Vegan Orange Cranberry Muffins


Riddle me this: Your husband expresses mild dissatisfaction with the baked goods available for purchase around work.  You are unemployed, bored, and starting to have conversations with your cats, so you decide that you will MAKE him some delicious baked goods for when you drop by his work later.  Yes!  And then roses will drop at your feet and people will cheer, because you are the best wife ever!  You quickly realize that you need a recipe that fits the following parameters:
  • Utilizes the partially desiccated bag of frozen cranberries purchased in November of 2011 that you actually moved 4 hours north.  Yes, seriously.  No, you did not live through the Great Depression.
  • Oh, shit--you don't have any eggs, either! 
  • Does not make you leave the house or spend money.  Just because you're bored doesn't mean you're not lazy-comma-broke.
What do you do?  What. do. you. do.  ?

If you're me, you remember that vegans hate eggs, but love baked goods just as much as the rest of us.  SURELY, there is a cranberry-based muffin recipe from our lovely vegan friends on the interwebs.  And indeed there was.  I didn't even have to look hard.  The best thing about this recipe is that--other than a bag of frozen/fresh cranberries--the ingredients are totally ordinary and likely to be all up in your pantry and refrigerator.

I will admit that despite my enthusiasm, I was worried that the muffins would turn out dry or crumbly without egg as a binding agent.  But this recipe made me a convert (not to veganism, just to the possibility of vegan baked goods).  So, fear not, friends.  This is one of the moistest, most flavorful muffins I've ever made.  You'll think so, too.  And you can serve it to everyone, which will make you even more popular than before.  Hooray!

Vegan Orange Cranberry Muffins (from Post Punk Kitchen)
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-2/3 cups sugar
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 cup fresh orange juice (**I had 1 fresh orange that I squeezed, which probably amounted to 1/4-1/3 cup.  Then I topped it most of the way off with orange juice from the fridge, but we were running low on that, too.  So, I added just a liiiiitle water to make it stretch.  Didn't make any difference at all.**)
-1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
-2 tablespoons orange zest (**Again, I only had the 1 fresh orange, so I only had maybe 1 tablespoon.  I'm sure it would be much orange-ier with more zest.  Still, it was delicious.**)
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon almond extract (**I sure didn't have this!  I did, however, have a twee bottle of hazelnut-flavored coffee syrup.  So, I used that.  Whatever.  I couldn't taste it, so you could probably leave that out.**)
-1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, roughly chopped.  (**I used the whole bag, which was more like 2 cups**)
-1 cup pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped (**Original recipe says this is optional.  I think not.**)

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease a muffin tin.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add canola oil, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, and almond extract.  Mix until all wet ingredients are moistened.  About halfway through this process, add cranberries and nuts.  Don't over-mix!

3. Fill muffin tins 3/4-full with batter.  If you're so inclined, sprinkle a little extra sugar on top of each filled tin.

4. Bake 23-27 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  When cool enough to handle, you can transfer them to cooling racks to cool completely.  

**Note: I highly, HIGHLY recommend eating them while they're warm.  They are unbelievably good once they're cool enough to eat without burning your face off.**

-Makes 12 amazing muffins