Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

I’ve become so obsessed with collecting apple and pumpkin desserts that I’m getting overwhelmed. I don’t know where to start, so I decided to give up (temporarily) and get something that I already love on the table. This simple and delicious apple coffee cake is one of my favorites for the season (along with this apple-cranberry crisp, and, of course Grandmama’s Pumpkin Pie). It has even made two appearances on these pages (once as an Archive Recipe).

As quick and easy as that cake is, however, I wanted something with even more instant gratification on a weekend morning. I also wanted to make a test of the theory that batters for coffee cakes, quick bread loaves, and muffins are pretty much interchangeable and require only modifications in baking times, temperatures and containers. I made up the batter for the cake and scooped it into muffin cups. I also made the cinnamon-laced topping and distributed it over the individual cups of batter.

As a test of the coffee cake into muffins theory, this was very successful. I baked my muffins at a higher temperature (and for a shorter time), and just waited until they were cool enough to handle to eat them. They were delicious! At least as good as the coffee cake and on the table a little faster.

I used a fairly large apple to make these, which resulted in a really moist muffin, but not a mushy one. The cinnamon topping gets a little crisp. The muffins, therefore, are best shortly after they are baked, but they are really still quite delicious even after the topping softens upon sitting.

And just a word more about that topping: it’s the only thing that gave me even the slightest bit of trouble compared to the coffee cake version of this baked breakfast treat. When I baked it on the muffin tops, some of it oozed over onto the muffin pan and stuck. This made it necessary to use a knife to pry the muffin tops off of the baking pan, but didn’t cause damage to the muffins themselves. I was quite thrilled about that, since I never would have forgiven myself for ruining such moist, delicious, apple-y, cinnamon-y goodness.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter cut into small pieces
For the Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
l large apple, peeled and diced

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  To make the streusel topping, combine the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl.  Whisk together to combine.  Add the cold butter pieces and work into the flour mixture with a fork or your hands until the butter is evenly distributed in small, crumbly pieces.  Set aside.
2. Combine 1 cup flour, whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and salt in a medium-size bowl.  Whisk or sift to combine.  Set aside. 

3.  In another medium-size bowl beat the egg with a whisk.  Whisk in the melted butter.  Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract. 

4.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until almost combined, but a few dry spots remain.  Stir in the apple.

5.  Grease the cups of a 12-cup muffin pan or spray them with cooking spray.  Scoop the batter into 9 of the muffin cups.  Evenly distribute the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the batter.

6.  Bake at 400 F for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden pick (or other cake-tester) inserted in the center of a muffin comes out free of wet batter.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack 10 minutes.  Carefully remove the muffins from the pan. (The topping may have oozed over the muffin pan, causing the tops to stick. You can pry it away with a knife. Let stand until cool enough to handle. These are best served warm, but leftovers can be kept in an airtight container for a few days. They’re still delicious.

Makes 9 muffins.

Other recipes like this one: Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Apple Quick Bread

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