As a food blogger, I am often faced with a puzzle. If I have random ingredients x, y, and z just loitering around in my kitchen waiting to be used… what can I make from them? So, I do experiments. It’s one of the best parts of the job! I’ve always loved solving a good puzzle.
Some experiments are disasters. But some are miracles. This is an example of such a miracle- a Christmas miracle!! Speaking of which, these would be an EXCELLENT breakfast for Christmas morning.
What do you do when you have a bunch of fresh cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving in your freezer, some pecans, a small stub of fresh ginger from making skinny orange sesame chicken last week, and about a cup of milk from making Mexican hot chocolate to use up before it goes bad?
Make Cranberry Ginger Pecan Muffins, that’s what!
These are some of the most delicious- and GORGEOUS- muffins I’ve ever made. Just look at that rich red color from the cranberries!
Let’s talk about cranberries for a minute. They are so healthy– full of antioxidants, prevents infections such as UTIs, fights cancer, and even can help prevent cavities! And yet, we usually only eat them once during the year. These muffins are a delicious excuse to eat them year-round.
They are, however, extremely tart on their own. Ever tried eating a raw cranberry straight up? I would recommend against it, based purely on taste. This is why this muffin recipe has more sugar than I would usually add, since I try and stay away from refined sugar. I think these muffins would be great with honey instead of brown sugar (like in my banana blueberry oat muffins recipe). If you try it out, let me know how it is in the comments below!
In any case, they’re made with whole wheat flour and oats, olive oil, super healthy cranberries, pecans, and fresh ginger. I do believe the good stuff balances out the bad stuff here.
Two awesome tricks for the ingredients for this recipe:
- Fresh ginger: store it in your freezer, peeled. Then, grate it directly from the freezer when you want to use it. It’s actually easier to grate from the freezer because it’s less stringy, and turns into a kind of powder.
- Buttermilk: I usually make my own! It’s very easy- just mix 1 tablespoon white vinegar with 1 cup of whole milk. I almost never buy buttermilk because it comes in large cartons and I only end up using a little bit, leaving me with a lot of waste. Adding vinegar to the milk thickens it (but doesn’t curdle it) and adds that acidic taste that buttermilk has. You can also use Greek yogurt, if you don’t have any milk.
The only thing I wished I had to add to these muffins was orange zest. If you want, throw some in there for some extra sweet and tangy citrus flavor.
I’ll leave you with one final suggestion: I STRONGLY suggest serving these grilled up with some butter. Just melt some butter in a skillet and cut a muffin in half. Heat the muffin on high for 1-2 minutes or until the bottom is toasty brown and covered in the melted butter. It’s the only way to eat a muffin, in my humble opinion.
Cranberry Ginger Pecan Muffins
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar*
- 1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger or 1-2 teaspoons ground dried
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup whole milk + 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
- Sugar for sprinkling tops (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 and line a muffin pan with liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, ginger, oil, buttermilk, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Stir in the oats and whole wheat flour until just combined.
- Fold in the pecans and cranberries.
- Divide batter into muffin pan, filling almost all the way. Sprinkle tops with extra sugar, if desired.
- Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
**You can freeze the leftovers- just defrost in the microwave for about 45 seconds when you need a quick and easy breakfast or snack!