Make Ahead Mornings: Cranberry Orange Pecan Muffins

December is a month in which I often bake in the early morning to fill the house with amazing aromas and a bit of warmth to fight the increasing chill of late fall. Muffins are among my favorite options because I get a taste (yay!) and can bag a bunch and freeze them for later. Then when unexpected guests arrive at my door or the morning rush calls for a grab and go breakfast, I'm set with easily microwavable muffins.

As is often the case with baking recipes, I don't recommend tweaking this one much. You can skip the orange zest if you want, but I find it really improves the flavor of these sweet and tangy muffins. You could also omit the nuts, but they add a little more protein to the mix and take them into the proper pick me up category.

I like making sure I have a few varieties of muffins available for setting out on a plate and microwaving or thawing overnight. Who isn't going to appreciate a plate of homemade muffins and a cup of hot coffee or tea on a chilly morning or afternoon? Yeah, that's what I thought too!

Cranberry Orange Pecan Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoon orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a second bowl, add the sugar and the orange zest and rub the orange zest and sugar between your fingers.

Add the orange juice, vegetable oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract to the sugar and orange zest and gently mix.

Once the wet ingredients are fully combined, scoop in the remaining dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Gently fold the cranberries and pecans into the batter.

Distribute the batter evenly between 12 muffin liners in a muffin tin and place in the oven for 20 to 24 minutes until they have risen and a tooth pick inserted comes out completely clean.

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes