Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Apple pumpkin muffins

As you know, I recently returned from a trip to New Zealand to visit my brother and some friends. While we did cook several times while there, it was more in the style of “let’s create something out of the ingredients we have on hand” rather than the style of “let’s scour the internet for fabulous recipes and make one or combine several recipes into one masterpiece.” And in recent years, the latter style has become my preferred style.

So when I got back from New Zealand—and back into the hemisphere where it was fall instead of spring—I just had to make something delightfully fallish. Partly because I wanted to scour the internet for mouth-watering recipes, partly because I wanted something enjoyable (i.e., baking) mixed in with my day of unenjoyable laundry and unpacking, and partly because I wanted to make a little something to share with my coworkers (especially my student workers!) for holding down the fort while I was gone. And so, I settled on these Apple Pumpkin Muffins from allrecipes.com.

I didn’t change as much as I often do, but I did cut the oil, decrease the sugar, and use part whole wheat flour to make it a little healthier. The original recipe was for 18, I increased it to 24, and actually got 30 muffins out of the batch. Also, since I took several hundred pictures in New Zealand, I was a little pictured out, so didn’t take any photos of these little autumn muffins. Next time!

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 whole wheat flour
1-1/3 cup sugar
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1-3/4 eggs (I accomplished this by cracking two eggs into a measuring cup and scooping out a couple teaspoons of the whites)
1-1/3 cups pumpkin puree
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2-2/3 cups finely chopped peeled apples (I used a little less than two largeish jonagold apples)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin pans (or use paper liners). I waffle back and forth in my preference. Liners are definitely tidier, whereas the spray can leave tacky residue on the pans. But sometimes liners peel off the muffin easily when it’s time to chow down, so you end up losing half your muffin.

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (through and including the applesauce). Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir until just moistened. Fold in apples. Scoop batter into muffin tins, filling about 1/2 to 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 minutes, check for doneness, and cook longer if needed. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 30 muffins

Calories: Approximately 97 calories per muffin.

Verdict: Yummy and healthy! The pumpkin-apple combination is just hard to beat, especially when going for fallish flavors. I didn’t think they tasted like health food (though maybe I just like the taste and texture of healthy foods!), but at 97 calories, I could eat them without feeling guilty. They were perfect for breakfast . . . and mid-morning snack . . . and mid-afternoon snack . :) Everyone who ate one liked it (except for that one friend who doesn’t like pumpkin but tried really hard to like these). I will keep this recipe for future autumn baking needs.

Changes to make next time: I don’t feel these muffins need any changes to improve them, as I thought they were great as-is (technically, should that be “as-are”?). Chopping the apples so finely did take quite a bit of time, so I might grate the apples next time for the sake of making prep go more quickly. These would also be good with some pecans and/or walnuts folded in with the apples. Craisins would also be yummy—just be sure to cut back on the sugar measurement since crasins will add a lot of sweetness.

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