My Dad almost never bought us what we kids called “the good cereal”. You know, Frosted Flakes, Captain Crunch and my all time favorite, Fruit Loops. I’d like to say it was out of a concern for our health and I’m sure that was a part of it, but I believe a bigger part of it was the fact that he was raising 4 kids on a Staff Sargent salary back in the 70s, and those boxes of cereal weren’t cheap…even at the commissary! And, when we did get a box, it would be gone in one breakfast!
Instead…we got the big bags of Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice – bag sizes that would rival Costco today, and believe me when I say…those bags lasted forever! Not only because it was full of preservatives, but mainly because we avoided eating it! And when we did eat a bowl of that cardboard like substance, we would load it down with so much sugar just to get some taste out of it.
My husband’s family also did not indulge in the sugar cereals. His Mom was a nurse, and even back then, she knew. All that sugar is not good for you. As kids though, it seems we always find a way to circumvent the rules. My oh so resourceful husband found a way to indulge. While out paper route, he would stop by the store and buy a box of sugar cereal and eat the whole box before he went home. Which explains why on his “cheat day” (which has slowly stretched into a cheat weekend), he will buy a box of some sugar cereal and eat it in one day.
Since our lifestyle eating change, we’ve missed having an occasional something sweet with our morning coffee, so this recipe satisfies that craving. And it’s perfect for the holiday season.
I was never a cranberry sauce fan. My opinion was always based on that tubular, jiggly stuff that came out of can (and never lost its shape!) and was always placed on the table at the last minute…because, let’s face it…it was only a minor player, far behind the turkey, the dressing, the rolls and the pumpkin pie.
If you’ve never made your own cranberry sauce, let me tell you..do it!! You will never open another can of that jiggly stuff again. And it is so simple. Most likely there will be a recipe on the back of the cranberry package. Cranberries, water, sugar. You can paleo-ize that and sub in honey or maple syrup for the sugar. You can get fancy and add orange and ginger…there’s no limit to the creative combinations.
After multiple test batches, this morning I did my happy dance because, this recipe is, IMHO, awesome!!!!
And it’s easier than my earlier attempts, because we’re not actually going to make a cranberry sauce on the stove top! We’re first going to make our cranberry-orange mixture, which I think is the star of the show. The recipe calls for one small orange. First, we deal with the rind. With the rind, you have a choice of either zesting the orange with a microplane grater, or you can use a vegetable peeler to remove the rind (leaving behind as much of the white part as possible), julienne the rind into strips and then finely dice the strips into really small pieces. I prefer this over zesting for this recipe because it seems I get more of the orange flavor. Second, we’ll need the flesh of 1/2 the orange, so cut the orange in half and with a knife, remove the white pith off of one half. Chop the flesh into chunks. Later in the recipe we need 2 Tbsp of the juice so take the 1/2 orange with the pith still on it and squeeze out 2 Tbsp of juice.
Toss the cranberries in a food processor and pulse 5-7 times. You don’t want to liquefy it – that’ll change the texture of the muffins. Just pulse until you get to a nice diced look. Then, add the orange chunks and pulse it twice more.
Place the cranberry, orange rind and coconut sugar into a small bowl and stir until well combined. This will macerate and add sweetness to the tartness of the berries and the rind. Set this aside.
In another bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together and set aside. I like using a strainer rather than an actual sifter. Everything in my small kitchen has to have more than one purpose, so I choose to sift with a strainer! Use your fingers to stir up and push the last remaining big clumps through. Set aside.
In another small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (not the cranberry mixture). Combine the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir.
Add in the cranberries mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon this deliciousness (yes, I tasted the batter at this point and it is yummy!) into lined muffin tins and bake. I use a small ice cream scoop to fill the cups and fill cups to about 3/4 full.
It’ll take about 30 minutes. Poke a toothpick into the center of a muffin and if it comes out clean, they’re done. Remove and place on a rack to cool.
Not only are these muffins great with morning coffee but they make great snacks throughout the day. We’ve even had them for dessert.
Cranberry-Orange Breakfast Muffins
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/2 small orange, chopped
- rind from 1 orange, finely diced or zested
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 2 cups super fine blanched almond flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 2 Tbsp orange juice, squeezed from the orange used above
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a food processor, pulse the cranberries about 5 - 6 times. You want it to look like it's been diced, be careful not to liquefy it! Add the chopped orange and pulse twice more.
- Place cranberry mixture in a small bowl and add the coconut sugar and diced orange rind. Stir to combine and set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In a small bowl, combine the eggs, honey, coconut oil, orange extract and orange juice.
- Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Add in the cranberry mixture and stir until mixed in.
- Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, fill lined muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Check by inserting a toothpick into the center of a muffin. If it comes out clean, they're done.
- Cool and serve.
If you make these muffins (and I hope you do!), let me know when you best enjoy them, breakfast, snack, dessert…etc.