Hearty Vegan Apple-Cranberry Muffins

November 27, 2011

Today I want to tell you a story about some muffins.

Any Torontonian worth their salt knows that the city’s best muffins—and not just vegan muffins, but muffins—are to be found at Urban Herbivore. If you’ve never seen one of their muffins before, I’ve actually blogged about them twice before, in these two age-old posts, but if you’re also too lazy to click on hyperlinks, I’ll just tell you that Urban Herbivore muffins are behemoths, with muffin tops so gargantuan that the whole thing looks posed to topple over at any moment. They’re also very hearty and dense, making them a meal in themselves and then some. Simply put, I’ve never had a muffin like an Urban Herbivore muffin, whether from another café or from my own kitchen.

So you can imagine my excitement when I got wind that my friend Lisa had come up with an at-home Urban Herbivore-style muffin recipe a while ago, before I started following her lovely blog. Not long after I discovered this, I was hard at work in my kitchen, eager to make some Urban Herbivore magic of my own. But that magic didn’t happen. In fact, my first pass at this recipe was a near disaster. Granted, this was surely my own fault, as I made a few recipe substitutions to better suit my pantry availability, and these substitutions seemed to set everything else off balance, making for muffins that came out tasting gritty and grainy, and that just barely held together at all. And though these weren’t a total failure (I did, after all, end up eating them all), they were nothing to share or be proud of, and certainly no rival to Urban Herbivore’s gold standard.

So a week or two later I returned to the kitchen, and tried modifying the recipe slightly to see if I could get it to work. I cut back some on both the flour and the fruit, and remembered to use coconut oil as I originally intended to, and that seemed to do the trick: lovely, hearty muffins, tasty from top to bottom! And though these are still no match for Urban Herbivore’s muffins (just look at those measly muffin tops, for example), they’re still a good start, and definitely a recipe I will be returning to and honing further. But these are plenty enjoyable as is, and now you can enjoy them too!

Hearty Apple-Cranberry Muffins (makes 12 muffins)
modified from Lisa’s “Dax’s Blueberry Birthday Muffins”


  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 3 flax eggs (3 tbsp flaxseed meal + 9 tbsp warm water)
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Start by making your flax eggs. You can simply mix together the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for a few minutes, or if you’re feeling a little less lazy, you can briefly heat the mixture over the stovetop until it gets goopy and egg-like in texture.
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients: the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and sugar.
  4. Mix together the wet ingredients: the coconut oil (you may have to heat this up first to melt it into a liquid), lemon juice, and flax eggs.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until just mixed.
  6. Fold in the apples and dried cranberries.
  7. Oil a muffin tin, and then fill with batter.
  8. Put the muffins in the oven and then lower the temperature to 410°F. Bake for 20 to 25 muffins, until the muffins look nice and brown on the outside, and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out dry.

Happy eating!

Until we eat again,


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