Cranberry Orange Muffins for Beginners

Gluten free baking can be fraught.  You put all your energy and a lot of expensive ingredients into a baked good that can turn out like a lead brick. I just did that with a lemon pound cake.  Yeap; it was very bricklike.  So I wanted to share a new recipe that I feel is pretty fool proof.   Cranberry nut muffins….muffin mania strike again!

I won’t go far from my best recipes to make these treats. This is a riff on a 2015 blueberry muffin post which was my riff on a muffin recipe out of Annalise Roberts’ cookbook; Gluten-Free Baking Classics. Her gf quick breads are delicious and we enjoy them often. I love that they seem foolproof if you follow the basic format carefully.  I have made many variations and they all turn out great.  So I recommend them to those just learning to bake gluten free. You can do these muffins, I promise, even if you are totally new to baking gluten free.

Never been a big fan of cranberries until last winter when I decided to experiment with them and found that they work very well with a variety of fruits/nuts for muffins, tarts, pies and crisps.  The cranberries brighten the flavor and add a lovely rosy color.  Do look beyond your prejudices to their sharp flavor and give them a try.  I am so glad I did.

These muffins did not disappoint: delicate texture yet slightly crunchy outside with a great cranberry orange flavor and just enough sugar for me.  The streusel topping adds a cinnamon flavor and insures that they look straight from the bakery. I made a 3×5 mini loaf as well as muffins and it was delightful sliced thick and served with a cup of tea.  I baked it a bit longer; 35-40 minutes should do it.

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There are walnuts in there to so you get some really great nutrients from the fruit and nuts. I swap the white sugar I used to use for coconut palm sugar which is very low as far as raising blood sugar.  Not much guilt in eating one of these treats! Note: You need a little extra milk if you use the coconut palm sugar; at least two extra tbsp. maybe three.

Cranberry Nut Muffins

2 cups brown rice flour mix (see below)

2/3 cup granulated sugar or coconut palm sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. xanthan gum

¼ tsp. salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

grated zest of one orange

1 1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

2 large eggs

½ cup (plus 2 tbsp. milk if you use coconut palm sugar,) 1 or 2 percent

½ cup canola oil


Topping: Mix the following in a bowl, make sure the butter is in tiny pebbles; use your fingertips to blend.

½ cup rolled oats                    1½ tbsp. butter

¼ cup brown sugar                 ¼ tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. almond meal


Directions: Heat your oven to 375 degrees, placing the rack in middle of oven.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.  One batch makes 12-16 muffins.  I got 16 when I made them yesterday.

Mix all dry ingredients in bowl of stand mixer or big bowl Add fruit and walnuts; stir to coat them with dry mix.  Combine milk and oil.  Beat in eggs, add vanilla.  Add liquids to big bowl; stir just until blended.  It is a very thick batter.

Fill muffin pans 2/3 full.  I use a big serving spoon and fill it about half way to dump in each muffin space. Sprinkle the top with the topping. Press it in a bit so it won’t flake off after baking. Bake 21-23 min until golden brown. Do not over bake or they will taste dry.  Remove immediately from the pans and cool on a rack.  Keeps in fridge (well wrapped) or an airtight cookie jar for 2-3 days. It is smart to freeze any you won’t eat in two days time; a zip lock freezer bag works great.

Brown Rice Flour Mix base mix 

(This mix is the same as King Arthur’s basic gf blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour