There are certain ingredients that are considered so seasonal that *POOF* as soon as the calendar changes, store shelves are lined with coffee creamers, candles and toilet bowl cleaners that force you to accept that some sort of new season or holiday will soon be upon us. Pumpkin and cranberry are two such flavors, thrust on us as soon as Labor Day ends and inevitably spark debates on whether they are worth consuming or not. I’m here to tell you, they are (well when they aren’t artificial)! You don’t need a special edition processed cookie when you get a whiff of these muffins fresh out of the oven. They are equal parts sweet, tart, moist and crunchy, evoking everything you want from fall flavors in a few bites. I used walnuts, but pecans would also work well. These muffins are dairy-free and can be made vegan by substituting the eggs with egg replacer or a flax egg. Either way, they will disappear faster than you can say “sweater weather.”
Makes 12 standard sized muffins
- 1 cup (115 grams) walnuts or pecans, chopped and divided
- ½ cup (108 grams) neutral-flavored oil, like canola or vegetable
- 2 eggs (100 grams)
- 1 cup (119 grams) pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
- 1 cup (198 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/3 cup (83 grams) orange juice
- 1 2/3 cups (217 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup (114 grams) cranberries, fresh or frozen
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Make the muffins:
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Generously grease a standard size muffin pan and set aside.
- Coarsely chop the nuts and place 2/3 of them on a sheet pan, setting the other 1/3 aside for later use. Toast the nuts until fragrant, about 5 minutes and set them aside to cool.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the oil, eggs, and pumpkin, mixing to combine. Then add the sugar, orange zest and orange juice and mix to combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and then add to the pumpkin mixture all at once. Mix until almost combined, then add the toasted nuts and cranberries, only mixing to combine but not overmix.
- Evenly divide the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 untoasted nuts and sprinkling with turbinado sugar if desired.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool on a rack for 5 minutes and then invert the pan to remove the muffins to cool completely. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature of up to 4 days.