Cranberry Wheat Germ Muffins and a Muffin Swap

Reader Contribution by Lanette Lepper
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Following the success of last month’s Soup Swap, my neighbors and I gathered last night for a muffin swap (and a great excuse to get out of the house for some adult conversation.)  We packaged our muffins in bags of 6 and came home with lots of different muffins (and recipes) to try. 

I knew I wanted to bring a healthy option, so I immediately decided on Orange Cranberry Wheat Germ Muffins.  Several years ago, my friend Juliann made a batch for us.  My kids loved them, and I have made them often since.  But lately, I’ve really been trying to cut the sugar we consume, so for the muffin swap, I gave the recipe a slight makeover.  I used whole wheat flour, mostly home-dehydrated cranberries instead of craisins, less sugar and oil, and no orange juice.  The kids still gobbled them up, so I’d say the changes were a success! 

Orange Cranberry Wheat Germ Muffins

3 cups freshly ground soft white wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)

1 cup wheat germ/bran (I was out of wheat germ.  Use whatever you have!)

1 cup of dried cranberries (I used 1/3 cup Craisins and 2/3 cup dehydrated cranberries.  We like the texture of the craisins, but not their sugar content.)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup safflower oil

1/4 cup applesauce or pearsauce

2 tsp grated orange grind or 1 tsp dried orange powder

2 TBL homemade orange extract + enough water to make 1 cup

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease muffin pans if you aren’t using liners.  Combine flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.  Make a well in the center. 

In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well.  Add to flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Spoon batter into muffin cups.  Bake for 17-20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched in the center.