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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Gluten-Free Orange Cranberry Muffins (Wheat, Nut, Milk and Fish-Free, Can Be Egg and Soy-Free)

Though there are inches of snow outside (the weather doesn't seem to realize it is November and not December), it is still autumn, and I love me some autumnal flavors!  My favorite autumnal combo is orange and cranberry.  There's something about it that is just cheery and refreshing...  Anyway, these muffins definitely fit that description - cheery and refreshing - and have just a bit of a sweet and sour vibe.  Delish!

This recipe is adapted from my Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins recipe, and is wheat, nut, milk and fish-free (if all your ingredients are), and can be egg and soy-free (see variations).  This means these muffins can be extremely allergy-friendly, too!  And it requires only 6 to 7 ingredients!  Easy and delicious!  If you're a fan of cranberry and orange like I am, you'll definitely want to try these ASAP!

Note: The gluten-free baking mix I recommend does not technically contain soy, but it does contain xanthan gum (see "Soy-Free" under variations for more details) which can cause issues for people with soy sensitivities or allergies, and that is why I will not claim that this recipe is soy-free.

Gluten-Free Orange Cranberry Muffins

3 Cups gluten-free, dairy-free baking mix 
(I always use King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Baking Mix, and yes, it has to be a baking mix, NOT a gluten-free flour or the recipe will not turn out right.)

1 Cup white sugar
(I always use cane sugar.)

1 1/2 Cups sweetened, dried cranberries
(I use Craisins whenever possible, but you can use any sweetened, dried cranberries that fit your dietary needs.)

1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
(My favorite brand to use is O-LIVE, but I also have used others, but I always use extra virgin olive oil.)

4 large eggs

1 Cup orange juice
(You can use fresh-squeezed or bottled.  Bottled is normally gluten-free, but always double check your labels!)

1 teaspoon gluten-free orange extract (optional)
(I normally use McCormick brand.)
1 Tablespoon orange zest (optional)

white sugar (for topping) (optional)

(I use cane or turbinado sugar for the topping.) 

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
  2. Prepare muffin tins with 24 paper cups or grease tins well with fat of choice.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the gluten-free baking mix, 1 Cup sugar, and the sweetened, dried cranberries until well blended and set aside.  (Note: Mixing the dried fruit in at this stage keeps it from sinking to the bottom of your muffins.)
  4. In another larger bowl, mix the oil, egg, orange juice and orange extract or zest until well blended.  (Note: Using the orange extract or zest is entirely up to you.  I like the  extra orange punch it gives to the recipe, but you can leave it out if you wish.  You can also 1/2 the amount of extract/zest used or double it, depending on preference.)
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until the mixture is just blended.
  6. Evenly distribute the muffin mixture between the 24 muffin cups and top each one with extra sugar, if desired. (Note: The amount of sugar you put on top of each muffin is up to you, but I recommend about half a teaspoon per muffin, but you could put as much as a Tablespoon per muffin.)
  7. Let the muffins rest about 10 minutes before baking.  (Note: This ensures the best results, so please don't skip this step!)
  8. Bake the muffins for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Let the muffins sit in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pan and allowing them to finish cooling on the counter or a wire rack.
  10. Enjoy them warm or let them cool completely before enjoying - whichever you prefer!
Makes 24 muffins.

Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using variations):  
  • Egg-Free: Use an egg replacer in place of the eggs.  For ideas on what to use in place of the eggs, check out my ingredient substitutions page.  The flax seed "egg" replacement would be a good fit with these muffins.
  • Soy-Free: King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Baking Mix does not claim to contain soy, but it does contain xanthan gum, which can cause issues with people who have soy sensitivities and allergies, and hence the reason I won't claim this recipe is soy-free already.  You can use another soy-free baking mix (if you can have wheat/gluten) or soy-free, gluten-free baking mix of your choice.  Keep in mind that if your baking mix doesn't contain guar gum or xanthan gum, you may need to add between 3/4 to 3 teaspoons of ground flax seed, guar gum or xanthan gum to help with textural issues, too.  You'll have to make sure all your ingredients are soy-free, too.
  • Fresh Cranberries vs. Dried Cranberries: If you are a fan of fresh cranberries over dried ones, you can definitely substitute fresh for dried.  However, the fresh cranberries will be considerably more tart, so you'll want to up the amount of sugar you top the muffin with.  You can also use half fresh and half dried cranberries, if desired.

  • Different Flavors: If you are not an cranberry fan, you can substitute strawberries, peach, blueberry, raspberry, cherries, or another fruit of choice (though I don't recommend pumpkin, banana or any other "mushy" fruit) that you like with orange flavor.  You can use a combination of fruits, too, as long as you don't exceed  1 1/2 Cups of fruit.  I recommend using fresh fruit or dried fruit ONLY, as canned or frozen fruit will alter your texture greatly.  You can also top the muffins with plain sugar or nothing, if you so desire.  You could also play around with different juices like lime, lemon or pineapple, leave off the sugar topping (if desired), and pick a fruit or dried fruit of choice to mix in.  You could also try stirring in chocolate chips vs. fruit if you like orange and chocolate together.  You can also use another extract instead of orange, if desired, or use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of orange and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of another extract (like vanilla, almond, lemon, etc.).  You could even add some chopped nuts or shaved almonds inside (I'd say no more than a Cup) or sprinkle some on top of the muffins, if desired and you can have them, before baking if that sounds good to you.  So many options!  Here's the links to my Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins, my Gluten-Free Strawberry Lemon Muffins and my Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins, as well.
  • Sugar Substitutes: You could use any sugar substitute that is approved for baking for the sugar.  Make sure that you sub it according to the recommendations for that sweetener.  Not all sugar substitutes are subbed with a 1:1 ratio.  I also don't recommend using a liquid sugar substitute as it would greatly alter the moisture content. 
Just look at all that autumnal yummy-ness!

So good!

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