November 6, 2015

Cranberry Apple Muffins

The Great Fall Baking Marathon of 2015 continues with an amazing breakfast treat: Cranberry Apple Muffins (in case pumpkin cheesecake isn't your thing). In case you didn't know, Wisconsin has been the top cranberry-producing state for decades now, even though New England likes to make you think otherwise (take that, Coasties). Pair them with your favorite apples from the farmers' market and an oatmeal muffin base and you've got an addictive fall breakfast.

Unlike my apple muffins, these aren't vegan. They are, however, still pretty healthy and full of carbs to get you going in the morning. You can make mini muffins for poppable bites on the go (not that regular muffins aren't portable too) or giant muffins for more of an indulgence. You can also throw in some nuts; toasted pecans or walnuts would add a nice crunch.

The muffin base is a simple oatmeal muffin base with a hint of cinnamon and some caramel notes from the brown sugar. You have your dry ingredients (flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, and salt); you can substitute up to half of the flour with whole wheat flour if that's what you're into. The liquid ingredients are buttermilk, oil, and eggs. As always, I love buttermilk for the extra richness and moistness, but regular milk will work fine if you don't have any on hand (but I highly recommend the buttermilk!). 

What makes these muffins special and seasonal are the cranberries and apples. Although there's not really a good substitute for fresh cranberries, the good news is that they freeze beautifully. I usually buy a few pounds during the all-too-brief cranberry season and freeze them for later use. Their tartness and gorgeous red color just can't be replaced. The apples mellow down the cranberries and add a little extra sweetness. I love using Granny Smith for baking, but any apple that will hold its texture and not get mushy during baking will work. As I said earlier, you can also throw in some pecans here if you so desire.

These muffins freeze as well as the cranberries themselves do, so I like to make a big batch and keep them in the freezer. I'll leave one or two (or five) out on the counter overnight and stick them in the microwave for a few seconds in the morning so that I get hot, fluffy muffins whenever I want. This delicious strategy also works for satisfying your holiday guests because nobody likes it when Grandma gets hangry.

2 Cups Flour
3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
1/4 Cup Oil
2 Eggs
1 Cup Oats
1 Apple, Peeled, Cored, & Diced
1 Cup Cranberries

Heat oven to 400F and line a muffin tin with paper cups.

Whisk the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Whisk the buttermilk, oil, and eggs together and fold into the flour mixture. Gently stir in the oats, apples, and cranberries.

Scoop the dough into the cups and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Makes 22
Recipe Adapted from Nutty Nutrition

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