Pumpkin Cranberry Crunch Muffins

It’s finally here! Friday is the first day of Fall and I’m so ready for it. The weather has even been cooperating with temps in the 60s this past week. I’ve been baking like mad since the beginning of September but these pumpkin muffins were my inaugural Fall treat and they did not disappoint. I got inspired to make them after cleaning out my pantry and refrigerator and finding that I still had 4 cans of pumpkin puree and 2 bags of frozen cranberries. I like to stock up on things, can’t you tell?

I’d been wanting to make my favorite quick bread recipe ever: my mom’s Applesauce Bread because it always feels like fall to me. But I decided to play around with the recipe and make it into pumpkin muffins. I subbed pumpkin puree for applesauce, some of the sugar for maple syrup and some of the spices for pumpkin pie spice. The pumpkin version turned out just as good as the original! These muffins have a very moist and cakey crumb and the pumpkin flavor really shines through.

Pumpkin Cranberry Crunch Muffins

The cranberries add a wonderful tart contrast to the sweet bread. I know fresh cranberries probably aren’t available in most grocery stores yet, so if you don’t have any leftover from last year or your grocery store doesn’t have any frozen ones, you could use dried cranberries. Even if you have fresh cranberries, I think it’s easier to freeze them beforehand because then you don’t have to worry about streaky batter when you’re stirring them in.

Cranberries and Granola

Since I love muffins with a topping and I took a page from these muffins (still my go-to muffin recipe) and sprinkled some pumpkin granola on top. Because you can never have too much pumpkin! I provided a recipe for the granola (adapted slightly from Two Peas and Their Pod’s recipe) which is great on it’s own. You can use store bought granola if you want, but the flavors in the pumpkin granola really complement the muffins.

Pumpkin Cranberry Crunch Muffins

And lastly, this is not remotely necessary (especially if you don’t want the extra calories) but it makes these muffins extra, extra delicious: I drizzled some orange glaze on top! Pumpkin + Cranberry + Orange sounds like maybe a bit of flavor overload but they complement each other so well and the orange is pretty subtle anyway. The glaze makes these muffins taste extra indulgent despite being fairly healthy. I recommend drizzling it on right before you eat the muffins so it’ll still be gooey. Perfect!

P.S. – Thanks to everyone who commented on last week’s post to enter the giveaway! The winner is G.g. Cesternino Baird. Congrats!

Pumpkin Cranberry Crunch Muffins

Pumpkin Cranberry Crunch Muffins

from Back to the Cutting Board,
Pumpkin granola adapted from Two Peas and their Pod

This recipe makes 12 large muffins or up to 16 medium muffins. Alternately, you can make one loaf in a 9x5x3-inch pan. If making the larger muffins I recommend using cupcake liners so the muffins will be easier to remove from the pan after baking, otherwise they’re very moist when hot and the top may tear off due to the weight of the topping and cranberries.

Breakfast | Servings: 12-16 muffins or 1 loaf
Prep time: 60 min | Cook time: 25 min | Total time: 1 hour 25 min

Ingredients

Pumpkin Granola Topping:

  • 2 1/2 cups (8.75 oz) rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (1.75 oz) ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. (1 g) pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. (1.4 g) cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. (.5 g) nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. (1.6 g) salt
  • 1/3 cup (2.5 oz) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (2.4 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp. (15.2 g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp. (1.4 oz) maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 g) vanilla

Muffin:

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz. – 1 stick) butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 oz) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (2.5 oz) whole wheat pastry flour (or twice-sifted whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp. (6.7 g) salt
  • 1 tsp. (4.9 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.5 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. (1 g) pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. (.7 g) cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 g) nutmeg
  • 1 cup (9.5 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup (5.5 oz) maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups (4.4 oz) cranberries (fresh or frozen, no need to thaw)

Optional Orange Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups (4 oz) powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. (30 g)orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp. (.39 g) orange extract (optional – it adds an extra punch of orange flavor)

Process

Start by making the granola, it can be made a day ahead of time if you want. You’ll only need about a cup of granola for the muffins so eat the rest with milk or yogurt, it also works great in granola bars.

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, ground flaxseed, spices and salt.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla. Pour onto the oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated.
  4. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Stir the oats and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Let cool while you make the muffins.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees (F). Grease a muffin pan or 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
  6. In a mixer bowl cream the butter, gradually adding the sugar, until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well combined.
  7. In a separate bowl combine the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
  8. In another bowl mix the pumpkin and the maple syrup.
  9. Stir in half the dry mixture with the butter mixture. Then stir in 1/2 of pumpkin mixture. Repeat with remaining dry mixture and remaining pumpkin, mixing after each.
  10. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  11. Divide the batter evenly in the muffin cups (filled all the way up for large muffins or 3/4 for medium muffins). Sprinkle granola on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Optional: Stir together the ingredients for the orange glaze and drizzle on top of the muffins before serving.

Store in an air-tight container or bag for up to 4 days. These can be frozen and reheated in the microwave.