As soon as the oranges on my tree are ripe, I always set out to make a batch of Orange Cranberry Bread. It’s a simple quickbread recipe that includes fresh cranberries and lots of freshly squeezed orange juice. It’s relatively light in texture (and it also happens to be quite low in fat, so suitable for cutting into large slices!), but full of flavor from the bright oranges and juicy, tart cranberries. When baking a batch the other day, I realized that the recipe would also make very tasty muffins, as an alternative to a whole loaf.
The muffin recipe just about the same as the quick bread recipe, though it is divided up into muffin cups to bake. The fresh orange juice is really what makes this recipe so special, and while you can make it with storebought orange juice, I encourage you to pick up whole oranges to juice yourself. At the very least, include at least one orange so you can get some fresh zest from it to pump up the flavor in the muffins. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries, and I like to include some dried cranberries because they are a little bit sweeter than the fresh berries.
These muffins are delicious when they are still slightly warm and fragrant from the oven. The whole cranberries are nicely juicy, and a great contrast to the sweet, orange-y muffins. The muffins bake quite quickly, so be sure to test them with a toothpick for doneness early to ensure a moist muffin; they can dry out if left in the oven too long. They are delicious plain, or with a little bit of butter spread on them.
Orange Cranberry Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (unthawed)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 375F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well, then add in in orange juice, orange zest, oil and egg and whisk everything together until just combined. Stir in whole and dried cranberries. Divide evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Muffins can be served slightly warm or at room temperature.
Makes 12 muffins.