It’s cranberry season!! I get just about as excited for cranberry season every year as I do for pumpkin season in early October. I just love those tart little berries more than I can express. And now that I’m near Aldi and can get a bag of fresh cranberries for $0.99, I’m even more excited! I decided to celebrate today by making these Orange Cranberry Muffins, which are a variation on the cranberry bread my mother always made every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Its sweet, tart, and totally indulgent.
I decided to turn my cranberry bread into Orange Cranberry Muffins because I like the automatic portion control and I always found the bread too delicate to effectively slice. I also upped the orange by adding a healthy dose of zest to both the muffin batter and the streusel topping. While we usually put walnuts in the bread too, I decided to keep it budget-friendly and skip the walnuts this time around (Aldi is also a great place to get inexpensive nuts, BTW).
I rarely make muffins because they’re loaded with sugar, so when I do I always freeze them after baking and cooling. Muffins and other baked goods freeze really well so you can just take one out every now and then instead of trying to eat an entire 12 muffin batch in a week. They thaw relatively quickly at room temperature, or a quick 30 seconds in the microwave should do the trick.
Orange Cranberry Muffins
Orange Cranberry Muffins
- 1 large orange, zested and juiced ($1.00)
- 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.02)
- 1.5 Tbsp white sugar ($0.3)
- 1/8 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted ($0.26)
- 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour ($0.05)
- 2 cups flour ($0.27)
- 1 cup white sugar ($0.32)
- 1.5 tsp baking powder ($0.06)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda ($0.01)
- 1 tsp salt ($0.05)
- 4 Tbsp butter ($0.52)
- 1 large egg ($0.27)
- 1.5 cups fresh cranberries ($0.50)
- Butter and flour for coating the muffin tin ($0.15)
- Use a zester or small holed cheese grater to remove the zest from the orange. Squeeze as much juice from the orange as possible. You'll need at least 1/2 cup, but no more than 3/4 cup juice. Set the zest and juice aside until they are needed. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Create the streusel first so it's ready to go on the muffins as soon as the batter is mixed. In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, white sugar, 1/4 tsp of the orange zest, salt, and melted butter. Once mixed, add the flour and stir to combine again until the flour creates a sort of paste with the butter and sugar. Set the streusel aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt for the muffin batter. Once mixed, add the butter in chunks and work it into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the egg with 3/4 cup orange juice and whisk until the egg is incorporated. If you have slightly less than 3/4 juice from the orange, you can top it off with water to make 3/4 cup, but make sure you have at least 1/2 cup juice to maintain the flavor.
- Pour the juice and egg mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir just until the mixture has moistened. Do not over stir. Add the cranberries (whole or chopped) and fold them into the batter.
- Use about 1/2 Tbsp butter to coat the inside wells of a 12 muffin tin. Once coated in butter, spoon a little flour in each well and then tilt the tin until the flour coats all sides of each well. Dump out any excess flour.
- Divide the muffin batter between the 12 wells in the muffin tin, then top with a generous sprinkle of the streusel topping (make sure it's in clumps). Bake the muffins for about 30 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown on top. Let the muffins cool before loosening and removing them from the tin.
Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Zest and juice the orange first because you’ll need some of the zest for both the streusel topping and the muffin batter. You’ll need 3/4 cup juice for the muffin batter, but if you can’t get quite that much, it’s okay. Just make sure you get 1/2 cup minimum.
To start the streusel combine 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar, 1.5 Tbsp white sugar, 1/4 tsp orange zest, 1/8 tsp salt, and 2 Tbsp melted butter in a small bowl.
Add 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour and stir until it forms a crumbly paste. Set the streusel aside.
To begin the muffin batter, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup white sugar, 1.5 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl. Stir until they are well combined.
Add 4 Tbsp butter and 1/2 tsp of the orange zest. Work the butter and zest into the flour mixture until it becomes a crumbly mixture.
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine one large egg and 3/4 cup orange juice (if you have slightly less than 3/4 cup juice, just top it off with water to make 3/4 cup). Lightly whisk the mixture to break up the egg. Add the egg and juice to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir just until all of the mixture is moistened. Add 1.5 cups fresh cranberries (whole or roughly chopped) and fold them into the batter. Do not over stir the batter.
Smear butter inside the wells of a 12 muffin tin. Spoon a little flour into each well, then tilt the tin to coat all sides with the flour. Dump out the extra flour.
Divide the muffin batter between all 12 wells of the muffin tin.
Add the streusel topping to each muffin. Make sure the streusel is in clumps.
Bake the muffins for about 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top. Let the muffins cool a bit before loosening and removing them from the tin.