Cranberry Orange Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

2 cups Bob’s 1-to-1 Baking Flour gf flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
[added 1/4 cup flaxseed meal]
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup canola oil
[added 1 Tbsp milk]
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease or line a muffin tin.
  • In a large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the cranberries and sugar. I usually chop up the cranberries in a small food processor and add the sugar right into the bowl of the processor and mix lightly together.
  • In yet another bowl, stir together the orange juice, oil, egg, milk, and vanilla.
  • Add these wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir just to combine. Add the cranberry mixture and stir it all together.
  • Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and bake for 16 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I made a batch of these muffins as I finished up grading and some other end-of-the-semester tasks. I’m a grazer, so I love having little, tasty snacks available to pick at throughout the day. These muffins have always been ideal grazing food. However, ever since we adapted the recipe to be gluten free, we haven’t been 100% satisfied with it. The muffins that our original recipe produced were a bit more cupcake-like, and had a soft, pillowy, almost dessert-like flavor that didn’t capture the heartiness of the gluten-filled original. So, when I was messing around with this batch, I thought about adding some flaxseed meal. We had flaxseeds that I usually use for granola, and we have a coffee/spice grinder. So I ground the flaxseeds fairly fine and added them to the batter. Both gluten free flours and flaxseeds absorb more liquid than normal gluten-filled ingredients, so I needed to add a little bit of milk to get the batter back to the desired texture. The resulting muffins feel a bit more breakfast-ready and, dare I say it, healthier?

I’m a little famous in my family for these muffins. Not because I came up with the recipe or anything (the original version comes from a book called Mostly Muffins and my mom made her own adjustments), but because I could (and did) eat a lot of them. There’s a notation in our family cookbook under this recipe that says “Kate used to eat half a dozen of these.”

There are a lot of things that I used to do as a child and don’t do anymore. I no longer go ghost hunting with a pocket full of Tic-Tacs as bait and I don’t pretend to be a knight riding into battle on one of my dad’s sawhorses (tally-ho Golden Sun!). I don’t eat gluten anymore, so I have also given up my hobby of getting vicious stomachaches.

However, some things never change, and I still eat way too many of these muffins.

We made this batch for the website on a Sunday and each enjoyed taking a muffin to work with us, or grabbing one for a snack between evening activities. Then came the day that I worked from home. Suddenly, there were only three muffins left. See, James and I haven’t been living together for all that long and he doesn’t know my history with these muffins. He was a little surprised at their mysterious disappearance and wanted to know which parts of me were now 100% muffin.

They’re really a perfect light breakfast or snack – there’s less than a cup of sugar in there and the combination of cranberry and orange flavors is always bright and cheery. There’s a moment in baking these muffins when I really like to smell the batter (does this make me weird? Probably.), because the addition of orange juice makes it smell like sunshine. And then you add in the cranberries, which I think are a totally under-appreciated fruit, and you’ve got such a deliciously light, tart, and sweet muffin.

If you can do the whole gluten thing, then you could make this recipe even healthier (I’m just helping you justify eating six at a time like I do). In order to make the recipe glutinous again, you would just use whatever your preferred flour is in place of the Bob’s Red Mill, and you can add 1/3 cup of wheat germ, which is what the original cookbook recipe calls for. It gives the muffins a bit more heft and nutrition.

How about you guys – what’s the recipe that you just haven’t wanted to let go of since childhood?

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Muffins

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