On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

Apple Muffins–with lots of extras

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Granny Smith Apples

Mr Fussy got growled at when he got up and started opening the curtains. This is my first time trying to get a good (by my standards) photo that’s got that moody dark look. No flash, just some clever (?) use of filtered light.

This post is about Apple muffins. Granny Smith apples, some sultanas, which I added at the last minute, cinnamon and walnuts. Lots of flavours and textures. And you know what? I’d pay for these. They were probably the best tasting muffins I’ve made, and certainly top those I’ve paid for in the past.

Just in case you think I wasted lots of time for one photo.

Shiney apples

Certainly taking photos of the apples showed up the bumps and bruises. Of course the apples might have toppled a couple of times as I moved them around, placed them in a pyramid and bumped the table. At least they didn’t complain.

Last night I was searching Google for an Apple Muffin recipe. I came across two recipes that I liked for different parts of them. And I thought how each would be improved if they just had a part of the other. So this is what I created.

I used this recipe from Martha Stewart for the muffin mixture, and this recipe from blogger Haniela for the apple mixture. And then I got all out of control and added a handful of sultanas, just because.

Apple Muffins

Ingredients

For the caramelised apples

  • 3 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • A handful of sultanas if desired

For the muffin batter

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt, room temperature
  • 113gm butter, melted
  • Raw sugar for sprinkling over the prepared muffins

Instructions

For the caramelised apples

  • Melt the butter in a fry pan over medium-low heat.
  • Add the brown sugar, stir in and press any lumps out.
  • Add the cinnamon, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until it is all combined.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the diced apples.
  • Stir the apples to coat in the caramelised mix.
  • Add the sultanas if you’re using them.
  • Occasionally stir the apples over the course of around 6 minutes. The apples should be tender but not mush. They will continue to cook when baking the muffins so don’t over do it.
  • Take the apple mixture off the heat and leave to cool while you make the muffin batter.

For the muffin batter

  • Melt the butter and leave aside to cool.
  • Heat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
  • Prepare a muffin tin either with liners, or a light spray of the muffin tin.
  • Add all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Add the chopped toasted walnuts to the dry ingredients.
  • To a medium bowl mix together the eggs, yoghurt and buttermilk.
  • Add the melted butter and stir into the other wet ingredients.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold until partially combined.
  • Add the caramelised apple mixture and continue to gently fold the ingredients. The batter may still be lumpy and the flour not completely incorporated which is OK. You don’t want to overwork the mixture which will result in a tough muffin texture.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tin.
  • Sprinkle the tops with raw sugar.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, or a few dry crumbs.
  • Turn the pan half way through to ensure even baking.
  • Leave the muffins in the tin for around 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

My Notes:

  • Here’s a few extra tips. If the butter is still too hot and you add this to your eggs, you risk cooking the eggs.
  • If the yoghurt or buttermilk is too cold then the melted butter will begin to solidify.
  • You don’t need to be perfect with peeling the apples.
  • You can use all buttermilk like the original recipe. I had some yoghurt that was close to the expiry date so I used this up in the recipe.
  • Since all the rising is from baking soda you need to get the muffins into the oven as soon as you can. So don’t dither. Make sure the oven is at temperature before adding the wet and dry ingredients, and make sure your muffin tin is prepared before beginning.

Ingredients

My lemon had been sitting around for some weeks but it was really juicy. I absolutely loved making the caramelised apples. Each time I added another ingredient the aroma changed. Sadly for Mr Fussy I added the cinnamon just as he was entering the kitchen. I thought the aroma was magnificent. He tells me he knew at that point he wasn’t going to be having any of these muffins.

Then I added the lemon zest and the kitchen was filled with the intense smell of lemon. It was such fun. I loved making the caramelised apple mixture, even though it made these muffins a bit more work for a typical throw it all together in a jiffy, muffin.

Cinnamon Apples

I’m hoping from the photo you can see the consistency of the caramelised apples as the cooked. They still hold their shape but have softened. Don’t over cook them or you’ll end up with apple sauce. Apple sauce will taste delicious but it wont give you a nice bite of apple in the muffins.

Muffin liners and batter

Several people have asked how I make these tulip muffin liners. I don’t make them. Does that make me lazy? I never dreamt of making them. I’ve bought mine from Stevens but have found online that some supermarkets stock them. I’d never seen them at the supermarket before, but this week I found them on the very bottom shelf tucked away. They came in a cylinder of both white and brown tulip papers. Since they were about $3.00 cheaper, and I’d never seen them before, I bought them. If you look at that photo you may be able to spot the ONE liner I used from the supermarket pack. I have to say this is one of those times you get what you pay for. Even though there was nothing wrong with them per se, I’d rather spend a few more dollars at Stevens. Can you see that ONE liner that isn’t quite like the others?

The photo of the muffin mixture shows there’s still a little bit of flour that’s not fully incorporated. This is absolutely ok.

Toasted Walnuts

Have you toasted nuts before? I left these in the oven while it was heating up. I could smell them toasting and then gave the pan a bit of a Jamie Oliver flick so that the walnuts were tossed about. I put them back in for another minute of two. Don’t put them under the grill, just leave them on the oven rack in the middle or lower 1/3 of the oven. Once they were toasted I then chopped them up.

Baking muffins

Yum. For once it was me wishing I could take photos quicker so that I could sample a muffin.

Fresh Apple Cinnamon Walnut Sultana Muffins

I loved seeing the chunks of apple and the walnut pieces peeking through the batter along with the sultanas. These smelt so great. And I hadn’t had breakfast, and it was now close to midday. No wonder my tummy was rumbling.

Muffin texture

In case it wasn’t clear in my earlier writing, I really enjoyed these muffins, I had two. As I greedily ate the first one I was hoping that I’d get a mouthful with a bit of apple, walnut and sultana. I didn’t. But I wasn’t really disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed these muffins. The flavour combinations, the smell, the light texture, they were all spot on.

Apple Muffins

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2 thoughts on “Apple Muffins–with lots of extras

  1. Why can I never get it into my head that muffins are not “health” food? I guess many years ago we generally made them with bran and that has stuck. These look great, I can smell and taste them, slightly warm with a puddle of melted butter in the middle of each half!

    • Hi Alison. I was thinking that replacing some standard flour for wholewheat flour would probably be fine. But the brown sugar, well I wouldn’t want to substitute that, or omit it. But then I love caramel. Not that you get any real gooey sticky caramel bits. You can be sure I scraped the pan clean of all residual caramel goodness into the batter. So far I’ve never added any butter to the muffins when having morning tea. I’ll go shine up my halo a little now 😉

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