Whole wheat cranberry orange muffins packed with fruit and fiber for a wholesome breakfast treat. Tart cranberries and delicious orange-scented cake.
Hi there! We just got back from a whirlwind Christmas visit to see family and friends in my hometown Alameda, California. Of course, everyone was REALLY excited to see baby James. He received lots of kisses, tickles, play time with his cousins (6 boys!) and generous gifts from Santa.
I was spoiled last week. My older brother Blandon and I frequented our favorite French-inspired small batch bread and pastry spot called Crispian Bakery. The chef’s trained at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, so the quality of their creations are mind blowing. They have the flakiest croissants, moist quick breads, and muffins.
Since we returned home this weekend, I’ve been on a bit of a sweets withdrawal. I took a quick peek in my fridge for some inspiration. I found a bag of whole cranberries and a few juicy navel oranges, they keep so well in the refrigerator! I was craving muffins but knew I should make them a little bit healthier for the family. Fresh baked whole wheat cranberry orange muffins were the answer, the perfect solution to satisfy any craving.
Cranberries are gorgeous ruby colored fruit packed with naturally occurring flavanols (polyphenols), which have antioxidant capacity. With it’s nutritional benefits, it’s not surprising that it’s being used more often in recipes.
If you’ve even tried a whole cranberry before, they are very tart. They’re best-cooked in homemade cranberry sauce or even sandwiched in between Linzer cookies. Balancing the sourness with a little bit of sweetness is key!
Have you ever seen the inside of a cranberry? They are white or pink depending on the ripeness with a cute flower shape in the center. I cut about 2/3 of the cranberries in half so that flavor could infuse into the muffin better, and absorb some of the sweetness from the batter.
I pressed about 3 cranberries on top of each muffin so they would have that colorful berry appearance on top. If you really like a stronger zing, keep some of the cranberries whole while you fold them into the batter.
Check out those irresistible golden cranberry orange muffins! I used white whole wheat flour, made from a lighter colored white spring wheat that has a more mild flavor with all of the same nutritional benefits. The whole wheat grains in the batter gives the muffins and moist, cakey crumb on the inside, with a more textured exterior similar to cornbread.
If you like a little more of a crunch, sprinkle some sugar on top of the muffins before baking, you may not even need the extra orange glaze, hmmm, we’ll see.
Oh yeah, the cherry on top! This super easy orange glaze is powdered sugar and fresh orange juice. I made the glaze thick enough so that it slowly drizzles down the muffin, but stays put on top. It adds a stronger hint of citrus flavor and compliments the slight tartness from the cranberries.
I would gladly wake up early each morning for one of these muffin beauty queens!
Each muffin is packed with fresh cranberries and orange scented cake. With breakfast ready in under an hour, you’ve got a mini meal packed with fruit and fiber ready to go. You can even freeze, defrost and reheat these muffins if you need a quick bite on those busy weekday mornings to go with your cup of coffee. Your family and friends will love this healthier version of their favorite muffin.
How do you create a cake-textured muffin?
When making muffins, it’s important not to over mix the batter. Gently combine the dry ingredients with the wet, until the dry ingredients are just absorbed. A lumpy batter is what you want, and a few unmixed spots are okay. Mixing more than needed can create a muffin that is tough and not tender. You can tell if you have over mixed the batter if you break the muffin open, and you can see little large tubular holes called tunneling. The mixing method for this muffin starts with creaming softened butter with sugar, instead of melted butter or oil. The creaming incorporates air into the batter, naturally leavening the muffin, helping to create a more tender and cake-like texture.