If I created the recipe for manna from heaven, this would be it. Cranberry-orange muffins. I could definitely eat them every day, for a good while. They’re soft and delicious, warm, lightly spiced and orangey, with bursts of tangy cranberries that perfectly offset the sweetness of the muffin. And the orange glaze drizzled on top is like a little mouthful of sunshine.
These muffins are dedicated to my sister, Susan. For future reference, all muffins on this blog are dedicated to Susan. She is a muffin connoisseur and since she heartily approved these muffins and requested the recipe, I knew they were worthy of being shared publicly.
It’s important to note that for these muffins you will need fresh cranberries. I’m not talking about dried sweetened cranberries i.e. craisins. Those are delicious but this is not the time. Unlike craisins, I do not advise eating fresh cranberries plain. My son insisted on sampling one (they look so bright and pretty and candy-like, after all) and he will attest. Do not eat fresh cranberries unless you are a very particular sort of person who likes very, very sour things.
Anyway, gather up some of those fresh cranberries and oranges that are on sale and whip these up. You can use either fresh-squeezed or pre-made orange juice for the muffins, however, pre-made juice will yield a stronger orange flavor. Also, cranberries are easier to chop when they are frozen. If you have a food processor, you can just pulse them a few times to do the job.
One of the great things about quick breads is that they taste even better the next day, so if you want to have these for Christmas breakfast, you can make them a day or two ahead of time! Personally, I’m a fan of having muffins for a dessert. These make a beautiful treat for a potluck, or neighbor gift plate as well. And is there really any better combination than orange and cranberry? (I mean, besides dark chocolate and dark chocolate and…)
adapted from Taste of Home
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp grated orange peel
- ½ cup oil
- ¾ cup orange juice
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 TBS vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped cranberries
- 1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 TBS orange juice
- 1 tsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375*
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and orange peel. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, orange juice, eggs, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix just until moistened. Gently fold in the cranberries and nuts.
Fill greased or lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let rest in pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Glaze when cooled.
Whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice, and butter. Add more orange juice a tablespoon at a time if you want a thinner glaze. Drizzle over cooled muffins.
Makes 18 muffins.