Apple Muffins

I love apple pie, but unless it’s an extra special occasion, I’m adverse to chilling and rolling out dough for a pie crust.  Apple Muffins are a quick and easy way to satisfy your apple pie craving with less effort and all of the benefits.  These tender muffins are stuffed with baked apples, cinnamon, and other apple pie spices, and the muffin top is slightly crunchy due to the caramelized brown sugar.  If you split a muffin in half and top it with vanilla bean ice cream (Häagen-Dazs makes a good one), you have your own delicious version of apple pie a la mode.

img_68071

A cross section view of the muffin with baked apple chunks bursting out.
img_68151

Apple Muffins

Makes 12 muffins
(from King Arthur Flour)
My notes are in [  ] below.

Ingredients

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (5 5/8 ounces)brown sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk; or 1 cup plain (not Greek-style) yogurt; or 3/4 cup (6 ounces) Greek-style yogurt + 1/4 cup (2 ounces) milk [I used King Arthur Flour Dried Buttermilk Powder]
2 cup (8 1/2 ounces) All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon [I used Penzey’s Baking Spice which is a combination of cinnamon, anise, allspice, mace and cardamom]
2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) peeled, cored, and chopped apples; about 2 large apples, about 3/4 pound whole apples

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with papers and lightly grease the insides of the papers.
  3. Mix together the butter, granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, beating until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and mix well, stopping once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  5. Gently mix in the buttermilk or yogurt.
  6. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Then mix into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Do not overmix to keep the muffins tender.
  7. Fold in the chopped apples.
  8. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar on top.
  9. Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  10. Remove the muffins from the oven, cool them for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn them out onto a rack to finish cooling completely.

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Because it’s been so hot this summer, my bananas stand very little chance of remaining in an “acceptable” range of yellow-green.  If you too are plagued by overripe bananas combined with a strong chocolate craving, bake up a batch of double chocolate banana bread.  The recipe is on a previous post, but instead of making a loaf, you can make muffins.  I like making mini muffins because they’re cute and perfectly bite sized.  The only changes to the recipe that you’ll need to make are to:

  • use mini or regular sized muffin liners, filled about 2/3 full with batter
  • bake for 15-20 minutes for mini muffins and 20-25 minutes for full sized muffins (don’t overbake or they’ll be dry)

IMG_6502[1].JPG

Zuchinni Muffins (with a cinnamon chocolate twist)

My garden is producing zucchini like mad, so next up in the zucchini baking extravaganza are Zucchini Muffins (with a cinnamon chocolate twist).  These beauties are stuffed full of shredded zucchini (to keep the muffins moist and tender), cinnamon chips, and chocolate chips (to satisfy that sweet tooth) which makes them kind of healthy, kind of not muffins, but absolutely delicious.

IMG_6090

Zucchini Muffins (with a cinnamon chocolate twist)

Makes 27 full sized muffins
(Adapted from King Arthur Fl0ur)

Ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups grated or finely chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped pecans (the original recipe used walnuts)
1/2 cup mini cinnamon chips (optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (you can increase the amount of chocolate chips if you’re not using cinnamon chips)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Line muffin tin(s) with papers, or grease each cup. Since this recipe makes 24 to 27 muffins, you’ll use at least two tins; or bake as many as you want, and refrigerate the remaining batter, to use up to 4 days later.  These also make great mini muffins.
  3. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute at high speed.
  4. In a separate medium size bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until well combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and mix together until the flour has been incorporated.  Do no overmix.  You can even finish mixing in the flour using a spatula to ensure that the batter is not overmixed.
  6. Stir in the zucchini, nuts, cinnamon, chips, and chocolate chips.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.  A muffin scoop works well to portion out the batter.
  8. Bake full sized muffins for 25 to 27 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into a muffin comes out clean.  Bake mini muffins for 13 to 15 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.
  9. Remove the muffins from the oven, and after a minute or so gently tilt them in the pans, so their bottoms don’t become soggy. As soon as you can handle the muffins, transfer them to a rack to cool.

