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cranberry orange bran muffins

Isn’t fall wonderful? In fall, I scramble to make all the meals I love to eat most in cold weather. The fall harvest is so bountiful, that as in summer it feels like the sky is the limit. Cabbage and kale are back, as are cranberries and oranges. Which can only mean one thing. Cranberry bread. (Ok, it means three things: cranberry bread, gwumpki, and mac & cheese with kale & mushrooms).

I’ve learned something about myself in the past year. I don’t much care for quick breads. I’ve been making them since I first started using the kitchen (12 years old maybe?), and yet for some reason the fact that I don’t like eating them didn’t occur to me until this year. It seems to me the edges always get too brown and dry, and no matter how great the recipe, breakfast breads just don’t travel well. Muffins, on the other hand, are the perfect travel food. When you have two kids under five, food that can travel is your best good friend. Hence, I’m sharing yet another muffin recipe today.

Flours & grains

This recipe is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe. I like that one but feel like they could have made it a bit healthier. While they are normally good at cutting fat, they don’t much tweak the flour and sugar in their recipes, so I do it for them. I think a taste test wouldn’t glean much difference, but the added bran and adapted sugar make them good for breakfast (instead of dessert, which the original recipe was bordering on). I might even use applesauce in place of more sugar next time, but I was worried about changing the solids/liquids the first time around.image

cranberry orange bran muffins
makes 16 muffins (though I normally double my muffin batches)

3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. white whole wheat flour
1/2 c. bran (I like Bob’s Old Red Mill 10 Grain cereal)
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. unrefined sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. grated orange rind
3/4 c. orange juice (about 1 large orange; you can supplement with cider or other juice)
1/4 c. oil
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 Tbs. maple syrup
2 c. coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/3 c. chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degF. Combine flour through orange rind in a large bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl; add wet mixture to flour mixture. Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin cups (I like to use a 1/3 c. measuring cup). Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and muffins spring back when touched. Let cool for five minutes in cups and then carefully remove and cool on wire rack.

Editor’s note: This post is a part of Real Food WednesdayMonday Maniaand The Homestead Barn Hop