These Cranberry Muffins are made with buttermilk and fresh orange juice for an ultra tender crumb. The muffins are chock full of tangy berries. You can top the muffins with crunchy orange-sugar or a shiny orange-glaze.
What is the “muffin method” for mixing batter?
A “muffin” is a specific baked good, but it’s also the name of a mixing technique.
To mix a batter with the “muffin method” you put all your dry ingredients together, put all your wet ingredients together, then combine the two. It’s one of the easiest baking techniques there is. This recipe comes together in just a few minutes.
Ingredients for Cranberry Muffins:
- All Purpose Flour: All purpose flour has a medium protein content. When we add the wet ingredients to the flour the batter forms enough gluten to give the muffins some structure. Thanks to the gluten in the batter the muffins can form a nice dome as they bake.
- Sugar: This batter has relatively low amount of sugar. Muffins are not cupcakes and shouldn’t be as sweet as cake. The sugar or glaze topping does add a layer of sweetness to the muffins. You can serve the muffins without any topping if you prefer as less sweet flavor.
- Oil: Because oil stays liquid at room temperature the muffins are nice and soft with a tender crumb.
- Buttermilk: Acidic buttermilk will tenderize the crumb and add a lightly tangy flavor.
- Fresh oranges: Orange zest contains the orange oil that adds wonderful fresh flavor to the muffins. The fresh juice adds some flavor and some acidity. Just like buttermilk, the orange juice tenderizes and flavors the muffins.
- Cranberries: – You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. If you’re using frozen berries don’t defrost them or they will leak too much juice into the batter. Fold the berries into the batter while they’re still frozen.
How to make Cranberry Muffins:
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup.
Step 2: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Step 3: Add fresh or frozen berries to the partially mixed batter.
Step 4: Fold in the berries just until combine. Do not overmix or the muffins will be dense and rubbery.
Step 5: Use a scoop or measuring cup to portion the batter. Do not fill the pans more than 2/3 full.
Step 6: Bake the muffins until they spring back when lightly pressed in the center.
Step 7: Dip the warm muffins into the orange butter then into the orange sugar. Alternately, dip each muffin into the orange glaze.
Pastry chef tips for making the best Cranberry Muffins:
- Don’t overmix the batter. Fold the flour until halfway incorporated then fold in the berries just until mixed through. Overmixing will result in dense and rubbery muffins.
- As soon as the wet ingredients are added to the dry ingredients the baking powder and baking soda are activated. For the lightest muffins scoop the batter and bake the muffins right after mixing.
- I like to use pan spray or butter and flour to prep the muffin pan because I like the nice crust than forms when the batter bakes directly in the pan. You can also use cupcakes liners if you prefer to have each muffin in a wrapper.
How to work ahead:
- Weigh out all the ingredients ahead of time. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. If you will be holding the ingredients more than 2-3 hours refrigerate the wet ingredients.
- The pan can be prepped a day ahead of time.
- The orange sugar can be made up to 1 day ahead of time. Put the butter and orange juice in a container then melt the butter when the muffins come out of the oven.
- The orange glaze can be mixed up to a day ahead. Cover the container to keep the glaze from drying out.
How to store Cranberry Muffins:
- The muffins are best the day they are baked but will keep at room temperature for a day. Store them in a tightly covered container.
- For longer term storage, the muffins can be frozen for up to a month. The muffins can be defrosted and reheated in a 200°F oven. If the muffins have been glazed the topping will melt in the oven.
Hey Cranberry lover, you’ll want to try these recipes too:
- Cranberries in Red Wine
- White Chocolate Cheesecake with Cranberry topping
- Cranberry Linzer Tart
- Cranberry Orange Scones
- Cranberry Crumb Pie
- Sourdough Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries
- Ginger & Cranberry Biscotti
- Gingerbread Scones with Cranberry butter
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Cranberry Muffin Recipe
- 14 oz all purpose flour (2 3/4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 4 oz granulated sugar (½ cup)
- 2 large eggs
- 8 oz Buttermilk (1 cup)
- 5 oz vegetable oil (2/3 cup)
- 1 orange
- 8 oz cranberries (2 heaping cups)
- 4 oz granulated sugar (½ cup)
- 1 orange
- 4 oz unsalted butter (melted)
- 4 oz confectioner sugar (1 cup)
- 1 orange
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter and flour 18 standard-size muffin cups or line with paper liners. Alternately, this recipe will make 9-10 jumbo muffins.
- Place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients to combine.14 oz all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon table salt, 4 oz granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and the finely grated zest and 1/4 cup of juice from the orange.2 large eggs, 8 oz Buttermilk, 5 oz vegetable oil, 1 orange
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until the flour is barely incorporated, then fold in the cranberries. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins filling no more than 2/3 full.8 oz cranberries
- Bake until the center of a muffin springs back when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs, 15-20 minutes. While the muffins are baking prepare either the sugar topping or the glaze.
- For the sugar topping: In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar with the finely grated zest from the orange. In another small bowl combine the melted butter and 1/4 cup of orange juice.4 oz granulated sugar, 4 oz unsalted butter, 1 orange
- For the Glaze: Combine the confectioner's sugar with the finely grated zest from the orange and 3 tablespoons of the juice.4 oz confectioner sugar, 1 orange
- Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes. They should still be warm, but not too hot to handle. For sugar topped muffins dip the top of each muffin into the melted butter and then into the sugar. For glazed muffins, dip each muffin into the glaze. Allow the sugar or glaze to set for a few minutes before serving.
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