Vegan Cranberry-Orange Muffins

This morning, I awoke next to poor, sick Luis. So, I figured with the help of some fresh cranberries that I snagged from class a week back, that I would whip up something nice and cute for a surprise breakfast: muffins. 
(plus a little paper flag I made on a whim taped onto a straw and stuck into the center.)
Vote me for best girlfriend of the year.

I have hardly ever worked with fresh cranberries before a week ago when I made cranberry sherbet in class. These guys are tart, especially after cooking them down in a saucepan and taking a large spoonful of a taste, I guess I should have thought twice before I did that. To play around with them even more in class, for my plate I had decided on 'sugared' cranberries. My first attempt was just rolling them in plain granulated sugar. I took a bite..still made my face pucker up. For my second attempt, I soaked the cranberries in simple syrup and then rolled them in coarse sanding sugar this time, instead of granulated. The result: candy, literally. Success! I made way too many than I needed (on purpose) and took home my leftovers. Now, I'm all for sweet treats, but I didn't have any intention to give myself a mouthful of cavities, so I threw all of my candied cranberries into a strainer and rinsed off the effort I put into candying them. No big deal, because I was then left with about a cup of -free- cranberries. I stuck them back into my freezer for a week until now, when I came up with a plan for them. 

The result: Christmas in a muffin. Cranberry paired with orange is no secret combination. There's a reason it's popular. These muffins are a prime example. The whole wheat flour does give for a more dense texture, that's a given. So if you don't mind using all-purpose for a fluffier texture, go for it. Or perhaps try out a gluten free blend, that could probably work as well. Other inclusions that may go well in these muffins include walnuts, pecans, almonds, chocolate chips, or coconut. 

'Feel Better' Vegan Cranberry-Orange Muffins
Recipe adapted from: Meals for Miles
Yield: 1 standard loaf or 1 dozen muffins


  • 1-1/2 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar 
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • zest of one orange
  • 1-1/4 cup cranberries, cut in half
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease/line loaf pan or muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the applesauce, milk, oil, vanilla, orange juice, and zest.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold with a rubber spatula until almost fully mixed. Add cranberries and fold until all ingredients are just combined. Don't overmix.
5. Insert batter into prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes for a loaf or 20-30 minutes for muffins.
6. For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, orange juice, and vanilla. Add water a little at a time until a thick drizzling consistency is reached. If the glaze is too runny, simply add more powdered sugar to adjust. Drizzle over cooled muffins.

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© A Little Baker
Maira Gall