So I was cleaning out my freezer the other day…
Huh. That kind of sounds like the beginning of what could evolve into a very bad and/or questionable joke.
But I was really cleaning out my freezer the other day! Actually, I didn’t set out to clean out the freezer–I was trying to make smoothies. I was reaching for some frozen bananas to toss into my new favorite breakfast shake, but I couldn’t find them. So it was in the midst of my search for frozen bananas that I decided that the entire freezer needed to be reorganized.
Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever come up empty trying to find something, only to decide that you had to totally reorganize the space where it should be? That very minute?
Please say yes.
In the process of pulling everything off the shelf where my frozen bananas should have been, I saw a bag of fresh cranberries that I’d tossed in there
a year ago awhile back. Then I thought, Wow. I should probably do something with those cranberries soon. I’d barely completed that thought when a container of previously frozen pumpkin puree fell out onto my foot.
Ouch! Okay. Okay. I get it!
If that isn’t kismet, than I don’t know what is–these muffins are my destiny! I forgot about the breakfast shakes and got to tweaking my favorite banana bread recipe. See? Bananas were the still (kind of) a factor…and my morning came full circle.
I have to say that these muffins were instantly dubbed World Famous by my family. The warmly-spiced pumpkin is beautifully complemented by the tang of fresh cranberries; combine all that with the orange-kissed icing, and Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins are a delightful way to start the day.
And, hey…if muffins aren’t your thing, then I’ve got you covered. The recipe makes enough batter to make two loaves of quick bread. The instructions for the bread are included in the printable.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins or Bread
Makes 28-30 Muffins (or **2 Loaves)
For the Muffins (**or Bread:)
3 C. all-purpose flour
½ Tbs. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 C. granulated sugar
1 ¼ C. pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 C. canola oil
½ C. orange juice
1 ½ C. fresh cranberries (please do not substitute dried cranberries)
For the Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted or aerated
¾ tsp. orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan wells with cupcake wrappers. Lightly spray the inside of the wrappers with baking spray. (**Or grease and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.)
- Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- Sort through the fresh cranberries and remove any shriveled, soft, or browned berries. Toss the fresh cranberries into the dry ingredients, to coat. Make a well in the center of the bowl.
- Place the sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, canola oil, and orange juice in another bowl, whisking until the ingredients are well combined.
- Pour the sugar mixture into the well in the dry ingredients. Fold together with a rubber spatula/scraper until everything is just moistened and incorporated.
- Fill each of the prepared muffin cups 2/3 full of batter. (**Divide batter evenly between prepared loaf pans, if making bread.)
- Bake muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, (**60 to 65 minutes for bread,) or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing from the pans to cool completely.
- Once muffins (**or loaves) are completely cool, prepare the icing.
- In a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar and orange juice to make a smooth, thick icing.
- Transfer the icing into a small sandwich bag. Squeeze the icing toward one corner of the bag, and twist the top of the bag closed. Snip a tiny part of the corner filled with icing off of the bag, and then quickly drizzle the icing over the muffins (**or bread.)
- Allow icing 15 minutes to set before serving.
Notes: Leftover muffins/bread should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Also, I highly recommend not substituting sweetened dried cranberries for the fresh cranberries. The fresh cranberries really make the texture of the muffins/bread, adding a tang that cannot be achieved with dried fruit. Stock up on cranberries in the fall when they are in season, and stash them in the freezer for later use.