Cranberry Nut Muffins

Muffins are difficult to make exciting. Even more so they are difficult to make new and interesting but One thing I have learned in the kitchen is that mistakes can yield amazing results and this muffin is the prefect proof of concept. 

In season 12 of America’s Test Kitchen Christopher Kimble shared that the bench test to get a job in the test kitchen was to make a cranberry nut muffin. Being that I love seasonal foods I knew that I needed to tackle this recipe. I made them last year and they were disappointing. They weren’t interesting. I mean they were fine but just didn’t do it for me.

This year at the St. Paul Farmers Market I purchased a 25 pound case of fresh cranberries and separated them out into freezer bags to freeze for future use. Cranberries freeze AMAZINGLY! I did both quart bags and gallon bags knowing that baking I would use less and making fresh juice I would use more. A lot more…

Knowing that I wanted to make them I pulled a quart sized bag out of the freezer and let them thaw in the fridge. Honestly, I totally forgot about them for almost a week! HA!

Yesterday I decided I would finally get them made but I took several liberties with the recipe:

  • 7 ounces All-purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Whisk together in a bowl and set aside.

  • 140 grams Pecan Halves
  • 7 ½ ounces Granulated Sugar

Pulse in a food processor until the texture resembles wet sand.

  • 2 large Eggs
  • 4 ounces Whole Milk
  • 84 grams Unsalted Butter, melted and slightly cooled

In a large bowl add the pecan sugar, eggs, milk, and butter. Whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until there are no more dry flour steaks. Set aside and let the batter rest for 30 minutes. This is important to getting a better final texture and rise.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick spray and line with muffin wrappers.

  • 2 cups Fresh Cranberries (so my bag was nearly double and I used them all)
  • 1 tablespoon Powdered Sugar (since I had double the cranberries I also double the powdered sugar)

Toss together in a bowl and fold into the batter after the 30 minutes rest period.

I also had leftover triple berry sauce from Thanksgiving so I threw that into the batter as well. I have done a few fruit muffins and learnt the secret is to do both fruit pieces as well as a puree swirled through it. I think I had something like 5 ounces of the sauce that I added.


I then used a large cookie scoop and filled the muffin tin. The batter was heaping in each cup. The original recipe called for a nut streusel topping but I opted for something simpler and just topped with sliced almonds.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the center of the muffin is firm and set. Cool in the pan before removing. Enjoy!


These muffins offer huge punch of tart cranberry flavor. This is my idea of a fun and new take on a muffin I am sure to make again!

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