I love cranberry sauce, but Uncle Pasto, who is a supertaster, basically can’t eat more than a bite of it before declaring it “too sour”. He likes cranberry bread, though. So when I brought home two cups of the family cranberry sauce, I knew I’d have to do something with it, rather than just serve it plain.

The cranberry sauce we make is one that came up years ago in the San Diego Union-Tribune: Chef Katie Sutton’s Spicy Cranberry-Pear Relish. It’s great — a sweet and savory combination. I took the leftovers we had and made it into these:

Cranberry-Pear Muffins

  • 2 c. chunky cranberry sauce, preferably homemade, drained of liquid
  • 2 1/4 c. white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 c. white flour
  • 1/4 c. mesquite flour (or just use more whole-wheat flour)
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch each of cloves and salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 1 1/2 c. milk

Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Set the cranberry sauce in a strainer to drain the juices away. While the sauce is draining, make the batter.

Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Mix to combine. Beat the eggs and add them to the bowl along with the milk and canola oil. Mix to combine, then add the drained cranberry sauce, and mix again. The batter should come together very quickly.

Scoop the batter into greased muffin tins or muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake about 20 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes about 20 muffins.

These are pretty good on their own, but can be made decadent with the addition of a little cream-cheese icing. For a quick and easy cream-cheese icing, whip cream cheese in a mixer with maple syrup and powdered sugar to taste. Start with just a little maple syrup, add more as needed, and when you hit the consistency you like, use powdered sugar instead so that the icing doesn’t become too thin.