Cranberries may be a staple of fall baking, especially around Thanksgiving, but these sweet-tart berries can be a welcome addition to recipes any time of the year. These Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins are a perfect example. In them, whole cranberries add bright bursts of color to the muffins and contrast very well with the chunks of rich chocolate that also stud these brunch time treats. They’re topped off with a little bit of sweet streusel. The muffins are buttery, light and have a nice vanilla flavor that allows both the cranberries and chocolate to stand out.
You can use both fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe, whichever you have on hand. Since the berries are fairly large, big chocolate chunks work quite well in these muffins. You can chop up your favorite dark chocolate bar (choose a good quality chocolate!) to get a really chunky feel to your chocolate, or you can simply use chocolate chips. Semisweet and dark chocolate go a little bit better with the cranberries than milk chocolate does in this recipe.
The recipe makes slightly more than a dozen muffins, and one of the reasons for that is that there are so many mix-ins in the muffin batter. I wanted the muffins to be packed with chocolate and cranberries, then leave a little room for streusel on top, and that left me with enough batter for a few more muffins. Fortunately, in this case, it is a pleasure to have a few extra muffins available.
Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup coarsely chopped chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
1/4 cup all purpose flour
6 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F. Line 15 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together cooled, melted butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture.
Fold in whole cranberries and chocolate chunks until evenly distributed.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each roughly 2/3 – 3/4 full.
Make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and rub in with your fingertips until mixture is very coarse and sandy in appearance. Add in chocolate chunks
Divide topping evenly over muffin batter.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool muffins completely on a wire rack.