Around this time of year, my kids love when I pack my pumpkin muffins with lots of dried cranberries. Coincidentally…cranberries actually contain substances called PACs or proanthocyanidins, that help contribute to cranberries’ health benefits. PACs are unique naturally occurring compounds known as flavonoids, that have been associated with reducing the risk of heart disease, decreasing the incidence of urinary tract infections, and perhaps even protecting us from gum disease.
Although cranberries are known for their tart, bold flavor, dried cranberries, like other dried fruits, add just the right amount of sweetness when added to your morning oatmeal, a lunchtime salad or to a veggie side dish at dinner. Because fresh cranberries are low in sugar and high in acidity, they require some sweetening to make them more palatable. Even the Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that a healthy eating pattern has room for nutrient dense foods with added sugars, such as cranberries and rhubarb, as long as calories from added sugar are less than 10 percent per day.
Although these muffins make a perfect dessert year through, my family enjoys them as mini-muffins, served in the breadbasket along with the soup course of our meal. They’re so easy to prepare and they’ll make a festive addition to your holiday menu.
Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
4 egg whites or 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
½ cup canola oil or extra light olive oil
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 cup water
15-ounce can of pureed pumpkin (unsweetened)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350◦F
Spoon flours into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.
Whisk together with the next 4 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a large bowl.
Combine sugar, egg whites, oil, vanilla extract, and eggs in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer at a high speed until blended.
Add yogurt, water and canned pumpkin, beating at a low speed until blended together.
Add flour mixture to above mixture and beat at a low speed just until combined (don’t over mix.)
Coat 2 loaf pans (9 X 5 inch each) or muffin tins (24 regular muffins or 48 mini muffins) with cooking spray. Spoon batter into pans and fill half-way. Sprinkle pecans evenly over batter.
Bake breads (in loaf pans) for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, or bake muffins (in regular muffin tins) for 30 minutes or bake muffins (in mini muffin tins) for 18-20 minutes and check as above.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then remove from pans and cool on wire rack.
Yield is either 2 loaves or 24 regular muffins or 48 mini muffins, depending on which size pan you choose.
Disclosure: This reci-blog was created in collaboration with The Cranberry Institute. The opinions are my own.