Banana Pecan Buttermilk Muffins

People warned me that when I moved to “the Valley” from downtown LA, the weather would be much warmer, but I was not quite prepared for just how quickly my bananas would ripen in the heat.  Until I better calibrate my banana eating to the speed of banana ripening, I’ll be baking up all sorts of banana related goods.  These Banana Pecan Buttermilk Muffins are super tender and have an airy snack cake-like texture while the brown sugar pecan topping provides a crunchy contrast. On the day that they’re baked, the muffins have a mild banana flavor which intensifies overnight.
Banana Pecan Buttermilk Muffins- Penzeys2

Banana Pecan Buttermilk Muffins

(Adapted from Penzey’s)
Makes 16 muffins

Ingredients

Muffin

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana (2 large)
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

Topping

3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 teaspoons of granulated white sugar

Directions

Muffins

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners.  You’ll only need 16 paper liners.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and set the bowl aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter-sugar mixture, beating well after each addition.
  6. Beat in the banana and vanilla.
  7. Mix in the buttermilk.
  8. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, starting off by mixing at low speed.  Mix until just combined (don’t over mix).
  9. Spoon/scoop the batter into the muffin liners (or grease and flour the muffin tins if you’re not using liners).

Topping

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the topping ingredients (cinnamon, brown sugar, white sugar, and pecans) and sprinkle on the muffin tops before baking.
  2. Bake the muffins at 350° for 18-20 minutes.

Chocolate Almond Muffins

During the past three weeks, I’ve been living in a thick fog of preparing to move, moving, and unpacking.  In the midst of it all, I’ve been eagerly eyeing my new stove/oven, reading the thick manual (it’s so fancy that it has a Sabbath mode), and researching recipes to try.  I used an electric stove/oven for the past four years, so there will be a bit of a learning curve as I get used to my new high powered gas oven.  Luckily I’ve found some recipes that are very forgiving and taste fantastic, even if things are slightly overbaked.  These Chocolate Almond Muffins were the first recipe I tried in the new oven.  I was especially drawn to the recipe because of the use of copious amounts of almond paste and the promise of deep, dark chocolate.   I was not disappointed as the muffins were delicious with a tender, delicate texture and a floral almond flavor that was well balanced by the deep chocolate.  Because the muffins aren’t too sweet, they’d be perfect for breakfast too.  The one caveat is that the list of ingredients can be a bit daunting for baking pantries that aren’t well stocked.  Some “specialty” ingredients that I had to add to my pantry for this recipe were a large tub of almond paste (the tube won’t be enough), brown rice flour, and black cocoa.

As you can see below, the muffin tops don’t rise very much, but they spread out to create slightly crispy, crackly edges.
Chocolate almond muffins- huckleberry2

Chocolate Almond Muffins

(from Huckleberry: Stories, Secretes, and Recipes from Our Kitchen)
Makes 16 muffins
My notes are in [  ] below.

Ingredients

3/4 cup (200 g) almond paste
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup (30 g) Dutch process cocoa powder [I wanted to really amp up the chocolate flavor so I used 20g regular Dutch process cocoa powder and 10g Black cocoa]
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (240 g) unsalted, cubed butter, at room temperature
6 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (130 g) all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups (260 g) coarsely chopped dark chocolate, 60-70% cacao
Powdered sugar for topping (optional)

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C.
  2. Line two 12-cup muffin pants with 16 paper liners, spacing them evenly between the two pants.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste, granulated sugar, salt, and cocoa powder on medium speed until the mixture looks and feels sandy.  Be sure all the almond paste is broken up into a fine meal with no clumps. [Making sure the almond paste is not lumpy is really important, otherwise your muffins will bake up with with lumps of almond paste that will leave your tasters wondering, “what is that?” in a bad way].
  4. Add the butter and beat for 1 to 2 minutes on medium.
  5. Incorporate the eggs, two at a time, beating well after each addition. [After mixing in the eggs, I also scraped down the bowl.]
  6. Add the vanilla, then pause mixing.
  7. Add both flours, the baking powder, and chopped chocolate.
  8. Mix on low speed, just until incorporate; then fold by hand to be sure it’s properly, but gently, incorporated.
  9. Fill the muffin cups with batter, all the way to the top, then bake (the muffins to do not rise much).  If both pans won’t fit on the center rack, just bake in batches until the muffins just barely spring back when pressed, 20 to 22 minutes.
  10. [Use skewers to loosen the edges of the muffin tops from the pan.]  Allow to cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar.