Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Crumb Muffins

November has always felt like the shortest month for me.  Time really just seems to fly once we hit November, and I can't explain why.  It's crazy to think that Thanksgiving is just two weeks away!  I always begin the month planning out an array of perfectly schemed Thanksgiving desserts, but somehow, every single year, without fail, the time just seems to disappear right before my eyes, and all of the sudden, we're just two weeks away from my favorite holiday.  Maybe this means I need to spend a little more time in the scheduling portion of my Thanksgiving scheming, rather than spending the overwhelming majority of it with my head buried in cookbooks and food magazines.  I just can't help myself, though.  I want to try so many recipes, that I am always getting a bit over my head and completely overestimate how much I can actually accomplish in the time that I have. Sadly, I've gotten used to this mild disappointment that seems to inevitably strike with the coming of every holiday season.  Sigh.  That's what I get for having so many foodie magazine subscriptions...

Today's recipe is not a Thanksgiving dessert recipe, despite the frustrations I just described about running out of time to try all the things I want to try.  While not a Thanksgiving dessert, these little cranberry chip muffins with a buttery crumb topping are something that I had put on my list of things to make a long time ago, so at least it's a sign that I was able to actually make one of the things that had caught my eye accomplished!  As for Thanksgiving desserts, don't worry.  Pies are coming.  Trust me.  I may even throw in some extra desserts. I've got the end of your Thanksgiving feast covered, so fear not!

Before we get to these upcoming desserts though, we need to talk about these little guys right here.  I love muffins, and it's been a while since I posted a muffin recipe on the blog.  To be honest, I couldn't even remember what the last muffin recipe I had posted was (technically, it was these Mini Apple Cider Doughnut Muffins, but the last big muffin recipe I posted were my Raisin Bran Muffins, if you're having trouble remembering like I am).  Based on the lack of recent muffin recipes in the last few months, and my strange craving for a chocolate chip muffin, and my "make seasonal food" sense going off more and more, I knew that a muffin recipe was coming.  I wanted these muffins to of course have chocolate chips, as well as incorporate cranberries to make them seasonal, and because what wouldn't benefit from the addition of a crumb topping, a crumb topping also had to make an appearance as well.

Like all good muffins, these came together super fast.  All you need is a bowl (do yourself  favor and use a bigger one than I did, it'll make your life much easier) and a wooden spoon, along with a bit of gold old fashioned elbow grease.  You simply whisk together all the dry ingredients, make a well, and pour in the wet ingredients, along with the sugar, followed by a quick stirring of the chopped cranberries and chocolate chips. The crumb topping comes together really quickly as well, and all you have to do is mix the ingredients together in a bowl with your fingers- no spoon required!  As with any muffin recipe, make sure you do NOT overmix. Lumps in your batter are perfectly ok, and are a sign that you haven't mixed your muffins to death- doing so would result in tough, rather than fluffy muffins, and no one wants that, right?

I really enjoyed the way these muffins came out, and actually thought they tasted even better the next day.  The muffin has a mild, sweet flavor, and then, depending on where you bite, you'll get a bit of tart cranberry or sweet chocolate chip, and if you manage to get both into a single bite, then that's even better!  The crumb topping adds a nice hint of extra buttery sweetness at the top, and is really just the perfect way to finish off the muffin (or any muffin, for that matter).  The muffins are soft and fluffy, sweet and tart, and are the perfect excuse to have cake for breakfast, because, after all, isn't that why we eat muffins anyway?  Enjoy!

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Crumb Muffins
muffin recipe adapted from Ina Garten; crumb topping recipe from Food & Wine


For the Muffins

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips

For the Crumb Topping

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted


Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F and positioning an oven rack in the middle of the oven.  Line muffin tins with paper liners. 

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Whisk to combine. Form a well in the dry ingredients, and add the milk, vanilla extract, eggs, melted butter, and both sugars, stirring to combine.  Take care not to overmix, it's ok if there are lumps!  Gently fold in the chopped cranberries and chocolate chips.

Divide the muffin batter among the prepared muffin tins.  To prepare the crumb topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and both sugars.  Mix in the melted butter, and stir until it forms a crumble mixture.  Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the tops of the muffins.

Bake the muffins in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Set the muffin tins on a wire rack, and let the muffins cool in the muffin tins for a few minutes before removing them from the tins and letting them cool completely on a wire rack.  Enjoy!

Makes just over 2 dozen muffins


  1. Would dried cranberries be ok??

    1. Hi Laura! Substituting dried cranberries would definitely be ok in this recipe. Good luck!

  2. i love that crumb topping! these look great for breakfast on the go.

    perhaps you can help a fellow food blogger out and vote for my mac n cheese in a recipe contest? i'd greatly appreciate it!! :)

  3. The surprising health benefits from your Cranberry Chocolate Chip Crumb Muffins lead me here. I was surprised that Cranberry may used as one of the fascinating ingredients in cooking. Cranberry juice serves as my daily intake which help prevent painful urinary tract infection. Its a good news for me to try your delicious Cranberry Chocolate Chip! I will also introduced your blog to my site

    1. Hi Debbie, I hope you like the muffins! Thanks for reading.

  4. I just made these to send to my little ones kindergarten Christmas party at school. I used dried cranberries (it's what I had on hand!) and about 3/4 cup milk and then filled to 1 1/4 cup with fresh orange juice. Also grated 1 1/2 oranges (peel) into the batter rather than the ginger. (I also didn't use the topping as I didn't figure the kiddos needed more sugar ;)
    DELICIOUS muffins! Likely my new favorites!

    1. ooooh those sound delicious! happy they worked out for you! :)


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