Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Apple Muffins

One of the cardinal rules of my kitchen is to try, really hard, to use everything up. As I'm seeking to become an experienced cook, one of the toughest lessons I've learned is that judgment about quantity is not a natural born talent. It's something you acquire. It may seem obvious - if you're feeding two people, you need two servings. But what is two servings? And will you truly eat the leftovers the next day? There are numerous variables involved in any meal, and the best intentions don't always work out.

The easiest genre to avoid waste is fruit. If you overestimated your craving for bananas, and the bananas you bought are turning black, make banana bread! Too many clementines? Time for a tall glass of fresh-squeezed juice. Strawberries getting squishy? Make a smoothie. It's logical.

Well I found myself with some apples that were no longer as crisp as my husband and I like them, so I scoured all my cookbooks for a delicious apple muffin recipe. I found a couple, but none of them would work without a trip to the grocery store, which seemed to defeat the whole purpose of using up what I already had. So I turned to our friend, the internet. And on the King Arthur Flour website (www.kingarthurflour.com; they're based out of Vermont and they make my favorite white whole wheat flour), I found a fabulous apple muffin recipe. I tweaked it a bit, and now our house smells of baking. And cinnamon. And deliciousness.

These muffins are moist and flavorful, not too intensely sweet, and make a great grab-and-go breakfast with a cup of coffee.

Apple Muffins

Adapted from www.kingarthurflour.com
makes 12-18 muffins


2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed

1 large egg
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt
2 large or 3 small apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped


1. Preheat oven to 450. Line a 12-muffin pan (see step 4) with silicups, or grease and flour each cup.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.

3. In a standing mixer or large bowl, cream the butter and add granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl once with a rubber spatula (unless you have a BeaterBlade, and then you don't need to do this!) Mix in the yogurt slowly. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

4. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. You can make them really big and get 12, or if you want smaller muffins you'll need a second muffin pan. I made mine big. Sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar, and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 400, and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Allow to cool a few minutes, and enjoy!

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