Cranberry Orange Muffins: Three Ways

This might be an unusual way to begin a blog, but I would like to start with a short story – don’t worry – it’s really quick! I will begin by stating that I had just made these delicious muffins.

I needed to run a few quick errands and my first stop was my neighborhood drug store. As I approached the cash register with my items, the clerk looked at me and exclaimed, “You smell sooooo gooood!” I was a little startled, and became even more so, as he continued, “You smell like food! You’re making me hungry!” I was somewhat bewildered by his response and quickly grabbed my items. I then thought to myself, “Maybe it’s a good thing to smell like freshly baked Cranberry Orange Muffins!”

That morning, I had made three versions of my muffins. A friend had asked me if there was a way to make these muffins dairy-free. And so, I experimented. One version used reduced fat buttermilk (my go to recipe). I also tried substituting vanilla soy yogurt and almond milk for the buttermilk. I used different colored paper liners (yellow, white, and blue) for each batch.

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I first measured all my ingredients. I had 3 sets of everything! I am something of a purist and really try to use fresh ingredients that are chemical free. For example, I use baking powder that is Aluminum-free. I first mixed together my dry ingredients (2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt). I combined beaten eggs, 1 cup of buttermilk (or vanilla soy yogurt or almond milk), 1/3 cup of canola oil, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon of orange zest in a medium bowl. Then I mixed the wet and dry ingredients together.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 12.15.30 PMI used 1 cup of cranberries and sprinkled them with 1 tablespoon of flour so they wouldn’t sink to the bottom of the batter.Then I folded the cranberries into the batter and spooned the batter into individual muffin cups. I sprinkled the muffins with one tablespoon of orange zest prior to popping them in the oven and then baked them for 25 minutes, until they were golden brown.


Before Baking

Before Baking

The verdict: The batch with the buttermilk had the best flavor and consistency. The muffins with the vanilla soy yogurt had a great taste and texture too. The batch with the almond milk was a bit disappointing and tasted a tad flat. Almond milk is considerably thinner than buttermilk and yogurt and I might have been better off using a smaller volume of almond milk.My recommendation: make these Cranberry Orange Muffins with buttermilk or vanilla soy yogurt for a dairy-free version. They are scrumptious and you and your kitchen will smell AMAZING!

Here is the recipe from when it all began:
Click to view and print: Orange Cranberry Muffins


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