These big beautiful festive Bakery-Style Muffins feature Fresh Cranberries, Orange Zest, and a beautiful Orange Zest Sugar Streusel on top! They are tender, moist, and bursting with the flavors of the season!
Well, it’s time! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.
The weeks leading up to this Holiday have not gone as I expected them to go. I had Grand plans…of posting recipe after recipe, of new Seasonal favorites. Unfortunately, complications from my car accident, back in July, and the struggles of recovering from a major concussion, didn’t really care about my plans! (Kind of like a two year old at any given moment, of any given day!)
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I’ve had to learn to do my best imitation of “Elsa” and “Let it go”! Which is not an easy thing for me to do. I don’t think it’s easy for any of us. We all have unrealistic expectations of the Holidays! (Especially when it comes to those unwanted extra Holiday 10 pounds…they wanna stick around even when we beg for them to leave! Rude!)
Regardless of my disappointments, I couldn’t let this Holiday slip by without one last recipe! It’s my way of saying “Thank You” for being here all year! Through the good and the bad! (We’re all gonna sneak in quietly for 2022! Shhhh!))
You could say, I’ve saved the BEST for last! I’m gonna say it! Because…If you’re a fan of delicious Bakery-Style Breakfast Muffins, Cranberries, and oranges this recipe is for YOU! It was muffin love from the first bite to the last! I knew I had a winner, and I knew I had to share it before Christmas! Just like my Cranberry Orange Scones, this recipe is a keeper!
How To Make Fresh Cranberry Orange Muffins
This muffin deserves to be a part of your Christmas morning! It’s not too airy, it’s not too dense. It’s not too dry, and not too moist. The fresh cranberries and orange zest scream with the flavors of this Season. Simply put…it’s perfection!
Preheat oven to 425° degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. I’m in love with the new “Tulip” Muffin Liners. (I’ve included a link below in the recipe card.) They allow you to achieve a beautiful bake on your muffins without them spilling over. If you are using regular muffin liners, which are fine, be sure to spray the liners.
TIP: These holiday liners were purchased at T.J. Maxx and had a wonderful pressed cup shape so I spaced them apart to allow more room. It does require you to use two muffin tins, but it gives the muffins plenty of room.
In a large bowl whisk together 2 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt together and set aside.
In the bowl of your mixer, or in a medium size bowl, combine 1 and 1/8 cups granulated sugar and 2 large eggs until thick and lemon colored. Slowly add 4 tablespoons of melted butter, that is cool, and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Mix until well combined.
Can you see the beautiful “lemon color” of the wet ingredients?
Add 1 cup of buttermilk. Buttermilk is the “moisture” for these amazing muffins! I’m a huge fan of adding buttermilk to cakes and muffins for this very reason!
Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of almond extract, and the zest of one orange. DO NOT skip the Almond extract in this recipe. It takes this muffin recipe up and over the top! Yes…one simple ingredient can do all that! Just like skipping one ingredient can ruin a recipe. Just some “food” for thought!
TIP: Grate your orange zest as finely as you can! It allows the flavor to distribute into each and every inch of this muffin batter.
Combining Wet and Dry Ingredients for Muffins
Pour the “wet” ingredients into the “dry” ingredients.
Why do so many recipes call for you to do this? It’s simple really. It’s science! Mind you I flunked science…badly! However, I do know a little about “food science”. (Note I said “a little”!)
The reason so many quick bread, and muffin, recipes ask you to wait to combine the wet and dry ingredients is that once the “wet” ingredients hit the baking powder, or baking soda, the leavening agent begins to activate! Quickly!
You can actually see this in the next photo below! All the “air bubbles” you see in the batter, are from the baking powder in this recipe. Too many air bubbles and your muffins fall! They sink like the Titanic! Not good. So, for this reason we add ALL the wet ingredients at once.
Using a spatula, mix until combined, but not smooth. Muffin dough should have a rough texture to the batter. Those beautiful “air bubbles” are exactly what you want in a muffin batter.
Fold in 1 and 1/2 cups of fresh whole cranberries. Fold until just combined, again, do not over mix the batter.
TIP: Why fold in ingredients in rather than stir? Again…it’s all about the leavening that is taking place. We don’t want to knock all those air bubbles out of the batter and stirring can do that.
Filling Muffin Cups
Fill muffin cups full with batter, mounding slightly. Press remaining 1/4 cup of cranberries into the top of the muffins.
How To Make Orange Sugar Streusel
I have to tell y’all…this is my favorite part of this recipe. It’s magically fragrant! I was so excited I didn’t get a photo. You’ll forgive me right?
In a small bowl mix together 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the zest of half an orange.
Sprinkle the top of each muffin with orange sugar streusel!
Baking Cranberry Orange Muffins
Place the baking tin on the center of the rack in the middle of your oven. Bake for 16-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You should be able to gently press down on the center of the muffin and have it spring back.
Remove muffins from muffin tin and cool slightly on cooling rack. Your biggest challenge now is trying to keep everyone from grabbing one, or two, before they cool slightly!
I’m not kidding! They smell what Christmas dreams are made of! Mr. Nest couldn’t keep his paws off these muffins!
More than once I found him sneaking one into the microwave to reheat it, and slather it in butter! He even wanted to “duke” it out for the last one! I called “Cooks Dib”!! You better believe I had that last one!
One of the many things I love about this recipe is the superb texture of this muffin. The testers were all in agreement that this muffin has the best texture. Add in the flavor and that crispy orange sugar topping, and it really is an incredibly tasty morning bread.
I’m Drooling! Are you?
Other Favorite Cranberry Orange Holiday Recipes
If there’s one thing I love it’s the combination of Orange and Cranberry in Holiday recipes. Here are a few of my favorites that I think you’ll enjoy.
- Cranberry Orange Jell-O Salad
- Cranberry Orange Cheesecake
- Cranberry Upside Down Cake
- Cranberry Orange Cake with Warm Orange Sauce
- Cranberry Orange Bread with Orange Glaze
- Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread
- Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Coffee Cake
- Cranberry Simmering Spices from The Fresh Cooky
I can hardly wait for Christmas morning… to curl up with a cup of hot cider, one of these scrumptious Cranberry Orange Muffins, and just soak in all the Joy that is part of this Season!
From Our Nest to Yours…We wish each and everyone of you, and your families, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year full of blessing and JOY!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/8 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 4 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled (salted butter is fine)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- grated zest of 1 orange
- 1 3/4 cups fresh cranberries, divided with 1/4 cup reserved
Orange Zest Sugar Topping
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- grated zest of 1/2 an orange
- For the topping combine 1/4 cup of sugar and grated zest of 1/2 an orange. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and spray with cooking spray. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl; set aside.
- In a separate medium bowl, or in the bowl of your mixer, mix together the sugar and eggs until thick and lemon colored. Add butter and oil. Slowly whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, almond extract, and orange zest.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry along with 1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries. Fold together until just combined; do not over mix.
- Fill muffin cups full with batter, mounding slightly. Press the remaining 1/4 cup cranberries into the top of the muffins and sprinkle with orange sugar topping.
- Bake for 16-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 289Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 360mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 5g