Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crisper Cleanout: Apple Muffins

I admit it -- I've been letting produce pile up in the crisper. Oh sure, if it gets soggy and/or brown, I'll toss it, but if it has some life left in it, I let it sit, waiting for the right day, right moment, right recipe. But no more. This week, I am using up all of the odds and ends that have been in the fridge drawer for too long. First up: Fuji apples. Shamefully, I've had about 10 small apples lingering around SINCE THE SECOND WEEKEND OF MARCH. Because that's when I bought them at the Hastings Indoor Market. They were starting to look a little shriveled, so I pulled them out on Sunday and made apple muffins. After all, who doesn't bake when it's 86 degrees out? After much deliberation, I chose Ellie Krieger's recipe, which uses apple sauce and raw apples. Since I had so many apples, I actually made my own sauce (which actually was more of a mash, since Fuji's don't break down easily). Making apple sauce is simple, and it does not take much effort (of course, turning on the oven and the stove on a warm day has it's own challenges). But the nut topping is what makes these a standout. Do not omit! Despite slaving over a hot stove/oven and dirtying all of my mixing bowls plus assorted other implements, the end result was worth it. And getting to enjoy breakfast al fresco on my newly madeover terrace made it that much better.
Double Apple Muffins
Inspired by Ellie Krieger's Apple Muffin Recipe
Ingredients 5-6 C. of apples, chopped ½ C. Milk 1 T. Lemon juice ½ C. water ½ t. Cinnamon 2 T. Brown sugar 1/2 t. Cinnamon ¼ C. Pecans, chopped 2 C. White whole wheat flour 2 T. Corn starch 1 t. Baking soda ½ t. Salt ½ t. Cinnamon ¼ t. Nutmeg ½ C. Brown sugar ¼ C. Vegetable oil 2 Eggs 1 t. Vanilla
Method Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Simmer over medium high heat about two-thirds of the chopped apples with a quarter cup of water and a dash of cinnamon, reserving one-third of the raw apples. In the meantime, pour half a cup of milk into a liquid measuring cup. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice and set aside. Next, mix the next three ingredients (brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts) in a small bowl, set aside. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg) and whisk to insure they are well incorporated. In your largest bowl, whisk together the oil and remaining half cup of brown sugar. By now, your apples on the stove should be tender and starting to break down into a sauce (if not breaking down, give it a whirl in the blender). Add apple sauce/mash to large bowl and whisk to cool slightly. Once close to room temperature, add eggs one at a time, and then add vanilla. Add one third of the dry ingredients to the large bowl, mix until just combined. Follow with half of the milk mixture, and then repeat dry-milk-dry until everything is in the bowl. Fold in the remaining raw apples. Scoop the batter into a prepared muffin tin. Top with the sugar-cinnamon-nut mixture. Bake for approximately 20 minutes; allow them to cool before removing from pan.

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