Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
Fall is more than just a season. It’s colors, flavors, and smells: bright oranges and deep reds; fragrant cinnamon and mulled spices; and the dry smell of leaves and the brisk coolness in the air. The arrival of fall, sometimes steadily as September rolls into October or just suddenly as I go from wearing shorts and sandals one day to sweaters and scarfs the next, brings with it a sense of excitement, almost like a renewal. Maybe because I still relate fall to starting school or perhaps it’s because of the deluge of holidays, but this season brings with it a rush of things to do and prepare for.
And what more than apples before the pumpkins start showing up on stoops to remind us that fall is here? This is a great recipe for after-visiting the apple orchard. My housemates and I went to a farm about three weeks ago while on a retreat in West Virginia and, for some reason, we all picked half a peck of apples each. Between the seven of us, the house was full of apples. We made apple pie, applesauce, and snacked on apples between meals yet there are still bags of apples strewn about the house.
One of my housemates used her apples to make these apple muffins which come from a cookbook that her college community compiles every year from student, staff, and alum contributions of recipes. After trying one of the muffins, I knew I had to make them again and get the recipe. These muffins are light and not overly sweet with just a hint of sugar and cinnamon. The little bits of apple suspended in the dough and the baked-on brown sugar on top makes for a wonderfully autumn-inspired treat.
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins, from the Recipes for Change Cookbook, Volume 3 compiled by the St. Olaf College Community
1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed and separated
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a muffin tin or line with paper cups and set aside.
2. Mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until fluffy.
3. Add egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in buttermilk gently. If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.
4. Stir in dry ingredients and fold in apples. Divide the better evenly among prepared muffin tin, sprinkling remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top of each muffin.
5. Bake for 10 minutes in pre-heated oven, turn down temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Makes about 16 muffins.
I just love the fast bake time of these muffins! Fifteen minutes in the oven is enough to get them baked through. I baked these muffins for just five minutes after reducing the temperature to 400 degrees and they turned out great. The recipe is fairly straight forward and I have no recommendations or improvements.
Wait! You can certainly add a half-cup of oats and reduce the all-purpose flour by the same amount. That will certainly make these delicious muffins a bit heartier and healthier. Perhaps some raisins or a drizzle of salty caramel on top, too! Oh, the possibilities are endless. The recipe as it is though, is still quite perfect!