Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Crumb Muffins

You know how sometimes, you're inspired to make something because of beautiful produce? I mean, look at how luscious this pear and apple look in the picture - yum!

But this time, it was the complete opposite case. I had bought a bunch of dried fruit intending to eat it as a healthy snack. Turns out, dehydrated apples are weird. I'm talking spongy, greasy, and they even smelled a litle weird. I couldn't give these away at work, so my coworkers and I agreed that perhaps they could be salvaged (rather than thrown out) if they were disguised in a baked good.

Here's a side by side comparison of fresh apple chopped alongside the dried apple:

Where is the pear, you may ask? I ended up having such a large pile of apple, that I decided to leave out the pear, in fear that I would have way too much fruit versus muffin batter.  I did end up using pear yogurt (one of my favorites, which is sadly out of season now) so these could be called Apple and Pear Cinnamon Crumb Muffins (which I had intended to make) but I think really are more just apple muffins.

The recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen's Whole Wheat Apple Muffins recipe, with a few modifications to suit my tastes and/or pantry.

1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour (I used just all-purpose 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, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided (I only used 1/4 cup of brown sugar since I made a separate crumb topping)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt (Light & Fit's pear yogurt for me)
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (1 apple replaced by chopped dehydrated apple)

Crumb Topping (I added this part)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the buttermilk (or yogurt) gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar (or crumb topping) on top. 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. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

And boy did these turn out awesome (in most ways).  Mois and extremely flavorful, with a nice sugary crust on top:

Apologies on the crap pictures, I forgot to take some at home after I baked so these were hastily taken at work on a oh-so fancy paper plate:
Did it make the dehydrated apples palatable? Definitely. They still had a slightly spongy texture but it worked with the muffin. The only mistake I made was mixing in fresh chunks of apple with the dried. Having both side by side in the muffin clearly pointed out the shortcomings in the dried apple. I can only imagine how awesome these muffins will be the next time I make them with fresh ingredients - pear, I'm coming for you!

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