There are two types of people in this world: those that like their Thanksgiving leftovers to resemble their Thanksgiving meal and those that want their leftovers reimagined. I fall into the latter camp—except for pie of course, I would eat Thanksgiving pie year-round if it was seasonally appropriate.
In past years, I’ve made Thanksgiving leftovers into mashed potato croquettes, roasted squash soup, and orzo with vegetables, but until this year I haven’t done anything with leftover cranberry sauce. As it turns out, cranberry sauce is perfect for swirling into small, tender muffins to enjoy for breakfasts and snacks in the week after Thanksgiving.
With whole-wheat flour, applesauce, and a minimal amount of sugar, these muffins are a nice counter-balance to the indulgence of Thanksgiving, leaving you with more room for leftover pie tonight.
Cranberry Swirl Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup almond milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup leftover cranberry sauce (no leftovers? Use the recipe below)
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease 12 muffin cups
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, flaxseed, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together the applesauce, almond milk, and brown sugar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold gently until just combined with a rubber spatula. Divide the muffin batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, then top each muffin with a spoonful of cranberry sauce. Using a butter knife or a chopstick, lightly swirl the cranberry sauce into the muffin batter. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove and let cool on a wire rack.
Makes about 1 ½ cups
6 oz. fresh cranberries
2 teaspoons orange zest
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup water
2-3 tablespoons sugar (according to taste preferences)
Pinch of salt
- In a skillet over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the cranberries have popped and the mixture is a cohesive sauce. Pour into a jar to cool, then use in Cranberry Swirl Muffins.
And for those of you that would like a laugh, here is my failed attempt at buckwheat cranberry swirl muffins. I’ll definitely need to do some more research to get buckwheat to cooperate with me. My brother was genuinely concerned when he saw them on the counter, but like any loyal taste-tester, offered to suffer through a dozen under-baked and gooey yet over-browned and dry muffins to prevent food from going to waste. Thankfully, my second attempt at cranberry swirl muffins was much more successful.