Well, the seasons will soon be changing here in my neck of the woods, and although I will miss the summer, I love to bake in the fall!! The fall has some really great flavors associated with it: pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, pear, gingerbread, and of course – cranberry!!

These cranberry-orange muffins are one of my seasonal favorites. In fact, I am so eager to have one – I made a batch this morning (okay, so sometimes I’m a little impatient…) I told myself it was a “practice run” for when the weather actually does cool down in a few weeks. After having one for breakfast, I know that I will be making these quite often again this fall – after all, nothing goes better with a good cup of coffee on a chilly fall morning than a delicious satisfying muffin!

1 cup skim milk

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

2 egg whites

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh (or frozen cranberries), coarsely chopped

Additional sugar (raw/coarse grain) for sprinkling on top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously spray a 6 cup jumbo (or 12 cup standard) muffin tin with cooking spray.

Beat the milk, applesauce, orange peel and egg whites in a large bowl with a rubber spatula or spoon. In a separate bowl, stir together flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just moistened (batter will be slightly lumpy); fold in the cranberries.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, and if desired sprinkle the top of each muffin with a small amount of additional sugar (raw works best for this). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 5 – 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Makes 6 jumbo (or 12 standard) muffins. Per jumbo muffin: 247 calories, 4 g total fat, less than 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 37 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 2 g added sugar, 4 g protein, 164 mg sodium,0 mg cholesterol

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