While baking these beauties, I pondered where do you draw the line between a muffin and a cupcake?  While a muffin might be considered healthier than a cupcake, once you start adding ingredients such as chocolate and streusel-like toppings or glazes it starts to resemble a cupcake.  And, when you use cupcake liners for muffins (ahem) then the muffin doesn’t know what it wants to be!  Whatever the case, these are good.

According to Food Timeline, “Muffin…a term connected with moufflet, an old French word applied to bread, meaning soft. The word muffin first appeared in print in the early 18th century, and recipes began to be published in the middle of the 18th century. Muffins were most popular during the 19th century, when muffin men traversed the town streets at teatime, ringing their bells.”
 

Nutritional Information Amount per serving as per Cooking Light
Calories: 202
Fat: 7.4g
Saturated fat: 0.7g
Monounsaturated fat: 4.1g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.2g
Protein: 3.7g
Carbohydrate: 31.8g
Fiber: 2.4g
Cholesterol: 20mg
Iron: 1.2mg
Sodium: 255mg
Calcium: 36mg

Makes 18 muffins 
adapted from Cooking Light

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar (or packed brown sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans, divided
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (demerara sugar)

Preheat oven to 375°.  Combine flours and next 6 dry ingredients in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine yogurt, honey, oil, ginger, vanilla and eggs in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined. Fold in cranberries, and toasted pecans.

Spoon batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle tops with remaining 1/4 cup pecans and turbinado sugar. Bake muffins at 375° for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pans.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  The kitchen was delicately scented with the aromas of the spices as the muffins baked.  Bliss!