Monday, February 13

Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

It's been a little while since I've posted over here. But what's over a year break to you and I? We're just (hopefully) gonna pick right up and keep going like nothing ever happened.

I will, however, give y'all a brief update on how things have been with us. I recently started another blog. It's a dessert blog with a focus on ice cream. Go check it out over at Scoops of Sunshine.  Tara has been focusing on her jewelry business, Flipside Creations, and has recently started a part time job as a tour guide down in Miami.  Tara has wanted to be a tour guide for ever and it totally suits her.  Unfortunately, she has to be in the sun for over 9 hours a day and she only gets quick snack breaks throughout the day, so she has been having some problems with her AIP.

We've been a little lax about our food choices and eating right, especially for Tara and her Porphyria.  For example, Tara has been eating things like Pop Tarts, chips, and cookies for her snacks for work.  She rarely eats a "real" breakfast, choosing to normally drink a glass of rice milk and maybe grab a banana for the road.  So, I've taken it upon myself to start making better treats for her.

These cranberry pumpkin muffins are perfect snacks because they're portable, quick to eat, and don't need refrigeration. 

Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 1997

Makes about 16 muffins

I made a few changes to the original recipe, mostly based on what I had on hand, but also personal preference.  See the notes below for my verdict and possible substitutions.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup orange juice, fresh-squeezed if possible
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup chopped (halved or quartered) cranberries (dried is OK, just make sure they're sulfur free)
  • butter or oil to grease the pan
  • Optional topping: 2 tablespoons chopped pecans or pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Other optional ingredients: ground ginger, crystallized ginger, orange zest or extract/oil


Preheat oven to 350.  Grease muffin cups or line with liners.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, OJ, and butter.  Add the orange zest or extract/oil, if using.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir a few times, until most of the powder is mixed.  (Don't worry, we'll get it all in there.)  Fold in your cranberries and crystallized ginger, if using. 

Spoon batter into muffin cups.  Fill to the top for nice, domed muffins.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts or seeds, if using.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a few muffins comes out clean.  Make sure to check about halfway through to see if you need to rotate the pan(s) around.  Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Verdict and notes

I liked the bread well enough, but I would definitely make some changes if I were to make it again.  The flavor was a little flat and I think some ginger would improve the taste dramatically.  Also, I bet throwing in some crystallized ginger would be awesome.  I'm not normally a fan, but it would amp up the complexity a bit.  Finally, I think a little (not too much) orange extract or oil would have been good.  If you're squeezing the orange juice from an orange, zest the orange and throw zest in the batter with the liquids.

As for substitutions, quick breads are usually very forgiving, so don't fear:
(1) Feel free to use any squash or sweet potatoes in place of the pumpkin.
(2) We use whole eggs in the house, but the original recipe used an egg substitute.  Also, I bet egg whites would work, too.  1 egg equals 1/4 cup of substitute. 
(3) I'm a firm believer in butter is better, but I think coconut oil would have been really tasty.  Also, Earth Balance makes an Organic Coconut Spread (flash site) that is vegan and is soy free.  It does, however, have canola oil in it.  The coconut flavor is mild and only initially noticeable.

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