Healthy Holidays: Cranberry “Corn Bread” Muffins

How are your holiday plans coming along? It’s Tuesday of Thanksgiving week and I am still experimenting in the kitchen and finalizing my menu.

Yesterday I made the cranberry sauce, which is now happily chilling in the refrigerator. I also made a test batch of healthy Cranberry “Corn Bread” Muffins, which is a spin on my pound cake recipe. Reason being, after making the pound cake a few times and some feedback from a few recipe testers, I came to the conclusion it had a similar crumb and texture to corn bread. A little less sweetener, throw in some cranberries, bake in square muffin tins and voilà low-carb, gluten-free, dairy-free Cranberry Corn Bread Muffins. I am certain these will go perfect with our Thanksgiving feast.

Last year I made my friend Peggy’s rosemary onion dinner rolls and while everyone enjoyed them, this year I wanted to switch it up. So as the chef, I made an executive decision to go with a slightly tart and slightly sweet corn bread muffin instead of a savory dinner roll. And who knows, I might make a batch without the cranberries as well.

One quick note before we get to the recipe…the key to this recipe is the shortening. While butter will work, and the result is still tasty, the shortening is what gives it the crumb we are looking for. Now, when it comes to shortening, please, please, please do not use Crisco. It is hydrogenated (code word for trans fats), which means the fat has been damaged, making it unhealthy for our body. Look for non-hydrogenated shortening, made from palm oil. The brand I use can be purchased at your local natural foods co-op, Whole Foods and I even spotted it at our conventional grocery store in the organic section.

Cranberry “Corn Bread” Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 10 Muffins

Serving Size: 1 Muffin

Cranberry “Corn Bread” Muffins



  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. With coconut oil, grease the bottom and sides of 10 muffin tins.
  2. In medium bowl, sift together almond flour, coconut flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In smal bowl, with electric mixer on medium, cream shortening and sweetener until fluffy. About 5 minutes.
  4. To shortening add egg and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing well after each.
  5. With mixer on low, add half the flour mixture and half the almond milk, mix, then add remaining and mix again.
  6. Fold in cranberries.
  7. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin tins and bake 20-22 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes then remove muffins from pan and continue cooling.


This recipe has been tested with my preferred ingredients. Please consider, if I recommend a substitution, it will be included as a note in the recipe.

Per Serving 102 calories, 9 g fat, 4 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g NET CARBS, 7 g pro (using Swerve)

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  1. me1anie says

    Hi Vanessa,
    What determines when you choose to use Erythritol versus Xylitol in your baking?  I have Swerve on hand and actually just ordered some Xylitol to make your almond butter cookies :)

    • HealthyLivingHowTo says

      @me1anie For the most part, I use erythritol combined with stevia. However, I have been getting more and more feedback from readers asking for recipes that use xylitol. I suppose it is because it is easier to find in natural food stores (as opposed to purchasing online). In my opinion, erythritol & xylitol are really interchangeable in recipes, however not in the same quantities. Remember xylitol measures cup for cup like sugar and erythritol is 70% sweet as sugar. It all comes down to your personal preference in the end. Hope you like the almond butter choc. chip cookies!

      • me1anie says

         Thank you, I will!  I have made quite a few things with Swerve but I do notice that “cooling effect”, so looking forward to trying Xylitol.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving — your dinner is going to be fantastic!

        • HealthyLivingHowTo says

          @me1anie I am glad I am not the only one who thought Swerve still had a “cooling” effect. I see a lot of bloggers liking this product, and it is a great quality product, but in my experience, it still needs to be combined with stevia to lessen/eliminate the cooling taste. My goal with baking healthy is that the final product tastes good whether you are a low-carber or not. Same to you!

          • Chris says

            I know you don’t have xylitol in this recipe, Vanessa, but Me1Annie had made reference to using it in the future, so I just wanted her and any other of your readers to be aware. I love your site and I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)

    • Cheryl says

      Hi Vanessa, I was wondering if you could use lard instead of the shortening. Here in Canada Maple Leaf shortening has no trans fats.

  2. Jan says


    This recipe looks so good. I wanted to try it. I have two questions though. (1) I don’t use stevia or agave syrup. I use maple syrup or honey to sweeten and occassionally raw sugar when I want to treat myself. (2) I have never used Erythritol or Xylitol either. As a senior citizen, I have to spend my money wisely. Is this ingredient necessary?



    • HealthyLivingHowTo says

      Health experts seem to agree that fructose and trans-fats are the two evils when it comes to health and weight management. Most would agree, HFCS is “bad”. It has been successfully vilified, because of its “fructose” content, which is anywhere between 42% to 55% fructose and 45%-58% glucose.

      While the following sugars may be coined “natural” they too derive 50% of their energy from fructose (and 50% from glucose):

      Maple Syrup
      Coconut Palm Sugar
      Turbinado Sugar
      Date Sugar

      The one exception is Agave Syrup which is 75%-90% fructose.

      So the question becomes, does the body metabolize a natural sugar different than a processed sugar when the sugar content is identical? Based on my research, the answer is NO, which is why I choose to use the highest quality stevia, erythritol and xylitol I can source. What you choose to use is up to you.

      P.S. Regular, grocery store bought sugar, is also 50% fructose and 50% glucose, although it is “processed”.

  3. Kristalyn says

    Hi Vanessa! These look fabulous! Would you have any recommendations on what I could try for an egg substitute? Happy Thanksgiving!!

  4. says

    Hi Vanessa,

    I just made these muffins using a regular round 12-muffin pan. They all basically fell apart though when I was trying to remove them from the pan. Do the square muffin pans make the difference? They taste wonderful, by the way.

    I was also wondering if you (or anyone) has tried to double the recipe? It’s a lot of work to just make 10 small muffins! (and I only got 9 myself with the round muffin pan).


      • says

        I made them exactly as directed – no substitutions. I used 1/4 cup of organic white sugar. Mine are extremely delicate and fall apart easily. I live in Denver though so maybe the altitude has something to do with it – and also, I’m not a baker so maybe it’s just me :)

  5. Maria Isais says

    These came so yummy I’m baking another batch this morning. They didn’t rise too much and I think today I’m going to use room temperature eggs and see if that helps. Thanks Vanessa.

  6. Dominique says

    I made these for thanksgiving and the taste was really great. Luckily I lined them with muffin liners, or I would have experienced them falling apart like a previous poster. As well, they were pretty small (I made 10 muffins from a 12 round muffin pan). Your muffins appear a lot larger than what I made. Did you double the recipe? Every time I cook with almond flour, I end up with these tiny goodies that are really calorie dense. For thanksgiving, I’m okay with this- but for the rest of the year, the small amount I get from an almond flour treat does not compensate for the calories.


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