Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cranberry Orange Walnut Mini-Muffins

Today was a bright, sunny warm day here -- we made it to 73 degrees. Yesterday, it suddenly struck me that this Friday will be the first day of November, and we all know what that means...we will blink and it will be Thanksgiving and one more blink and Christmas will be on top of us! This will be my 2nd wheat-free holiday season. I can remember how daunting it was for me last year. I was used to knowing exactly what I was going to make as well as exactly how it was going to turn out. But last year, everything was up in the air and I wasn't sure if it was even really possible to enjoy holiday meals without all my traditional favorites. But, to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it very much last year. Well, now that I am a "well seasoned" wheat-free cook, I am no longer intimidated by it whatsoever -- I look forward to it and welcome the challenge. Last year I just "hoped it would turn out okay"...this year I say "BRING IT ON"!!! LOL I am down right excited about it this year!  :-)

While doing my Costco shopping this past weekend, I noticed they had gotten in their fresh cranberries...so I bought a big 2-pound bag of them. I decided to go ahead and break them in by making a recipe with them. Cranberries are one of my holiday favorites and one of my favorite things I used to like to make with them was cranberry orange bread with nuts -- it was "bread" only because it was baked in a loaf pan and looked like bread...because the truth is it was sweet enough that it really counted more as a "cake" instead. I wanted to make something less sweet and more suitable to have for breakfast or a nice little snack to have with a cup of coffee. I wasn't looking for dessert. I decided to make mini muffins that had the same cranberry, orange and walnut flavor I loved, but with more of a bran-muffin type texture. I knew if I used all almond flour that they would be more cake-like...so instead, I used a combination of golden flax, almond flour and a touch of coconut flour to soak up any extra liquid that might come from using fresh cranberries. They turned out great -- not overly sweet, but just sweet enough (for me). If you like them sweeter, by all means increase the sweetener...just taste your batter for sweetness before baking them and adjust it accordingly. I snapped a few photos below as well as the recipe. Enjoy!







Cranberry Orange Walnut Mini-Muffins (Low Carb & Wheat Free)
Makes 3 dozen

Ingredients:

1 cup blanched almond flour
1 cup ground golden flax seeds
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup Swerve Confectioners Sweetener (or powdered erythritol)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup extra light olive oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest (from about 1 large orange)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons Swerve Granular Sweetener, optional (for sprinkling on top of muffins before baking)
Olive oil spray or coconut oil spray for greasing muffin tins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray mini muffin pans with oil and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, ground flax, coconut flour, baking powder and 1 cup sweetener until combined.

In a separate medium bowl, beat eggs, oil, vanilla and orange extract, buttermilk and orange zest until well combined. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until combined. Fold in cranberries and walnuts. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling almost to the top. If desired, sprinkle top of each muffin with granular sweetener. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool about 5 minutes in pan; flip and cool completely on a wire rack. Makes approximately 3 dozen mini-muffins.

         

27 comments:

CyberSis said...

Hi GGC,

These are sure to become a favorite at our house!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis -- I love anything with cranberries! :-)

Cathy said...

Can honey be substituted for the sweetener? If so...do you think it would also be 1 cup?

HealthyHabits said...

Thank you for inspiring healthy recipes. I wonder if buttermilk can be substituted with coconut milk + vinegar or else in the recipe. Thanks.

Patricia said...

Wonderful blog! Great recipes lately as always. Thank you! I got a big bag of dried cherries at Costco last week. Haven't made anything with them yet like i was supposed to! Just keep snacking on them!

Anonymous said...

This sound wonderful!! Please, please develop a recipe for bran muffins made with almond bran.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Cathy -- I'm sure you could use honey if you wanted to. I don't use honey, so I am not sure how much you would use. I'm thinking 1 cup of honey might be too much though. If you can find out how much honey is equivalent to 1 cup of sugar (by Googling maybe)...that would give you an idea. Let me know how it goes if you try it. Thanks! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi HealthyHabits! I know that adding vinegar to regular milk works as a substitute for buttermilk -- I don't see why it wouldn't work for coconut milk, too. If you try it, let me know how it turns out! :-) Apple cider vinegar by itself acts as a leavening so you could just add a couple teaspoons or so of that along with your coconut milk to the recipe. :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, Patricia! I bet those dried cherries would be good in granola bars, too (wheat-free, of course) -- but they would give that nice chewiness and tang. Of course, eating them from the bag doesn't require washing any dishes, though! ;-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous. Thanks. I don't know that I've ever seen almond bran before...but I will look into it. :-)

Anonymous said...

Almond bran can be purchased from Honeyville. I found a recipe on another site but haven't had any success with it. All your recipes work perfectly for me.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi there again, Anonymous -- I had no idea! I will go and check it out right now; I had never heard of it before. Thanks for the tip -- I'll keep you posted! :-)

Darlene said...

