SRC: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

These sweet muffins swirled with cranberry compote and a delicious cream cheese center are the perfect afternoon snack!

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins | #secretrecipeclub

Welcome to November’s Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned to Maxine’s blog, Why I Am Not Skinny. Maxine is a South African expat living in Brussels… two great places! I’ve been to South Africa for a few days when I was in Lesotho for part of a summer in college, and I would absolutely love to go back. On her blog, Maxine shares so many delicious recipes and restaurant recommendations. If/when I go to Brussels I will have to check out her blog again! Though I really wanted to make her Pea and Mint Risotto or Pumpkin Fritters, I settled on these Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins because I wanted a sweet treat. :)

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins | #secretrecipeclub

I also kind of wanted to make these as a sort of redemption for Maxine, because her muffins didn’t come out quite as well as BBC’s picture. And I am SO glad I did. They were tangy and creamy and all sorts of deliciousness. Though they weren’t quite as simple as most muffins are–you have to make the cranberry compote and the cream cheese filling, they are well worth it. Next time [and there WILL be a next time] I think I’ll skip mashing the cranberries so as to have bigger chunks in the muffins, and I might reduce the temperature for baking down to 325 or 350 so they don’t brown quite as quickly. Some of my unpictured muffins definitely got a little dark. Maxine, I hope my muffins live up to your expectations! Thanks for a great recipe! :)

one year ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
two years ago: Pollo alla Poggia Alloro
three years ago: Homemade Maple and Brown Sugar Almond Butter
four years ago: Pumpkin Soup and Homemade Croutons

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

from Why I Am Not Skinny


  • 100 grams/3.5 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 250 grams sugar/1 cup + 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 175 grams/6 ounces fresh cranberries [frozen can also be used, just add a splash of water or apple cider to help liquify]
  • 200 grams/26 tablespoons flour – UPDATED: I used this calculator to come up with this. When I made the recipe I used my kitchen scale and didn’t measure in tablespoons… I think the previous measurement I had here was wrong. So sorry about that!
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 ml canola oil [this is just between 1/4 and 1/3 cup]
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease well with cooking spray.

Beat together cream cheese with 2 tablespoons sugar. Place in refrigerator to chill until ready to use.

In a small saucepan, combine another 2 tablespoons sugar with 6 ounces fresh cranberries. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop. Then mash gently with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, vanilla, and almond extract. Fold in wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in cranberries. Do not overmix or else the batter will bleed.

Scoop batter–it will be thick–into prepared pan, about 1/2 to 2/3 way full. Do not overfill. Use a spoon to scoop a ball of cream cheese mixture into batter, pressing down gently. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Some of my muffins spilled over the top of the muffin cups because I filled them too full, so don’t make that mistake.

Also, you may want to skip mashing the cranberries so the batter bleeds less.

Do not overbake–cheese may still seem a bit soft. If muffins are browning too much, cover with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking or reduce heat to 325 degrees F.

Be sure to check out all the other fun recipes made this week for the Secret Recipe Club below!


Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars are an easy no-bake afternoon snack or lunch box addition. Plus, they last nearly a month in the fridge and even longer in the freezer, so make a batch today and be set for awhile if you can restrain yourself. :)

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars |

I am so excited about these chewy granola bars, you guys! They are simply the best. I’ve shared other granola bar recipes on my blog before, but these take the cake. Literally. I think I’d have one before I had a piece of cake, if only because they are healthy AND chocolately at the same time. Win win, I say!

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars |

In the past, homemade chewy granola bars just haven’t cut it for me because they’ve included ingredients I want to avoid on a normal basis [corn syrup] or because they’ve been so full of liquid sweeteners like honey or maple syrup that they’ve just been sticky and hard to eat on the go. So one day I was thinking about what could make chewy granola bars better [I’m in the car alot… this is what I do when I’m not paying attention to my book on CD–ha!] and it dawned on me. Coconut oil! Duh. Everyone’s favorite trendy all-purpose health/beauty/cooking product of choice these days.  So I gave it a whirl and was SO pleased with the results. These granola bars hold together well, are easy to cut, and just taste amazing. For those who are curious… they don’t really taste much like coconut, for better or worse–it’s just a hint, and it’s almost more the smell than anything.

