Hello 2019! Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I typically don’t, but I do feel like it’s often a time that I focus on healthy eating after the many indulgences that come with the holidays. I do however, have a couple of priorities when it comes to my family’s nutrition at the moment, both of which we’ve been working at for some time now.
- Cut down on added sugar.
- Eat less meat, especially red and processed meats.
I’m not a huge stickler on either of these things — I still let my kids eat the occasional treat and include meat at some of our meals. But I believe that cutting down on these two things in particular will offer my family the most benefits in terms of improved health.
Can you believe that the recipe for these muffins does not include added sugar or any other type of sweetener? The sweetness only comes from the dried cranberries (which on their own, most likely do contain added sugar) and sweet potatoes.
Now, I have made no-sugar-added muffins before, but that was because I actually just forgot to put in the sugar. And they didn’t taste nearly as good as these ones. My hubby almost never eats things like muffins, but when I offered him one of these freshly baked beauties, he said “these are blog-worthy”, which he only says about things that he really likes.
So now you can go ahead and make these lower sugar treats for yourself. And even if you’re not actively trying to cut back on sugar, I encourage you to try these. They really are very good, and not just “good for low-sugar baked goods” good.
Dried Cranberry Muffins with Pecans and Sweet Potatoes
- ¾ cup pecans, divided
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1¼ cup dried cranberries, divided
- ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ⅔ cup buttermilk or plain kefir
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 small sweet potato, shredded (about 1¼ cups)
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Toast pecans until they become fragrant, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to cutting board to cool.
- Return skillet to medium heat and cook butter, stirring often until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium heat proof bowl to cool.
- Coarsely chop ¼ cup of the dried cranberries and transfer to a small bowl. Coarsely chop the toasted pecans and mix ¼ cup of them with the chopped cranberries.
- Move oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 375°F. Grease the cups of a 12-cup muffin pan with any remaining browned butter from the skillet or with canola oil.
- Whisk applesauce, buttermilk (or kefir), eggs and vanilla into the browned butter. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Gently stir in butter mixture with a large silicone spoon or spatula. Fold in sweet potato, reaming cup of dried cranberries and remaining ½ cup of the toasted pecans until incorporated.
- Divide batter equally among 12 muffin cups. Top each muffin with a portion of the chopped cranberries and pecans. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 18 to 20 minutes.