I grew up in cranberry country. This meant that by the time I was in junior high, I’d heard countless science project presentations from cranberry growers’ kids about the health benefits of cranberries, cranberry growing methods, and the influence of climate on the cranberry crop. Cranberries are actually pretty cool: for such a tiny little berry, they pack a powerful nutritional punch. They’re as tart as all get-out, though, so they take some sweetening to be palatable. Leave it to the recipe on pp. 216-217 of the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook to solve the sweetening dilemma. I grabbed the trusty bag of cranberries I always have in the freezer (my dad goes on weekly hunting trips with a cranberry grower during pheasant season, and I benefit from the friendship), and got chopping. This recipe calls for kind of a lot of fussy chopping (the berries, the nuts), but I don’t really know of any other solution when working with cranberries. The result: beautiful, tasty perfection in tidy muffin form. Well, maybe not so tidy. Or beautiful. The muffins are rather large, and they got kind of crumbly, but in a good way. They’re not at all dry, but I think there’s just so much going on with them that they sort of can’t keep it all together to be pretty and tasty at the same time. OK, you know what? They were kind of a disaster. I’ll still stoop so low as to eat the crumbles out of the pan, but they were pretty much a hot mess. It’s always possible that I just messed up somewhere along the way, too (keep this in mind always, dear readers). I’d still try to make them again, keeping in mind that they’re going to taste better than they look.