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars |

When you make them–note that I said “when,” not “if”–be sure to follow the instructions to a T in regard to boiling the honey, brown sugar, and salt. It’s similar to making candy in that you need the mixture to come to a boil so that it gets to the soft ball stage to set. Then you just mix everything up, add your mix-ins, and spread it in the pan. Simple! For this batch, my mix-ins were chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chunks. There’s just something about dark chocolate chunks that makes everything better, righttt?! It practically goes without saying, but you can obviously use whatever dried fruit or nuts or chocolate suits your fancy. I think I might make a batch this weekend and have some white chocolate chips burning a hole in my pantry! :)

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars |

When you take these yummy chewy granola bars to work or your kids take them to school, I guarantee that they’ll be the talk of the lunchroom. They look pretty similar to the storebought kind, but just have a homemade appeal that will make people super jealous. Ben’s even shared some with his colleagues to spread the love… the granola bar love, that is! Enjoy, friends! Happy Friday! :)

one year ago: Oreo Popcorn
two years ago: Cilantro Lime Hummus
three years ago: Tangy Chicken Pasta

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars

  • Servings: 24
  • Time: 2hr 15mins
  • Print

[adapted slightly from Money Saving Mom]
Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars |

  • 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed [or wheat germ, wheat bran, or more rolled oats]
  • 1/2 cup mix-ins of your choice [I used 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts–you can use dried fruit, nuts, coconut, etc.]
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks


Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil or wax paper, and grease well with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together cereal, oats, flaxseed, and mix-ins. In a saucepan, stir together honey, brown sugar, and salt. Turn heat onto medium-low, then stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 60 seconds, then remove from heat and gently mix in coconut oil and peanut butter [be careful of splashes!]. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Pour wet ingredients over the dry and mix to combine.

Press mixture into prepared pan, then evenly distribute chocolate chunks over top. If you mix the chocolate in, it will melt. Press into granola mixture with a spatula then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to set. Cut into bars and wrap in aluminum foil or wax paper for easy transport. Granola bars freeze well and stay fresh in the refrigerator.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Kale Quinoa Salad

When I was asked to cater the bridal shower, I was told that the bride loooved kale and quinoa. This salad was the direct inspiration of that. Well, and of Smitten Kitchen. Ha. But anyways, this kale quinoa salad is just SO good, you guys. It’s so fresh and delightful, I could seriously eat it for breakfast and be happy. With a fried egg on top? Oh goodness, I think I’m going to try that really soon.

Kale Quinoa Salad |

Like any kale or quinoa salad, the sky’s the limit on mix ins. I just used some basic, affordable pantry staples: dried cranberries, almonds, and feta, but feel free to adjust based on your preferences. I’m a huge pistachio fan myself and think think that would be yummy. Oh, and don’t skip the dressing! Sometimes I just wanna do a basic olive oil rub on kale or quinoa but taking a couple minutes to mix up this vinaigrette-eqse dressing is totally worth it. Enjoy!

Kale Quinoa Salad |

one year ago: Mexican Rice
two years ago: Black Bean Wraps

Kale Quinoa Salad [adapted from Smitten Kitchen]
click to print


for salad

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 8 ounces kale, stems removed and thinly chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries [or cherries]
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

for dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired


In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, kale, cranberries, and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: olive oil, viengar,lemon juice, mustard, honey, and dill. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to set. Top with almonds and feta just before eating.

Time: 40 minutes [10 minutes active].
Yield: 6-8 servings.

Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m afraid I don’t have any lovey-dovey dessert to offer you today. For your chocolate overload or cutesy heart shape dessert, you’ll have to look elsewhere. If you need an easy red velvet dessert, check out these Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites I made last year. Yum!

