It’s funny how we use words and don’t often think of where they originate from. The word “Muffin” is a point in case and I decided to look into the origins of it after typing it out and noticing its oddity for the first time. Although there is nothing conclusive I prefer the theory that it is derived from Old French “mou-pain” (“soft bread”), which may have been corrupted into “mouffin”. I can imagine it being a French word – in any case I think “Mouffin” sounds much more fun than “Muffin”!
There are an infinite amount of combinations you can conjure up when making muffins but this is one of my favourite winter combinations especially as pecans are in season and falling from the tree in my back garden. The zest and warmth of citrus and cinnamon is comforting and the tangy sweetness of the chewy cranberries is smashing and I always feel festive when throwing them together.
If you want a lighter more fluffy texture stick to plain or cake flour, however I like to make these with 50% wholemeal flour if we are eating them on a daily basis or adding them to lunchboxes to up the overall nutrition profile. It does however make the texture more robust and dense. I love using Eureka & Lowerland flours which are stoneground and unbleached and since Natura sugars made their incredible range of unrefined Demerara, Muscovado, Castor and icing sugars available in SA I simply can’t use anything else. And please note I am sponsored by neither of these brands – they are just high quality products and yield the best results.
Ingredients for 12 Muffins
2 cups plain flour (I like to use 1 cup wholemeal stoneground and 1 cup plain for extra nutrition)
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup Unrefined high-quality sugar – I love using the dark Demerara by Natura here
1/2 cup milk, or your preferred milk/milk alternative
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil/coconut oil/melted butter
1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup pecan pieces (and some whole pecans for décor – although not essential)
Grated zest & juice of 1 orange
Preheat oven to 200° C or 180° C fan and place some paper muffin liners in a muffin tin. I like these unbleached biodegradable ones which you can find at Wellness Warehouse as shown in the pic.
In a bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Grate in the orange zest and mix again.
In another bowl, whisk the sugar, milk, orange juice vanilla, egg, and oil.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined and don’t overmix – however you dont want lumps.
Add your pecan pieces and dried cranberries and fold again.
Fill the muffin liners 3/4 of the way up.
I like to decorate mine with these gorgeous special reserve pecan halves from Roux but chopped up pecan pieces would work just as nicely.
Place in the oven for 20 mins until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm with butter and honey or with a cup of tea whenever you please!