Monday, October 14, 2013

Apple apples and more apples

Here's a fact: my family has an apple orchard at home.

I'm serious! But the things is, I'd never actively been apple picking until this weekend. My cousin and I drove up to Honey Pot Hill in Stow--as if I don't do that enough during the week (for those of you wondering, my office is located in Stow)--for a day in the orchards and joked around about how our mom's would react had we called them to ask how to pick a good apple. You'd think having an orchard in the back yard would keep us away from the orchards in NE, but no, there we were, miles away from home, picking McIntosh apples with big smiles on our faces.

Turns out it was a very fun, and as my cousin put it, "fall-appropriate" adventure. And since it provided us with a bunch pounds of juicy apples, who am I to complain!

Here's one of the many goodies that resulted from our apple-picking Saturday. These muffins are easy to make and actually taste delicious; they're relatively healthy (given that they're still muffins) and have the potential to act as breakfast, dessert or snacks. So, grab a cup of tea, coffee or apple cider--if you really want the fall experience--and chow down on one some of these. Enjoy!

Chunky Apple Cinnamon Muffins (adapted from Averie Cooks)
Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 35 minutes plus cooling.
Makes 12 small muffins or 6 large ones.

For apples:

  • 1 1/2 + 1/4 cups diced small apple (about 2 small apples--I used McIntosh)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For batter:
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk at room temperature
  • 1/3 coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray non-stick muffin pan with baking spray and dust well with flour; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups diced apples, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Toss to coat and set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, using a fork, mash the banana. Add sugar, milk, coconut oil, vanilla and cinnamon; whisk until well combined. Add all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt and stir until just combined, don't over mix. 
  4. Carefully fold in 1 1/2 cup prepared apples and remaining loose flour and cinnamon mix. 
  5. Divide batter equally among muffin tin--if making 12 small ones, cavities will be about 2/3 full. Distribute reserved 1/4 cup diced apples among muffins and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, if desired. 
  6. Bake muffins for about 18 minutes, or until tops are puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before serving.

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