Tag Archives: dried cranberries

Chili Peanuts & Dried Cranberries

photo 1-69

This sweet and spicy snack is the perfect treat for a holiday buffet table.  It is inspired by a Culinary Institute of America.  The original recipe uses dried cherries but having none on hand and on a quest to empty my pantry shelves, I used dried cranberries.  Their sweet-tart flavor contrasts nicely with the crunchiness of the peanuts and the heat of the spices.  If you think the mixture is going to be too spicy use half as much chile powder and cayenne pepper.  A handful of these nuts is the perfect accompaniment to a glass of mulled wine but I dare you to stop with one serving.  They are that addictive!


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound unsalted peanuts

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup dried cranberries

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  • Melt the butter in a small saute pan.
  • Add the peanuts and toss well to coat.
  • Place the peanuts on a rimmed baking sheet and occasionally shaking the pan, toast in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the chili powder, salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
  • When the nuts are toasted, move them to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle them with the spice mixture. Toss well to combine.
  • Add the dried cranberries and stir well.
  • All the nuts to cool completely then store them in an airtight container for up to one week.

Yields: 1 pound of nuts


Morning Glory Muffins


Morning Glory muffins will always take me back to my childhood.  Growing up, the local bakery produced these giant muffins filled with lots of flavors and textures–from carrots and coconut to raisins and nuts or even fresh fruit, these were my favorite bakery treat.  In hindsight they were probably a lot less healthy than I thought they were at the time.  Somewhere along the line these muffins seemed to drop off of bakery menus in favor of new trends but I still love them.

This recipe is an adaptation of one from King Arthur Flour and is a formula rather than an exact recipe.  If you don’t like dried cranberries you can substitute whatever dried fruits you prefer.  The pecans can be omitted entirely or switched with almonds, walnuts, or additional sunflower seeds.  Be creative; you won’t be disappointed with the results.  As my son says, these muffins are yummy in the tummy!


1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups peeled and grated carrots

1 pear, peeled, cored, and grated

1/2 cup sweetened coconut

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup wheat germ

3 large eggs

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 orange juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 375.  Line a muffin tine with papers and coat the papers with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
  • Place the dried cranberries in a small bowl and cover them with hot water; set aside to soak.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir in the carrots, pear, coconut, nuts, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ.
  • In a separate bowl beat together the eggs, oil, orange juice, and vanilla.
  • Add the wet mixture into the flour mixture and stir until evenly moistened.
  • Drain the cranberries and fold into the batter.
  • Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin.  The cups will be very full.
  • Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.  Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Turn them out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Yields:  1 dozen muffins

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