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cranberry orange whole wheat muffins

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In the world of weight loss and dieting, the word muffin has long been a four-letter word. Basically, muffin equals cake. Cake dressed up in a disguise to look like breakfast.

I’ve had a bag of unsweetened, dried cranberries hanging around my pantry for a few weeks now and decided they needed to make their way into muffins. As I searched the far reaches of my favorite cookbook—the internet—I discovered a million recipes chock full of white flour and cups (!) of sugar.

Call me crazy, but I’d like to believe the natural sweetness of the cranberries and oranges could mostly stand on its own in a breakfast muffin. Eating a ton of refined sugar for breakfast is fun and all, but it also is the precursor to a nasty 11am sugar crash. Which is fine on the weekends. Not so fine if you want to consume something before your huge work presentation. These muffins keep you full and focused.

And white flour? To start your day off right you need your flour to be bigger, better, strong, whole-wheatier. No need for real flour’s sad, bleached and processed relative to steal the spotlight.

So I went rogue. I created a muffin that is dense, rich, lightly-sweet and fulfilling enough to actually make for a good breakfast (or snack).  Now that’s my kind of non-cake muffin.

Of note, we stashed these in the freezer in a zip-top bag. Before we head out the door in the morning, we wrap one in a paper towel, microwave for 30 seconds, smear on a pat of butter and go! Doesn’t get much quicker than that.

Cranberry Orange Whole Wheat Muffins

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest (about 1 large orange)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 large oranges)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray or muffin tin liners
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Mix cranberries and hot water in a bowl to plump cranberries, set aside.
  3. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
  4. Add in orange zest, orange juice, water, canola oil and egg. Stir until just mixed.
  5. Drain cranberries and add to batter, fold in.
  6. Spoon batter into a muffin tin coated in cooking spray or filled with muffin liners.
  7. Sprinkle with extra sugar.
  8. Bake at 400° for about 13 minutes, or until golden brown and middle is springy.
  9. Cool 5 minutes in muffin tin, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 muffins.


Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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6 Responses
  1. MegsFitness

    heya! I noticed you changed your tag line 🙂 it’s probably old news but I like it.. vintage lifestyle for a healthy future.. very good! Almost as good as these muffins look 😉

  2. lookin’ good!! I love muffins made with whole grain flours…have you tried kamut (hmm…am I spelling that right?) or spelt? I also like to mix in some flax seed or sunflower seeds…my next new thing is going to be hemp seed…I see a trip to Sahara Mart or Bloomingfoods in my immediate future…oh…and the farmers’ market starts next Saturday…woohoo!!!!

  3. mara

    made these muffins this morning! love that they are whole wheat and low sugar. i feel so much better about eating them for breakfast…and lunch…and a snack…haha! the only change i made was to use a cup of fresh cranberries left over from thanksgiving. delish, thanks!

  4. Chrissy

    Just made a half recipe of these, keeping the egg the same. They’re great! I also used all fresh squeezed orange juice instead of juice + water. Thanks for the recipe. Will be making these often and may try this as a base for other flavors.

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