Do you have a cranberry lover in your house? In my house that is definitely ME! I love cranberries and buy them every chance I get this time of the year. If you find some and can’t use them quickly, they freeze well, so now’s the time to stock up since they are plentiful in the stores these days.
I have always loved cranberries and especially cranberry juice, because it’s both sweet and tart. Back in my younger days, I dabbled in stand-up comedy in New York for about nine months. (Please don't ask me to tell a joke!) My drink of choice in the clubs was always vodka and cranberry. During this time period I had a very vivid dream that I met comedian Jerry Seinfeld and he called me “Cranberry”. Apparently it was my nickname. I thought it was a sign.
Perhaps it was a sign I should stop drinking vodka and cranberry juice and start baking with cranberries!
I am happy to report I have definitely done both.
This recipe came about when I was experimenting with muffins that were just sweet enough by using a minimal amount of sugar. I like the occasional muffins for breakfast, but don't like to start the day with sugar. These are sweetened with bananas, the applesauce that’s used in place of oil and just 1 teaspoon per muffin of added sugar.
For those who are eating a diet free of added sugars, you definitely can make these without the sugar, but from my testing I found that your taste buds have to be accustomed to a low or now sugar diet to enjoy them that way. You also have to love cranberries, because they are tart. Some people enjoyed them without sugar and some did not. As I tell my kids, we all have different tastes! (Though it’s important to know that you do have the power to change those tastes – for the better!)
Hope the cranberry lover in your life enjoys these as much as I do.
Banana Cranberry Muffins
1 tsp organic canola or grapeseed oil
2 cups spelt flour
2 TB ground flax seeds (flax meal)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup mashed very ripe banana
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup Sucanat or coconut sugar or sugar
¾ cup unsweetened soy milk
2 cups cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and brush the oil into the cups of a 12 muffin pan. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the banana, applesauce, sweetener of choice and soy milk until no large lumps of banana remain. Small ones are fine if you’d like to see bits of banana in your muffins or you can use a blender to make it super smooth, if you prefer.
Fold this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix gently until they are just combined. Then fold in the cranberries.
Use an ice cream scooper to fill the muffin pan with the batter. Sprinkle on the optional walnuts and then bake in the oven for 22-24 minutes until the tops of the muffins just begin to lightly brown.
Cool in the pan for a few minutes and then carefully take the muffins out of the pan and set on a cooling rack. (Or eat one nice and warm with a smidge of vegan butter. Yum!)