Thursday, October 27, 2011

Whole Grain Apple Cinnamon Muffins

We went apple picking a few days ago. The weather was perfectly crisp, and since it was a weekday, we pretty much had the entire orchard to ourselves. The sad part was that I accidentally left my camera at home, so I couldn't take pictures of the beautiful fall colors. I'm still so bummed about this. But we picked a nice big bag of various heirloom variety apples and bought a freshly made half gallon of apple cider and now I'm loving that I can bake up something special.
I'm starting to really enjoy trying different types of flours and sweeteners, and these muffins reflect that. I made them with half spelt flour and half oat flour. To make the oat flour, I just put whole oats in the food processor and pulsed until I got a flour consistency. So easy, really.
And as far as the sweeteners go, I used Rapadura sugar and then added a touch of pure maple syrup. Rapadura sugar is unbleached and unrefined. It is the only sugar where the sugar stream is not separated from the molasses, helping to retain most of its essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Basically, it's the pure juice extracted from the sugar cane, which is then evaporated over low heat. The unique process gives the sugar a mild, caramel-like flavor that is perfect for baking. I topped the muffins with some raw turbinado sugar, though, because I'm really fond of the sweet crystal crust that it lends to baked goods.

You can absolutely make these muffins with whatever flour or sugar you have on hand and I guarantee that they will come out perfectly, so don't feel tied down by my particular ingredients. Just know that they are the perfect muffin to wake up to on a crisp fall day and perfect to use up some beautiful seasonal apples.

Whole Grain Apple Cinnamon Muffins (makes about 15 muffins)

1 cup whole spelt flour
1 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup rapadura or turbinado sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) plain yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the butter,1/2 cup of the sugar, and maple syrup together. Add the egg and mix very well. Then, mix in the yogurt gently.

2. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup sugar on top.

3. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Enjoy them fresh from the oven, but they will also keep well for a few days in an airtight containers at room temperature.

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