I didn't see almond bran as one of Honeyville's products on their site, but nuts.com does have it. I will be ordering some-really miss bran muffins!

This muffin recipe is on my list of Saturday baking this week! Happy Halloween!

Anonymous said...

I am wrong. I did purchase the almond bran from Nuts.com. Sorry for the confusion.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous -- I just sent you an email -- check there; I found a better source for the almond bran -- the "creators" themselves! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi GG,
I look forward to making this recipe this Sunday, and I was wondering about a few things. What do you think the flax adds to the party? You know, rather than say 2 cups of almond flour? Also, why did you go with olive oil or coconut oil, rather than butter? I'm not being critical AT ALL, I LOVE your recipes, but I was wondering at your thought process for some of your choices. I want to "pick your brain" so to speak.(Maybe I have been reading too many Cook's Illustrated issues)...Thanks for all your help!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous! Flax adds a different texture to the muffins -- 100% almond flour would produce a more cake-like texture. Flax behaves similar to wheat when it bakes and gives sort of grain/bran muffin consistency. If you aren't a particular fan of flax (golden is the mildest in flavor) you can reduce it and add only 1/2 cup flax and increase the almond flour to 1-1/2 cups. Regarding my choice of oil rather than butter -- I think oil makes a bit moister muffin since it is 100% fat liquid (butter is 80% fat and 20% milk solids and water that solidify when the product cools). I do not believe there is a drastic enough difference to say "don't use butter"...I think if you prefer butter, by all means use it. Other than my belief that oil makes a moister muffin, it also doesn't require melting and is easy to simply pour and use when making a "quick muffin" recipe. I tend to use extra light olive oil because it really doesn't have any taste where coconut oil does, depending on the brand and type used. Even in traditional regular muffins made with wheat based flour, there are those that are more fine grained and cake like texture and those that are more textured (like a bran muffin or more dense moist muffin). I did not want a drier cupcake texture -- I wanted a bit more dense moist texture and fiber. It all boils down to personal preference really. I hope this helps -- basically there really isn't a right or wrong with making muffins -- it is more personal preference and style (in my opinion). Some commercially made muffins have so much oil that they are heavy and greasy textured -- and I did not want that either. :-)

Darlene said...

I made these yesterday and used 1 1/2C almond flour & 1/2C chia seeds (I keep reading about how healthy they are!) The muffins came out wonderful, and I love the bit of "crispiness" the chia seeds give them. I think the minis would be great for Thanksgiving dinner, as they're not very filling!

Also looking forward to making the cranberry sauce recipe-I've paired turkey w/cranberries since childhood, and was shocked to see how much sugar is in the store-bought sauces!

LOVE your new ornament!

Arlene said...

These are freshly out of the oven, couldn't wait for them to cool! Very very good! Will add to my baking rotation. Didn't have 3 mini muffin tins so added the leftover batter to my donut pan, made 4 wonderfully delicious donuts!
Thank you!!

Brooke said...

these were delicious! thanks for the recipe

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Darlene! What a great idea subbing some of the almond flour for chia! Wait until you see the version of muffins I made them this weekend and took pictures but don't have time to upload them -- I'll post them tomorrow or Tuesday. They turned out great. I haven't baked with chia before -- I need to experiment more with it. I have 2 bags of white chia seeds that I've made chia pudding with but never used them in baking. Yes, it is crazy how much sugar is in the store bought cranberry sauce, isn't it! I almost didn't buy the ornament and thought I'd come back and get it at a later time...and went back right away and got it because I just knew that once I went back for it a week or 2 later, it wouldn't be there any more! Isn't it nice to have muffins! I agree about having those at Thanksgiving time -- I will have them for breakfast that weekend, too! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Arlene! Glad you liked them -- I, too, tried them fresh out of the oven but actually found I liked them more the next day! What a great idea putting the leftover batter in your donut pan! Did you think they were sweet enough or did you make them sweeter? I liked them not too sweet but wondered if others felt the same way? Glad you enjoyed them! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, Brooke! So glad you liked them! :-)

HealthyHabits said...

Just an update on substituting buttermilk with unsweetened organic coconut milk, left out the vinegar and the result was great. Thank you for the recipe again :)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi HealthyHabits! So glad the coconut milk swap turned out great -- it's nice when we can find substitutes that work -- especially if we don't have a particular ingredient on hand. Glad you enjoyed them! :-)

Betty Anne said...

The muffins just came out of the oven. They are absolutely the best wheat-free, sugar-free muffins I have baked over this past year's journey. I baked them in a muffin-top pan to get that crunchy bottom crust. These muffins will be in my freezer all the time.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Betty! Thanks so much -- I am so glad you liked them! Funny because I almost put them in my muffin top pan with this batch, but decided to make the minis again. I have to keep pinching myself because they really do seem like "regular" muffins...don't they! ;-) I feel a premonition coming on that there will be more cranberry muffins in my baking future this weekend! ;-)