little baker to place 8 paper baking cups into a muffin tin.
- Let your helper cut the stick of butter in half with a table knife, rewrap the unused portion, pop it in the fridge, and transfer the remaining half to a small glass bowl.
- Cover the bowl and microwave the butter for 30 seconds or until just melted; remove and set aside.
- Show your little chef how to crack an egg into a large mixing bowl and, together, beat with a fork until frothy. Let her add the lukewarm butter to the bowl. Help her measure the milk into a glass measuring cup, add to the mixing bowl, and beat the mixture with a whisk or fork until frothy.
- Together, measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir until nicely combined. Let your child measure and add the cranberries. Show him how to stir the batter gently until the cranberries are well distributed throughout.
Teachable Moment: Four Fun Facts About Cranberries
- The first people to eat cranberries were the Native Americans. Sometimes they enjoyed the berries as food, but they also used them for medicines and dyes.
- Today, about 75 percent of cranberries are grown in the United States, mostly in Wisconsin.
- Farmers harvest cranberries by flooding the cranberry bogs and marshes; because cranberries have air pockets inside, they float to the surface of the water.
- The air pockets also make cranberries light enough to bounce!—Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association
- With your help, let your child spoon the batter into the baking cups. Place the muffin tin in the oven. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when you press on them lightly with your fingertip.Teachable Moment: What Your Kids Don’t Know About Muffins
- It's thought that the word muffin comes from an old French word moufflet, meaning “soft.” The first known uses of this word showed up in the 11th century.
- The very first muffins were more like the type of bread we call English muffins. In the United Kingdom, they're just called muffins.
- The type of sweet muffins we make in this recipe first developed in the 19th century, when the invention of baking powder provided a fast, easy alternative to using yeast to get dough to rise.
- Most of the time, early muffin recipes weren't very sweet; some of the more common types of muffin were bran, oat, rye, or corn muffins.—Victorian Hansen Food
- Remove from the oven and let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Enjoy the snack!
TIP: Serve as is or cut in half and spread with butter, honey, or jam. For a change, substitute other berries for the cranberries.