It’s officially fall, so it’s time to step up your muffin game. Banana bread is the surprising inspiration for this cranberry muffin recipe, as we mimic the process of making banana bread but with mashed roast pears instead of bananas. These are definitely not your ordinary cranberry muffins: black pepper and ginger powder give them an extra kick—but don’t worry, they’re not actually spicy. The added spices merely round out their flavor and give them complexity.
Flaxseeds and sliced almonds are added to the batter for texture, and more are sprinkled on top for a delightful and nutty crunch. While we know muffin tops have their die-hard fans, the pockets of tart cranberries are waiting in the bottom halves of these muffins make for a pleasant sweet-and-sour contrast.
Spiced Cranberry Muffins
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 16 muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, plus cooling time
For the Roast Pears:
2 ripe Bartlett pears—peeled, cored and cut into eighths
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Cranberry Muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ginger powder
Roast pear mixture
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (5 ounces) cranberries, roughly chopped
¼ cup flaxseeds, plus more for garnish
¼ cup sliced almonds, plus more for garnish
1. Make the roast pears: Preheat the oven to 350º and line a baking sheet with foil. Toss the pears with the vanilla and salt directly on the baking sheet, and roast in the oven until soft, 30 to 35 minutes. Place the pears in a medium bowl and roughly mash with a whisk to form a mildly chunky paste. Allow to completely cool and reserve for later.
2. While the pears are roasting: Line a standard muffin tin with liners and set aside until needed. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, black pepper, salt, baking soda and ginger powder, then set aside.
3. Once the roast pear mixture has cooled, add the eggs and melted butter. Then add the liquid mixture to the dry flour mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Fold in the cranberries, flaxseeds and sliced almonds. Divide the batter among the muffin liners and garnish with more flaxseeds and sliced almonds. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.