One of only a trio of fruits native to North America, tart little cranberries pack a nutritional wallop. High in antioxidants and a good source of fiber and vitamin C, cranberries contribute a lot of flavor for a small caloric price—only about 50 calories a cup. And current research shows that compounds in cranberries called proanthocyanidins may actually help prevent pesky urinary tract infections by keeping bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder and urethra—and this applies to cranberries in juice, sauce, and fresh or dried berry form. What’s not to love?
These muffins nestle the tart fresh cranberries in a sweet, orange-flavored crumb. I stock up on bags of fresh cranberries when they're in abundance around Thanksgiving and store them in the freezer. When I need them for a recipe like this one, I just toss them in whole—no thawing or chopping required.
If you can’t get your hands on fresh cranberries, you can substitute dried, sweetened cranberries. Just soak them in a bit of orange juice for half an hour before you’re ready to add them and don’t add the additional 2 tablespoons of sugar called for with the fresh berries.
Cranberry Orange Nut Muffins
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Large-crystal sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan or 12-cup standard muffin pan.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Roughly chop fresh cranberries and place in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar and orange zest; set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat the two eggs. Add orange juice and oil and stir to combine. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in cranberry mixture and walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan and sprinkle tops with sugar if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for jumbo muffins or 15 to 20 minutes for standard muffins. Let cool for 5 minutes in pan and then remove to rack.