I L.O.V.E. baking in the fall! The smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans, pumpkin and apple is intoxicating. I want to bake muffins and pumpkin bread and apple pies. We visited an apple orchard in the Amish country that inspired the fall baker in me way beyond my normal fall frenzy.
Anyone hungry for Dinner in a Pumpkin?
If WalMart would package their produce like this, maybe I wouldn't dislike grocery shopping!
As much as I love to bake with apples, I am quite a dunce when it comes to choosing which apple will best suit which recipe. Happily, there was a chart!!
As much as I adore baking with apples, you'd think I would know which apple to use for what purpose. This is not the case. I am an apple DUNCE!! Happily, there was a handy chart on display! (If you are apple-illiterite like me, click here for an online apple info page.)
We chose Ginger Gold, Honey Crisp, and Jonathan varieties.
From all of these varieties of apples the Hillcrest Orchard came the best ever apple cider.
A huge metal vat spit out ice cold samples of the cider and we made many many trips to the vat!
Here's something you won't see often, my Man, gazing longingly at a new cookbook!
Inspiration must be contagious.
The apple butter, the pumpkin butter, the jelly...oh my!
I'm tellin' ya, WalMart should take a lesson in marketing from the Amish.
With my newly acquired apples and the knowledge thereof, I am prepared to share my very best muffin recipe. These muffins are the ultimate. They taste much like those fancy muffins you might find in the wonderful coffee shops, but better. PLUS, you get the benefit of a heavenly smellin' kitchen to boot!
First...get out your prettiest cookbook that's as much fun to look at as it is to cook from.
Turn to the recipe for Apple Crisp Muffins, read all of your "Notes to Self"...
"Meg & I made these 3-13-04. Yum - taste like coffe shop muffins!" Surely 6 years ago I knew how to spell coffee correctly?
Next, peel your apples.
You'll need 3 to 3 1/2 cups, a little extra never hurts!
Now, chop 'em up and
...put 'em in a BIG mixing bowl, but not a mix-ER bowl.
We're not going to need the mixer! YEAAA!
In a seperate bowl, combine 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda,
1 very scant teaspoon salt,
...a teaspoon of cinnamon (or more if it accidentally falls into the bowl),
AND fresh nutmeg
(it is at this point that I veer from the recipe on the pretty page a smidge.)
Nutmeg...a few times back and forth on the micro plane oughtta do it. You should probably breathe deeply during this step for the optimal apple muffin experience.
Whisk together and add to the bowl of chopped apples.
Next, add 1 1/2 cups of sugar. (The original recipe calls for 2 cups, but the extra half of a cup doesn't add anything but extra jiggle - to the baker!)
Grab your wooden spoon and stir well until the apple chunks are well coated.
To the mixture add 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil. It is wise to use applesauce in place of half of the oil. I often use 3/4 cup apple sauce and 1/2 cup oil to cut down on the fat without altering the consistency too much. Today, however, I chose to be a purist and used all oil, especially after cutting back a bit on the sugar and all!
After adding 2 slightly beaten eggs, you may or may not choose to add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. Today, I chose not.
Finally, the vanilla.
If there is a secret weapon in my kitchen, it's this vanilla from Honduras. Pappa Charles brings it to me from the mission store in North Carolina. It is strong and mighty.
Stir it all together. Batter will be very thick. V-E-R-Y.
Fill 'em to the top. All the way up.
Now, bake them @ 350 for 30 minutes. Make sure they are done. They'll smell done about 5 minutes before you should take them from the oven.
Turn them out on to a plate or the counter top immediately so they won't stick to the muffin tin.
You will find the same crunchy goodness on the bottom of the muffins that you do on the top.
Here's what will be waiting for you inside.
See those chunks of soft steamy apples surrounded by cinnamonny cakey muffin.
Don't burn your mouth!
This recipe makes 24 muffins, so you'll want to know that they freeze very well when individually wrapped in plastic wrap and then bagged in a gallon ziptop freezer bag!
Make 'em this weekend!
Go ahead - be a hero!!
3 cups peeled, chopped apples
3 1/2 cup flour
1 very scant teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
freshly ground nutmeg to taste
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
(OR 3/4 cup applesauce + 1/2 cup oil)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla