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Light and Fluffy Orange Cranberry Muffins

If you’re looking for a light, fluffy Orange Cranberry Muffin you’ve come to the right place! These are truly delicious.

Orange and Cranberry?

Do cranberry and orange go together? You betcha! In fact, there’s nothing better than the combination of these two tasty treats. Perhaps it’s the tangy citrus of the orange, merged with that not-so-sweet cranberry that does the trick. Regardless, it’s a terrific mergence of flavors, one that’s very popular, especially during the holidays.

Mandarin oranges and diced Craisins

Don’t believe it?

Think about that yummy cranberry relish your grandma makes for Thanksgiving every year. It’s loaded with cranberries, (which she popped on the stove, herself) and mandarin oranges. Yum.

But, who decided that cranberries were tasty? How did these tart berries make it into our modern-day diet?

According to the Smithsonian magazine:

Cranberry cultivation began in 1816 “when Captain Henry Hall, a Revolutionary war veteran, came across a cranberry vine thriving in some sand on Cape Cod, he became the first person to successfully cultivate cranberries.”

No doubt he took a little nibble and puckered up. They’re tart little berries, after all! But throw in some sugar and a little citrus, and. . .voila! You’ve got a real winner.

Pucker up, ya’ll!

I’ve baked a number of items over the years but had never attempted a homemade orange-cranberry dessert. Oh, I’d purchased ready-made muffin mixes (and found them tasty) but last week I had a hankerin’ for some orange-cranberry cookies.

So, I decided to make up a recipe. In fact, I decided (before even attempting them) that I would give them to my neighbors at our annual cookie exchange.

No pressure.

Common sense would say: Use orange extract or orange zest and throw in some Craisins and be done with it. But, no. I don’t do anything the usual way. Because I’m zealous and a little crazy, I decided to throw in some mandarin oranges.

My makeshift recipe.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking: “Really? In a cookie?”

Yeah, in my imagination it was going to work seamlessly. I drained off the liquid and patted them as dry as I could, then tossed them in as if they were dried fruit.

Only, they’re not dried fruit.

And, even after adding far more flour than expected (because the whole thing was more of a gloppy muffin consistency than a cookie) I finally decided to bake one.

Side note: I often bake a singular cookie on a tray to make sure I have the right consistency. This way I don’t ruin an entire tray. (In this case I was testing a sample double mint chocolate cookies on the same tray.)

So, I baked my little cookie and it puffed up. Looked yummy but really, really soft. Like. . .cake-ish. So I took a bite, and wouldn’t you know it? It looked like a cookie. . .but tasted like a cake.

That’s one fluffy cookie!

So. Weird.

I was faced with a dilemma at this point. Forge ahead and bake them as cookies, or some up with Plan B?

I opted for Plan B.

My messy muffins

I pulled out my mini-muffin pan and scooped the batter into the slots. Then I took some brown sugar/pecan/coconut crumble left over from Thanksgiving and sprinkled it on top. And the result? My little faux pas turned out to be a happy accident. I thought they were rather tasty, in fact.

So, I’ll share the recipe with you, but you must never, never tell anyone these were supposed to be cookies, okay? (Shh! Mum’s the word!)

How to Make Orange Cranberry Muffins from Scratch

INGREDIENTS:

Here’s what you’ll need for the muffins:

  • 1 cup butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large can mandarin orange slices, drained and patted dry
  • 1 cup pureed/diced Craisins
  • ½ tbl baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Here’s what you’ll need for the topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup coconut (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Here’s how you make my orange-cranberry cookies. Er, muffins. 🙂

  • Whip butter and sugar together until creamy and add extracts.
  • Add the eggs and continue to beat until smooth.
  • Add the full can of mandarin orange slices (minus the juice, which you can discard).
  • Work in the flour and baking soda
  • Scoop into muffin tins (lined or unlined, your choice) and sprinkle on topping.
  • Bake at 350 for approximately 16 minutes. 

Depending on how much batter you put into your pan, this recipe will yield about 2-3 dozen mini-muffins. As you can see, I overloaded my tins, but I thought they turned out pretty. Okay, a little messy. . .but pretty.

For a cookie.

🙂

Let me know your thoughts if you try them, folks. And I’m still wide open to ideas for a good orange-cranberry cookie!

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Yield: 2-3 dozen
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 36 minutes

These yummy muffins merge two favorites: orange and cranberry.

Ingredients

  • MUFFINS:
  • 1 cup butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large can mandarin orange slices, drained and patted dry
  • 1 cup pureed/diced Craisins
  • ½ tbl baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • TOPPING:
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup coconut (optional)

Instructions

    Whip butter and sugar together until creamy and add extracts.
    Add the eggs and continue to beat until smooth
    Add the full can of mandarin orange slices (minus the juice, which you can discard)
    Work in the flour and baking soda
    Scoop into muffin tins (lined or unlined, your choice) and sprinkle on topping
    Bake at 350 for approximately 16 minutes.

If you enjoyed this recipe, no doubt you’ll love my Butter Pecan cupcakes, as well.

I’m a lover of all things orange, so I can’t wait to try this Orange Bundt Cake recipe, which I found over at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage!

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Monday 6th of December 2021

[…] fruit you like, but I’m a fan of the tart cranberry as we already established in my Orange Cranberry Muffin post. But, when it comes to these cookies? Mix those cranberries with the oats and nuts. . .and […]

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