This is my version of a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I saw this recipe there and thought that cranberries and pecans would be either wonderful or terrible together, and I wasn’t sure which. But I love pecans, and Thanksgiving was coming soon and the stores had an abundance of fresh cranberries, so I decided to try it. Oh my goodness, it is amazing!!! I ate slice after slice from the first batch, and then quickly made two more batches.
I changed practically everything about the recipe. I made it gluten-free and vegan. I replaced the refined sugar topping with chopped oranges — which doesn’t sound at all the same, but actually it works well. Because my favorite part of the loaf was the outside edges, I changed it into mini-muffins, so that every piece has plenty of outside edges. And it came out great every time!
The original recipe says you can make this nut-free by leaving out the nuts, and it still comes out fine. I have not tried that, but I think it should work.
Right now would be a great time to make these muffins, while the grocery stores are still full of cranberries!
Note: I have revised the baking time down to 15 minutes. Originally I posted this with 18, but the batch of mini-muffins that I made today was ready at 15.
Cranberry Pecan Orange Mini-Muffins
- 6 tablespoons chopped pecans If it is easier to measure: six tablespoons is also 3/8 cup.
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or any other type of granulated sugar)
- 1 orange - organic recommended
- 3 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral-tasting oil
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegan yogurt or buttermilk or sour cream -- or my all-purpose dairy replacer (see the notes for the link) -- whatever you choose should be a bit tart See the recipe for the exact amount
- 2 teaspoons finely ground flax seed If your ground flaxseed doesn't look like a powder, run it through the blender until it is powdery.
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder or alternatively use 1/6 teaspoon of baking soda plus 1/6 teaspoon cream of tartar (you can estimate 1/6 teaspoon by using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon and filling it 1/3 full).
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries. Remove any squishy ones, then cut each berry in half or in pieces I cut them in half by hand for the first batch, then switched to using this easy cutter to chop them: https://amzn.to/3Ed1vml
- 1 cup flour or gluten-free flour I used 1/4 cup each of potato starch, quinoa flour, garbanzo flour, and teff flour, plus 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- While the oven preheats, toast the pecans in a metal baking pan in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Check often to see if they are done - they go from toasted to burnt in an eyeblink, and you want to catch it before that happens.
- Measure your choice of sugar into a mixing bowl.
- Wash the orange, then rub it on a fine grater to scrape off the orange color from all over the outside. The scraped-off part is the orange zest. Grate the zest into the bowl of sugar, then stir the zest and sugar together to break up any clumps.
- Cut the orange in half. Juice one half and put the juice into a measuring cup. Peel the other half, and cut the flesh of that half into chickpea-sized pieces.
- With the measuring cup of orange juice, add vegan yogurt or sour cream or buttermilk or other dairy-replacer until it reaches a total of 1/2 cup.
- Put all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir until everything is nicely combined.
- Put the mixture into either a silicone mini-muffin tin or two non-stick mini-loaf pans. If you are making mini-muffins, fill each cavity about 3/4 full.
- Bake mini-loaves for 28 minutes or mini-muffins for 15 minutes.
- You can check for doneness with a thermometer -- look for 190 to 200 degrees F -- or poke in a toothpick, and if it comes out without batter stuck to it, then it is done.
- Serve warm, or at room temperature, or cool! Yum!