Cranberries are one of my favorite berries to work with in the fall. Their bright color and sweet-tart taste compliments a lot of different ingredients. Dried cranberries are the easiest to use, since you can incorporate them into just about anything, but whole cranberries pack a lot more of a tart punch and also add a lot more color, so I will go out of my way to use them when they are available fresh in the market. These Cardamom Cranberry Muffins are a great way to showcase fresh cranberries in an easy-to-make recipe. The moist muffins are packed with brightly colored cranberries, making them a festive choice for holiday brunches and breakfasts.
Cranberries are often paired with citrus, like orange or lemon. These muffins do have a little bit of orange juice, but most of the flavor comes from cardamom. Ground cardamom has a bright, slightly lemony flavor and that is why it works so well with the cranberries. You get a lot of cardamom flavor in these muffins (particularly if you ground cardamom is fresh), but the cranberries are bold enough to stand up to that flavor and still stand out! I also added a little ginger and vanilla to round out all the elements in these muffins.
I prefer to use fresh cranberries in these muffins, but frozen berries will work just as well. If you are using frozen berries, don’t defrost them before adding them to the batter. The muffins may also need an additional minute of baking time. Cooled muffins are best eaten right away, but they can also be stored in an airtight container for later enjoyment if you want to eat them them next day.
Cardamom Cranberry Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, sugar, brown sugar and egg until well combined. Whisk in cardamom, ginger and vanilla. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk and orange juice. Stir in remaining flour mixture, mixing until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Fold in cranberries so that they are evenly distributed in the batter.
Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin cups, filling each at least 3/4 full. Top muffins with coarse sugar.
Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until muffins spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely.