Looking for a way to use up your leftover cranberry sauce? These Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins are just the thing! Hints of orange zest, tart cranberries and a brown sugar crumble topping will make these the perfect breakfast the day after Thanksgiving!
Like, you know how people put applesauce in their muffins sometimes?
Remember that time that I made a giant bowl of Cranberry Sauce? Except it was three weeks before Thanksgiving because this is blog land? And so I had a giant bowl of cranberry sauce in my fridge, which led me to come up with these Cranberry Brie Mini Tarts. But then I had still more Cranberry Sauce. What should I do with leftover cranberry sauce? I’ll tell you what – leftover cranberry sauce muffins. If you can put applesauce in muffins, why not cranberry sauce?
So these muffins. I really like them. It took me three tries to get them just the way I wanted them. Super moist, full of tart cranberries with a hint of orange and brown sugar. I added a streusel topping because, well, because I could and streusel topping is never a bad idea. The brown sugar and cinnamon play really nicely with the cranberries. I really wanted the cranberries to be the star of the show here, so there are lots of fresh cranberries in addition to the cranberry sauce. And orange zest, because cranberries and oranges should get married and have tons or cranberry-orange babies.
Another nice thing about these muffins is that they freeze really well, which is good news because I just made three batches and no two people should be eating 36+ muffins in the period of time that we could/would. Despite a freezer full of muffins, when I sent a bunch to work with my husband to share with his friends he totally hoarded them, so I think that speaks well for the flavor here.
There were a few challenges with these muffins. First of all, I really wanted them to be very moist (I’m really sorry if you hate that word, but there is no other way to describe it). That was why I used more brown sugar than regular recipes call for, as well as oil instead of butter. The problem with a very wet batter is that it is harder to get them to puff up and get a dome shaped top that muffins are supposed to have. I didn’t want to sacrifice the tender, moist texture, so I had to employ a few tricks to keep these from being completely flat.
One thing I did is make sure that the muffin tins were very full. Normally when we make cupcakes or muffins the recipes tell us to fill the tin 3/4. With these guys though, you want to fill it almost to the top. I found an ice cream scoop made this job much easier.
The other thing I did was an oven trick that I learned from Alton Brown. You preheat the oven to 380, but you are actually going to bake these at 400. Right when you put the muffins in the oven you raise the tempurature to 400. The reason for this is that the muffins will get a blast of heat right away, which causes the baking powder to react and the muffins to raise up quickly. That creates some structure for the muffin and helps it keep its shape. Science!
Now, despite all of these tricks, the muffins still do not have quite the tall dome top that some picture perfect muffins have, but I think that having that soft, moist, tender texture makes it worth it. The tartness of the cranberries and buttermilk, the zing of the orange zest, the warm flavors of the cinnamon and brown sugar all come together to create a holiday party in muffin form.
Cranberry Sauce Muffins
For The Muffins:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- scant ½ cup cranberry sauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of one orange
- 1 ½ cup fresh cranberries
For The Streusel Topping:
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 380°F. Prepare your muffin tin by either lining it with cupcake wrappers or very liberally greasing the tins. I used cupcake wrappers.
- Combine streusel topping ingredients in a small bowl and use your fingers to mix together until the ingredients are combined and the mixture resembles wet sand. You can try to do this with a fork but I find it much easier to do with my fingers. Set aside.
- In another bowl combine dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all wet ingredients except for fresh cranberries. Mix together until comletely combined. Alternately you can do this by hand, but I preferred the texture when I used an electric mixer.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix for NO LONER THAN 20 seconds. Do not over mix. Even though it will not be fully combined, remove the bowl from the mixer and add the fresh cranberries. Fold in by hand to finish mixing. It is very important not to over mix. A few lumps are OK.
- Fill the muffin tin with the batter. Fill almost to the top of the wrapper (not 3/4 as you normally would with cupcakes). Top each muffin with some streusel mix. Use plenty of streusel mix, you will probably have some left over.
- Put muffins in the oven and immediately raise oven temperature to 400°F. The reason for this is that they will get a burst of hot air which helps them to rise and get more of a dome top.
- Bake 15-18 minutes or until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (a few crumbs are OK).
- Allow to cool in muffin tin for about 10 minutes, then remove to finish cooling on a wire rack.
- Can be frozen after cooling completely.
Are you tired of cranberries yet? I promise this is the last cranberry recipe for awhile. Maybe? Maybe not.
Lets be friends on Instagram! If you make this recipe be sure to tag it with #foxandbriar, I would love to see what you make!