August 20

Apple Muffins

apple muffinsMany of us can commiserate on the fact that our metabolisms have decreased significantly since our youth. Whether it’s because we’ve fallen out of shape, or just age catching up with us, all that junk we ate as kids makes us add pounds just by looking at it now. What was your favorite junk growing up? Mine was almond poppyseed muffins from Costco. Oh, how I could have hoovered two of those in one sitting. I never did, but one was still more than enough to satisfy that craving. Especially if you nuked it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and slathered on some sweet cream butter. In the words of Homer Simpson ::drool::; in the better words of Lisa Simpson, “Transcendent!” Perhaps even “groin-grabbingly transcendent.” As I went through college and didn’t have much access to Costco, I sort of forgot about them. But when I moved home after graduating, you better believe our fridge was stocked with them and the blueberry ones. Then I started realizing that something so good, and so huge, couldn’t be good for me in any way, shape, or form. Let’s forget about the horrible constipation it caused. 660-some calories, 70 grams of carbs, 36 grams of fat, 40 grams of sugar, and only 2 grams of fiber. Now, I’m not one to judge someone for what they put in their body – good or bad – but a Quarter Pounder or Big Mac from McDonald’s, a Whopper from Burger King, or a Son of Baconator from Wendy’s is healthier than a Costco bakery muffin. Maybe it’s better quality, but not better for you. Just some food for thought…

Point is, I love muffins. I love them more than cake and cupcakes. Muffins don’t have to be super sweet, slathered in 20″ of frosting, and can include ingredients that have health benefits. 99.9% of cupcakes and cake are everything muffins are not. That’s opinion, not fact. When I walk through the bakery of any grocery store – chain or local – I drool over the pastries and the muffins. But I never buy them. Because I know none of them are truly healthy. They probably all use bleached white flour, lots of sugar, and other crappy filler type stuff that makes it incredibly cheap to pump out dozens for consumers to buy and enjoy. I can think of one grocery store bakery out here where that isn’t the case, but, you’re also paying top dollar for better quality ingredients, and let’s be frank, I can make them all myself. Anyone can. Muffins are not difficult.

So I come bearing a recipe that I ran across at midnight while browsing Pinterest in bed on my Kindle Fire. I told myself I got 10 minutes in the food & drink section before I needed to shut off the internet and continue reading my new book. In those 10 minutes (okay, okay, more like 15), a post about some kind of muffin popped up. I don’t even remember what it was. Cinnamon. Banana. Blackberry? I don’t even know. But because the Pinterest app does not like to play well with my Kindle, I had to navigate to the webpage to see the recipe. The recipe said it was adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Since I like to pin the original recipe on the original blog as much as possible, I followed the link to Sally’s and was met with a completely different recipe. Aside from the fact that they were both muffins, what the first blog was making was not Sally’s apple muffins. Which, lemme tell you, Sally’s muffins sounded far more tantalizing than the initial blogger’s muffins… whatever they were.

I knew I’d be spending some time in the kitchen today, making a new fun banana bread, and figured what was a few more minutes to whip up a batch of these muffins. Since I’ve been changing my diet around with The Fellow™ out of town until next year, I wanted to make some tasty treats, have one or two, and gift the rest off to friends. I’m being taken out as an early birthday celebration tomorrow, so that friend treating me will get treats of her own.

I took a whack at the muffins, adding a little more pizzazz than the recipe called for, and I have to say, I’m pretty happy with this. I easily could have gobbled up all the muffins in one sitting. Sure, I’d be sick for days, but you know what? It would be worth it.

You know what’s even sweeter than these? 158 calories (give or take), 3 grams of fat, and only 13 grams of sugar, which partially comes from using apples and fat free yogurt. I’d be willing to try these out subbing some of the sugar for honey or pure maple syrup again. There’s not much processed sugar in it (compared to cakes/cupcakes), but there is still some.

 

Apple Muffins

source: adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction [Sky High Apple Pie Muffins]

makes 8 muffins

Ingredients

Muffin Base

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 (heaping) cup apple, cubed
1/2 cup coconut milk, vanilla unsweetened
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 cup light/fat free apple yogurt
1/8 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/8 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Streusel Topping

1/8 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon white whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 425°.

2. In a small bowl, combine the streusel topping dark brown sugar, flour, oats, and cinnamon. Melt the butter and slowly pour into the dry ingredients, combining with a fork until little balls form. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, dark brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.

4. In a separate bowl, mix the coconut milk, yogurt, apple sauce, egg, and almond extract. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry, being careful to mix just until combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the apples.

5. Spray a muffin tin and fill with the thick batter up to the very top of the cup. Sprinkle the streusel mix over each one.

6. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes only. At the 5 minute mark, turn down the oven’s temperature to 375° and bake an additional 15-18 minutes.

Some notes:

  • Almond milk or regular milk can be substituted for the coconut milk.
  • Your favorite type of apple will work for this recipe.
  • Plain yogurt, fat free yogurt, full fat yogurt… doesn’t matter which kind you use. Light yogurt just makes for a lower fat product.
  • Baking at a higher temperature to start allows the muffins to rise quickly, then lowering it helps it to maintain its peak but still cook on the inside without burning.
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