Fall and early winter are the ultimate baking times of the year! I grew up in a family that baked cookies and breads to give away as Christmas presents. The recipe I've created below is an adaption of my mom's famous "Christmas pumpkin bread." I don't know the origins of the recipe, but it is truly delicious.
The inspiration for this variation came from not having had enough pumpkin yet this year, a bag cranberries in the freezer leftover from this cake I made for Thanksgiving, and two very special guests coming for lunch all the way from Africa. Can I say I was giddy when I tasted the batter only to realize that orange and pumpkin are a match made in heaven?
Pumpkin Orange Cranberry Muffins
Note: you can bake this is one standard loaf pan, 1 12 cup muffin pan, or whatever you like. I chose a jumbo 6 muffin pan. Who doesn't like an extra large muffin?
1 cup pumpkin puree (half of a 16oz. can)
2 TBL + 2 tsp fresh squeezed orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup + 1 TBL oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 TBL whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, separated
Turbinado sugar for finishing (or regular if you don't have this)
1. A little prep: zest your orange, squeeze out the juice, slice each cranberry in half, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease the pan of your choosing.
2. Combine the pumpkin, orange juice and zest, oil, vanilla, and eggs until well combined.
3. Combine dry ingredients and stir into pumpkin mixture until just blended. Fold in 1 cup of the halved cranberries.
4. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup halved cranberries, then sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Bake until tops spring back in the middle when gently pressed (will vary greatly depending on your pan/loaf size. Use google if you need an estimate).
5. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool on rack.
Yield: 1 standard loaf or 1 dozen muffins or 6 jumbo muffins