Recipe: Cranberry-buckwheat muffins (low sugar, low fat, vegan option)



I was in the mood for something made with buckwheat, and while racking my brain for flavors that would go well with it, I hit upon cranberries.

I almost always have a bag or two of whole, unsweetened cranberries in my freezer – I tend to buy several pounds in autumn when they are cheap and toss them in the freezer. (Unlike other berries, you can freeze them directly in a bag because they won’t stick together.)

Since the cranberries are unsweetened, their function in this recipe is more akin to lemon peel than to raisins or another sweet fruit.  Chop them finely so you don’t end up with big sour bites that are too much for your tongue to handle. By keeping them small, you end up with a lovely flavor that is the taste equivalent of tiny bursts of sunshine.

In the United States, buckwheat flour is a popular ingredient in pancakes and often available in the baking section of supermarkets. If you can’t find it, you can make it by running buckwheat groats through a coffee grinder or blender until they are nice and powdery.


  • measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • mixing spoon or electric mixer
  • muffin tin with 12 2½-inch cups
  • cooling rack


  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (use white whole-wheat flour if available)
  • ⅓ cup fresh or frozen unsweetened whole cranberries
  • ¼ cup sugar or xylitol
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened pear sauce (or applesauce if you can’t find pear)
  • ½ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt or plain soy yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten OR 4 teaspoons baking powder with 6 Tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons olive or canola oil (may substitute some or all with equal amount of pear sauce)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla or spiced rum (optional)


  1. Chop the cranberries finely.

    Chop the cranberries as finely as you can. I included two whole cranberries in the photograph so you could get an idea of size of the chopped pieces, but I don’t recommend putting whole cranberries in the muffins.
  2. Mix wet ingredients (yogurt, applesauce, oil, vanilla extract, and eggs or water/baking powder mixture) together.
  3. Mix together flours, sweetener, baking soda, baking powder, cloves and salt (optional). Then stir in the cranberry pieces.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Batter should be somewhat lumpy.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling each cup about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until tops are firm and inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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