A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to do a guest post on Go Dairy Free, the wonderful website about all things dairy-free, run by Alisa Fleming, author of the amazing cookbook, Go Dairy Free (who, incidentally, also authors One Frugal Foodie).
I chose to feature my Banana and Fresh Cranberry Muffins that I usually only whip up during fall and winter months because, if you have ever tried to find a bag of fresh cranberries during the middle of summer, you will quickly find that your efforts will most likely be met with defeat.
Now there is just something about the winter months that inspires me to think up innovative and resourceful endeavors involving the elusively tart but nutrient-dense cranberry. I normally find myself using them in holiday decorations, as glistening accents to my meals, and as beds for my tea light candles.
Of course, I also love to throw a few frozen ones into my champagne, or, better yet, my vodka cocktails, as well (but that is for after the kids go to bed). But, on chilly nights when those silly boys of ours just will not hit the hay (and therefore Mom and Dad cannot hit the sauce), we love to make mulled cranberry juice by simmering cranberry juice, cloves, fresh cranberries, cinnamon sticks, and sliced oranges together for about twenty minutes.
But finding ways to use fresh cranberries as the star ingredients in my recipes that do not involve alcohol is a challenge I also like to tackle. I have a number of cranberry-inspired dishes that have been successful, but these Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Banana-Cranberry Muffins have been the chosen favorite in my family involving these antioxidant-rich berries.
The sweetness of the bananas, the slightly sweet dried cranberries, and the dash of honey add a perfect balance to the tartness of the fresh cranberries that are also called for here.
Banana and Fresh Cranberry Muffins:
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free
1/2 Cup: organic coconut oil (measured in liquid form)
1/3 Cup: honey
2: eggs, ROOM TEMPERATURE, separated
2: ripe bananas, (mashed with a fork)
1 1/2 tsp: baking soda
1/4 tsp: salt
1/3 Cup: dried cranberries, (soaked in 1/2 cup water for 30 minutes, then drained)
1/3 Cup: fresh cranberries, finely chopped (measure the cranberries while still whole)
1 Tablespoon Turbinado (or other large crystalled) sugar, to sprinkle evenly over the tops of the muffins
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease the muffin tin thoroughly.
2. In large bowl, mix oil and honey with electric mixer. Add egg yolks and continue to mix until blended Add bananas and mix until incorporated.
3. In another bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. Slowly add almond flour mixture to wet ingredients in mixing bowl and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Do not over-mix.
5. Once incorporated hand mix in dried and fresh cranberries until just combined.
6. Beat whites until soft peaks form, then gently fold into batter until just incorporated.
7. Spoon batter into the muffin cups, filling only 2/3 of the way full – do not over-fill. Sprinkle Turbinado sugar evenly over each muffin.
8. Bake 20-23 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean and they turn a golden brown.
Do you have any fun ideas for cranberries? I would love to hear them. I have three bags of fresh ones sitting in my refrigerator right now that I would love to try something new with. Oh! And one more question. Does anyone know how to tell if a cranberry is ripe? I do know the answer but would love to know if you do too…
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