Healthy bakery-style cranberry orange muffins that are dairy-free, vegan, and so much healthier. Mine have a lovely sugar crumb topping that turn them from an ordinary muffin into a brunch celebration!
Healthy Cranberry Orange Muffins
Classic cranberry orange muffins made dairy-free, vegan and high in fiber. The perfect healthier breakfast muffin. They have a huge dome muffin-top and a sugary crumb on top, just enough sweet to make it a near dessert while still keeping the healthy.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins Healthier
A few ways I have made my cranberry orange healthier is to lower the sugar, hemp for protein and replaced eggs with aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas. Aquafaba adds protein.
Cranberry Orange Muffins Have a Sugar Crumb Topping
One aspect of my muffins that is not so healthy is my beloved sugar crumb topping.
I love crumble tops on my muffins so I made them this way. You don't have to. But I'm going to share my sugar topping recipe and technique anyway.
Ingredients in My Healthy Cranberry Orange Muffins
Okay so here is a quick list of the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe.
Flour - I have tried this recipe with all purpose, Bob's Red Mill's 1 to 1 gluten-free baking flour AND oat flour. They tasted the same! If using oat flour, however, double the amount of flour - so 2 cups instead of 1 cup, and double the orange juice, so ½ cup instead of ¼ cup. That's because oat flour absorbs more liquid than other flours do.
Sugar - I used organic cane sugar. I am using organic cane sugar, brands that are organic, non-gmo and fair trade so workers who process this sugar are not exploited.
Butter - I used a vegan butter, brand Earthbalance. It worked perfectly but if you are not vegan and can use regular butter, that will work too.
Aquafaba - the liquid from a can of chickpeas (or pinto beans) to replace eggs.
Cranberries - You can use either frozen or fresh in this recipe. If you use frozen, the muffin will have pink streaks because of the wetness of the frozen berries. You can minimize this by tossing the cranberries in flour before folding them into the batter. Specifically, rinse the frozen berries, pat dry, and then toss them in flour - whichever flour you are using in the recipe.
Orange Juice - Instead of using milk as in most muffin recipes, I use orange juice. Of course I used not-from-concentrate OJ, or squeezed fresh oranges if possible.
The other ingredients are just pantry ingredients, including vanilla, baking powder, and salt.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins
Preheat the oven at 400 F.
Next, make the crumble top first and freeze it while you make the muffin batter.
Finally, make the muffin batter in ONE BOWL people. But don't just throw those cranberries in.
Toss the cranberries - fresh or frozen - in flour.
Then fold those berries in. The flour keeps them dispersed evenly in the batter AND prevents them from turning gooey and the batter pink.
Fill the cupcake wells at least ⅔ of the way, pack on the topping and put them in that hot oven THEN lower the oven to 350 F and bake for 25 minutes.
Tips for Perfect Cranberry Orange Muffins
1. Toss the cranberries in flour before putting them into the batter. I didn't slice mine in half, but you can if you want to. It might make your cake a bit pinker even with flouring the berries.
2. Make your crumble top first and put it in the freezer while you make muffin batter. If you want to set it aside for longer than half an hour, don't freeze, just refrigerate.
3. For the topping, be sure your butter is chilled, not softened, certainly not melted.
4. Fill your muffin wells nearly to the top and then add your crumb. To be sure your muffin tops don't stick to the pan, be sure to grease the TOP of the pan.
Test Your Baking Powder & Baking Soda
The number one reason baking recipes fail is dud baking powder or even baking soda. To test them, pour ¼ tsp baking powder in a glass of water and ¼ tsp of baking soda in a glass of white vinegar. Both should create fizzy bubbles if they are fresh. If not, toss them and buy new versions.
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Healthy Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 1 cup all purpose flour or Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten-free baking flour. Or Oat flour (if using oat, double flour amount and orange juice amount)
- ¼ cup butter softened or room temperature
- ⅔ cups organic cane sugar
- 3 tbsp aquafaba liquid from a chickpea can
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- ¾ cup fresh cranberries
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Grease the top surface of the 6-well cupcake pan (so muffin tops don't stick). Then line the cupcake pan with paper liners.
- Toss the cranberries in flour and set aside.
Make Sugar Crumb Top
- Make the top first and freeze while you make muffins
- To do this, use a fork to mix the flour, sugar, butter and zest together into a crumbly mixture. Don't thoroughly cream it up. Instead, let chunks of flour and butter be visible. Add in the hemp hearts and zest.
- Put bowl in the freezer (or refrigerator for more than half hour) while you mix up muffins.
- In one large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until combined.
- Add in the aquafaba, vanilla, orange juice and zest.
- Sift in flour, salt, baking powder.
- Mix this mixture until creamed together.
- Fold floured cranberries into batter as well.
- Fill each cupcake well with batter nearly to the top.
- Sprinkle and lightly pack on the sugar crumb topping.
- Put the pan in the oven, and lower heat to 350 F. Bake at 350 F for only 20 minutes.
- Store the muffins in a sealed container for 24 hours at room temperature if you want. The tops begin to moisten however. So within a day, put them in the refrigerator for a week or longer frozen.
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients and another immunity-boosting smoothie shot book, 4-Ingredient Smoothies + Juices , due out in January 2021. On this blog you'll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in sciences and journalism, editor at The Feedfeed and a nutritional expert at WikiHow. More about Dee Dine here.