Monday, October 1, 2012

Grand Marnier White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins #MuffinMonday

It's Muffin Monday again!  Sometimes I don't know how the week goes by so quickly but this week, oh, my goodness, this week was special.  I was honored to be invited on a Benevolence Committee charity audit to Damanhour, a two-hour train ride north of Cairo.  I took the Cairo metro for the very first time and only got knocked down once by the stampeding hordes.  No kidding!  I was trying to get off at our stop and the women (I was traveling in the ladies-only car.) pushed in so hard that they knocked me over backwards, back into the car.  I don't know who was more stunned, them or me!  They helped me up and I went on my way.  Next time I know to lean into the crowd and push just as hard to get out.  Anyhoo, I caught the train to Damanhour with two other lovely ladies and we were met on the other side by Father Daniel, a Coptic Christian priest, who took us around to several orphanages, charity dental and medical clinics, a preschool and a small home that houses needy girls and teaches them to sew so they can earn money for themselves now and later for their families.  We were told that when a girl gets married, she is given a sewing machine so she can always provide for herself.

We collected receipts from purchases the Benevolence Committee had funded this last year and I took a ton of photos of people and places as well as the items that were purchased.  It was such a joy to meet the gentle folk that run the homes and clinics and other enterprises and clearly care so deeply for the needy they serve.  The orphanages house the sweetest girls and boys, all Coptic Christians, but the clinics help anyone, Christian and Muslim alike.  (Scroll down past the recipe to see a few photos of our trip.)

It was my privilege to be a part of the visit and help in a small way by asking questions which will become part of the audit report and taking photos.  I am going to miss the Benevolence Committee ladies when I leave.  Do they ever have a heart for the poor here in Egypt!

Meanwhile back to our regularly scheduled muffins!  This week's muffin is from a culinary mystery - frankly a genre I didn't even know existed! - called Killer Pancake.  It called for actual cranberries, which I didn't have, so I had to change the recipe to include jellied cranberry sauce, which I did have.  I also added white chocolate chips because they go so well with cranberries.  They turned out wonderful!

1 3/4 cups or 220g flour
3/4 cup or 170g sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 14 oz or 397g can jellied cranberry sauce, divided into 1 cup and a 1/2 cup or about 235ml and 120ml.
1/8 cup or 30ml Grand Marnier liqueur
1/3 cup or 80ml canola oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup or about 85g white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C and either grease your 12-cup muffin tin or line it with paper liners.  (I use paper liners but give the whole thing a quick spray with Pam so that any drips or overflow on the tin will clean off easily.)

In one big mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk the one cup or 235ml cranberry sauce, the Grand Marnier, the oil and the eggs together.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just moist.

Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Put one scoop or large spoon into each muffin cup.

Divide the extra cranberry sauce between the muffins.

Top with the rest of the batter.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Remove from the muffin tin and finish cooling on a rack.


For those who are interested, here are a few photos from the Benevolence Committee trip to Damanhour.

Father Daniel and our translator, examining receipts

Dr. Ebraam showing off the blood analyser that was funded by the Benevolence Committee. 
One of the dental clinics.  The machines are powered by a small generator so that power outages won't stop treatment. 

Girls are the same the world over!  Bed in the girls' orphanage. 

Except, perhaps here, they are more devout than most.

Some of the sweet girls leaned out to say goodbye as we left. 
Sewing uniforms on contract from one of the Christian schools. 

They do a most professional job. 

The old Coptic church built in 1885.  I did get permission before taking photos. 
And right next door, the brand new church.


And inside.
The bishop's reception room.  This was in his residence and we only got a quick peek
on the way to the bathroom.  It was very grand and formal. 

A few street scenes from Damanhour.

Laundry day.

Looks like someone got a bread delivery when they weren't home. 

View from the roof of one of the homes. Don't miss the lady watching the scenery from her curtained balcony. 

Lady cleaning her roof top home.  Must confess I had hidden
my camera by the time she looked up.  We nodded at each other and smiled. :)

Beautiful mosque near the train station. 


  1. Laura@howtocookgoodfoodOctober 1, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    You do know how to make a mean muffin. I love cranberries and white chocolate together. Such a good recipe x

  2. Wow Stacy, what a marvellous recipe! A mouthful, in a great way! What an adventurous life you lead woman! I haven't been to Egypt in over a decade, I'm so envious!

  3. Since this IS my favorite cookie combo - THIS will be my favorite muffin combo now!!! Can't wait to try it.

  4. Thank you so much, Laura! Perhaps I will change my About to include Mean Muffin Maker. :)

  5. Thanks, Meena. They were tasty too!

  6. Thank you! I'd have invited you to visit, Lin, but how about Dubai? Since I am moving there next. It is a mouthful to say and a better mouthful to eat!

  7. If that is your favorite cookie, you might want to try the cranberry white chocolate blondies I added the link to up there, Kelli. Talk about good!

  8. The recipe is fabulous but those photos of your trip are amazing. What a worthwhile way to spend time. So glad you posted the pics. Gives us a glimpse into another world.

  9. I can't wait to try those too! BTW, I meant to tell you how much I admire your benevolent work - if you know anything about me, you know that helping others is a part of my professional and personal life so what you are doing is right up my alley. Beyond that, your pictures are beautiful!

  10. I do know that about you! I only wish I had more time here. I will just have to find another worthwhile organization in Dubai, I guess.

  11. Thanks, Kim. I did debate about adding them - and I have a ton more - because I wasn't sure if people would be interested. But then I thought, what the hell. It's all part of my life as an expat, which has always been part of the blog. Thanks for the affirmation. : )

  12. Wow, muffins AND travel photos. Fascinating glimpse into your world over there.

  13. Yeah, that's how I roll. I'm all about the cooking and the expat life. : D Thank you! Meanwhile, you make me miss home.

  14. The muffins look awesome, and I had that same pink carebear growing up!! It's totally in my girls' room!!!

  15. See that! Girls are the same the world over! Our hearts are the same and we just want to be loved. The best part of the whole trip was talking to one of the nuns who cares for the girls and I could tell that she genuinely loves them. At one point, we were asking questions about why they were in the orphanage and she lowered her voice and glanced behind me at the open door to the room some of the girls were hanging around in. She was speaking Arabic and the translator was translating but I knew that look immediately and suggested we close the door so that she could answer freely. The relief on her face was immediate. It gave me a really good feeling to know she cared not only for their physical needs, but their emotional ones as well.

  16. What an original muffin combo - bet it tastes amazing.

  17. They were delicious! Thank you for your kind words.


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