Cranberry Coffee Cake |

Today all I have to offer you is breakfast. A treat for tomorrow, perhaps? I hope cranberries aren’t too hard to come by in your part of the world on this fine February morning. They certainly make this cinnamon sugar-laced coffee cake something extra special.

Cranberry Coffee Cake |

This cake is so easy to make, and is a perfect buttery base for those tart berries. I added a bit of cinnamon and cloves to the original recipe, thinking those warm spices would be delicious alongside the orange zest, and you know what? I was RIGHT!

Cranberry Coffee Cake |

To top everything off, add a light powdered sugar icing. It makes all the difference! I heated up the icing just before drizzling on the cake–a very good move, as it crisped up after meeting the cake. I just love crisp glaze-y icing. Delish!

Cranberry Coffee Cake |

one year ago: Go-To Pancakes
two years ago: Mexican Chicken Alfredo
three years ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake [slightly adapted from Sweet Anna’s]
click to print


for cake

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour [I used white whole wheat]
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • zest of one orange
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries

for icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer [or with a hand mixer], beat eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy, nearly doubled in size. This will take about 8 minutes.

Add in butter and vanilla, and beat for an additional 2 minutes.

Stir in flour, nutmeg, cloves, and orange zest with a wooden spoon until just combined. It will be very thick.

Spoon half of the batter into the bundt pan, then evenly top with the cranberries and reserved cinnamon sugar mixture. Spoon the rest of the batter over the cranberries [some cranberries may still be visible].

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Check after about 30 minutes, and cover with foil if cake is browning too much.

Remove to a wire rack to cool, gently using a knife to loosen cake from the bottom and sides of the pan. After cake cools completely, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk, microwave for about 30 seconds, then drizzle over the cake before serving.

Time: 60 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: 12 servings.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears

If you like cranberry sauce, then you’ll love these oats! Steel cut oats are a special treat for me. They take too long to make on a weekday morning before work [who has time to babysit at the stove for 30 minutes?], so they’re reserved for the weekend in my mind–and I always make extra for leftovers. :) But I digress. This past Saturday, I whipped up these easy Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears, and let me tell you… they were something amazing!

Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears |

I’ve only made steel cut oats a few times in the past and these were by far the best–tender with just a little bit of chewiness. These steel cut oats were the most flavorful oats I’ve ever tasted, and the prettiest too! See that pink? I cooked fresh cranberries in with the steel cut oats to achieve that gorgeous color, added some cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar to cut down the tartness of the fresh berries, then topped off with some easy, juicy caramelized pears. The subtle sweetness of the pears plays so well with the tart cranberries, I love it. I first experienced that unique flavor combo over Christmas when my mom, sister, and I were making brunch for the family and we all helped throw together the pear cranberry compote. Divine! [Everyone loved it, so I knew the flavor combo was a winner.] This breakfast may be a bit time consuming, but it’s totally worth it. If rich and indulgent oatmeal is a thing, this would be it, because, duh, caramelized pears! Enjoy! :)

Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears |

one year ago: Mexican Cornbread Pot Pie
two years ago: Lasagna Soup
three years ago: Whole-Wheat Cornbread

Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears [adapted from S. John & Sandra Ross and Martha Stewart]
click to print


for oats

  • 2 cups water
  • 5 ounces fresh cranberries, washed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup pear cider [or milk, water, cranberry juice, apple juice/cider, etc.]
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

for pears

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Anjou pears, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Add water, cranberries, and sugar to a pot and bring to a boil. When berries begin to burst, add steel cut oats, pear cider, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cook for 25-30 minutes until oats are softened, stirring occasionally.

To prepare pears, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When bubbly, sprinkle in sugar gradually. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved and caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add pears, carefully flipping to fully coat in sugar-butter mixture. Cook until just soft, about 2-4 minutes [depending on how thin you slice them], then gently fold in cloves and cinnamon.

Top cranberry oats with caramelized pears to serve.

Time: 40 minutes.
Yield: 4-5 servings.

Linked up with: What’s Cookin’ Wednesday.