You’ll notice a lot of apple goodness on this blog. Counting this post, 28.5 percent of my posts, as of today, are apple-related. This is not a coincidence, my friends. In my opinion, apples are one of nature most impressive and hard-working creations. Despite being hybridized or GMO-ed into all sorts of pathetic excuses for fruit like some of the mealy mush you get at the grocery stores these days (I’m looking at you, Red Delicious), pick your apples carefully and you will be rewarded with a crisp bite, balanced sweetness, and a hit of tartness that you can keep on your counter or in your backpack or purse for many moons to enjoy.
I find quickbreads and muffins to be excellent vehicles for apples, exemplified by this made-over recipe for apple muffins from King Arthur Flour. I have one friend who does not like baked fruit anything. No blueberry muffins, no apple pie, no peach cobbler. I contemplated ending our friendship, but he has too many other good friend qualities, like helping me stuff and truss a whole leg of lamb a few years ago for Easter. So he stays, but he won’t enjoy these apple muffins, healthified or not. My other (former) friend who didn’t like mangoes, however? Done. History. There are some lines I will not cross. But I digress.
I believe in butter, sugar, and real eggs. That fake stuff really freaks me out in fact. Eggs in a milk carton? With who knows what else mixed in to ‘preserve’ and ‘stabilize’? No thanks. But sometimes it’s good to lighten things up a bit. With this guiding idea, I’ve tweaked King Arthur’s recipe to trim the fat, so to speak, although I can attest that the original muffins are also quite delicious. But around the holidays, when I’ve made this and eaten it with ice cream and whipped cream, and want to make this and these, well, it’s good to find a few places to cut back.
This recipe works for muffins or mini-loaves. Didn’t try it with a full-sized loaf pan, but I imagine it would if you adjust the baking time and bring the baking temp down to 350 or 375. If you overmix the buttermilk and it curdles, don’t worry. It will come back together during baking.
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature
1 cup (8 ounces) low-fat buttermilk or yogurt
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
Makes 18 muffins (or 9 muffins and 2 mini-loaves).
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease and flour your muffin tin and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate larger bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and applesauce and mix well, stopping once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. With a spatula or wooden spoon, gently mix in the buttermilk. If you overmix it will curdle. Stir in the dry ingredients and the oats and fold in the apples.
Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. If you use mini loaf pans, the baking time will be approximately 25 minutes total, depending on the size of your pans. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.