Pump, Pump, Pumping up the (Cranberry) Pumpkin Muffins

By Bianca Tamburello, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

I spy a food that wears a crisp little hat, is pillow-like, yet crumby, sweet but not too sweet, and functional as a breakfast accompaniment, dessert or snack. Unless you have already read the title of this post you must be wondering what heavenly little food I could possibly be describing? Muffins, of course.


Piled high at continental breakfasts at hotels, conferences and offices, a muffin may not be the most superb breakfast option on it’s own. Aside from the extra butter, sugar and refined grains, bakery muffins are often oversized and, therefore, laden with calories. However, with a few ingredient substitutions, flavorful seasonings, proper portion size and paired with some fruit, a scrumptious little snack is born.


At Karen’s, we first combined the dry ingredients including flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl and beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, buttermilk, pumpkin, oil and egg in a larger bowl. Next, we slowly added the dry mixture to the wet mixture just until everything combined, and then gently folded in the dried cranberries. Finally, we spooned the batter into baking cups as evenly as possible and baked them for about 25 minutes.


I advise to remove the muffins from the tin and let cool before eating, but we were too tempted by the pumpkin cinnamon aroma to wait. The comforting taste of pumpkin, cranberries and cinnamon was a pleasant reminder that, despite the oddly warm New England weather, winter is still here.

Sargent Choice Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
Yield 12 Muffins

1½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
⅛ Tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tbsp. canola oil
2/3 cup dried cranberries


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place 12 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups.

3.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.

4.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt; stir well with a whisk.

5.  Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin, oil, buttermilk and egg in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes).

6.   Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.  Fold in cranberries.

7.  Spoon batter into prepared cups. Bake at 375°for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center.  Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack

Serving = 1 muffin

Calories 180
Fat 3 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Protein 3 g
Carbohydrate 39 g
Fiber 3 g

Recipe modified from Cooking Light, November 2007

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