Cream together butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a mixer using the paddle attachment.
While that is mixing, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a standard muffin tin with paper liners for 12 muffins. Scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice to make sure all the sugar gets incorporated into the butter.
Add the egg and mix it in fully.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine all-purpose flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. You can sift it if you want, but I like to just give it a nice fluff with a fork to disperse the ingredients in the flour and break up any big chunks.
Now, slowly mix the flour into the butter/sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. So add about a third of the flour mixture - beat well - half the buttermilk - beat well - a third of the flour mixture - beat well - the rest of the buttermilk - beat well - the rest of the flour - beat well. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure that everything gets mixed in well.
Now, fold in the orange zest, then ½ cup of pecans and ½ cup of cranberries.
Scoop batter into the muffin tin - I like to use a ¼ or ⅓ cup measure to try to maintain consistency in the size of the muffins. Ideally, you want to fill them about ⅔ of the way full.
Now is the time to use the reserved pecans and cranberries. Sprinkle a little of each onto each of the muffins, then bake for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, crack open the oven door and sprinkle the muffins with some sanding sugar - I like to use large cane sugar crystals or gold sanding sugar but you can use whatever you have.
Finish baking for 10 - 12 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the muffins sit in the pan for about 5 minutes to cool, then remove them and serve or let them cool on a rack. Eat them while they are still warm, but let them cool to room temperature for storage. Once they reach room temperature, they can be stored in an air-tight container or plastic bag.