Joco Diversions

Straight up or split open, Cranberry Orange Mini Muffins are a versatile holiday treat

Updated: 2013-11-27T04:45:39Z

Like a choir of holiday angels, cranberries wear the halo of good health.

But are all cranberries created equal?

Fresh cranberries are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium. They’re high in fiber and phytochemicals. By contrast, a large portion of the calories from dried cranberries come from sugar.

But even fresh cranberries are too tart to eat without a bit of sweetener. So don’t shy away from dried. Instead, look for a product that has been sweetened with natural sweeteners such as apple juice instead of corn syrup.

An easy way to enjoy cranberries is to sprinkle “craisins” in your baked goods. Investing in a mini-muffin pan is a small price to pay if you can avoid the holiday bulge.

The Star’s Cranberry Orange Mini Muffins is a versatile holiday-inspired recipe. Serve the mini muffins straight up, for breakfast or lunch, or split open and garnish them to create a festive party appetizer.

Serving tip: For Cranberry-Smoked Turkey Appetizers, top each split cranberry orange mini muffin with about 1/2 teaspoon whipped, light cream cheese, softened, 1 teaspoon Spicy Cranberry Sauce and 1/4- to 1/2 -slice deli-style smoked turkey folded to fit.

Leftover tip: Assemble the number of appetizers you desire, cover and refrigerate remaining Spicy Cranberry Sauce to serve as an accompaniment to roast turkey, ham or other holiday dinner.

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