The You'll-Forgive-Me-For-Posting-So-Many-Apple-Recipes-When-You-Taste-These Apple Cider Muffins (Donuts)

I'm very good at creating names for recipes, no? But really, the title of this post says it all: amidst all of the apple goodness I've been gabbing on about, these really do take the cake. Or top the cake, whatever that saying is. The point is, they're good. Really good. And they are so enormously bursting with fall that your belly will have its own private autumn party once it realizes what delights you have just fed it. What's more, I would actually be able to justify eating these muffins for breakfast, whereas I place most of the other muffin recipes I've seen in my cupcake folder. Seriously, take a look: whole wheat flour - check! olive/canola oil - check! actual fruit - check! low fat dairy - check! modest amounts of sugar (but in somewhat sneaky forms) - check! See, it's really not so bad. Definitely a breakfast "splurge" compared to my usual kashi + lowfat milk/yogurt + fruit, but it also won't be sending me running for the treadmill at record speed, or really any speed at all.

These apple cider muffins have gotten everyone's stamp of approval and L, in particular, enjoys them immensely. The recipe is actually supposed to make donuts, but as I've yet to get my hands on one of those cool donut pans, I decided to give it a shot in muffin-form, muffin tins being the closest contraption I had to a donut pan. I will, of course, try these out as they were meant to be when my restraint gives in and I buy myself more kitchen equipment (or the holiday gift gods endow me with wonderful goodies next month), but if you're like me and all you have are some muffin tins, do. not. wait. They are beyond moist, and rolling them in a cinnamon-sugar mixture - though a little weirder for a muffin than a doughnut - adds this slight crunch that really can't be beat. They aren't super sweet, in fact I'd call them pretty mild, but man could I eat a whole batch of them.

My one and only complaint, okay well maybe the first of two complaints, is the salt. I know, I know, I really need to stop on my salt rampage at some point, and I've likely gone psychotic with how stubborn I am about limiting my intake (I promise you that I do consume a decent amount - well over the minimal amount required for your body to not go kaput on you). But I added half the amount of salt, since I wasn't using any salted butter or really any food sources of sodium at all...and I taste it. No one else has complained of it, so maybe you should make it the way the recipe intends, and leave me to my deranged salt-free existence, but I can taste it when I bite into the muffin. It's this very vague, subtle flavor - certainly an entirely different beast than taking a handful of potato chips or biting into a pickle; rather, it tastes a little bit like you've been inhaling ocean air for an afternoon and the taste just kind of...lingers. I've experienced this before with foods, so next time I will try eliminating the salt altogether and just see if it changes it.

The second complaint is that I baked them without cupcake liners, just greasing the pan with some olive oil because, as I've mentioned before, it's all I really keep on hand aside from butter. But you see, olive oil has a fairly low smoke point, and whether or not this is indeed the culprit, my muffin exterior that came in contact with the pan was just a teensy bit browner than I would like. This could also be a result of my having kinda dark muffin tins, though I think I baked these the second time entirely on lighter metal pans. So I'm going with the no liners thing. You don't really notice it when you bite into it, but you can see that the outside edges are darker. Like I said, the salt thing was my only real complaint. And even that might be a figment of my imagination.

Moral of the story? Bake these. They don't require much apple, though I have upped the amount and will either do so again next time or leave even more in larger chunks. I just can't get enough of that! You probably have all of the ingredients on hand except the apples (and maybe apple cider and maple syrup, and maybe yogurt, but I think those three are all pretty standard at this time of year - maybe?) and they're super easy to make. Anything that doesn't require me to whip out my hand mixer is a winner in my book. Although you probably could use a real mixer if it pleased you. But really, even with mixing it all by hand, the most labor intensive part is chopping the apples, and - sshh! - you can totally use a food processor for that.

Apple Cider Muffin-Donuts, courtesy of Squirrel Bakes
Yield: Almost 2 dozen muffins, closer to 18
The Ingredients

2C whole-wheat flour (the second time I made these I actually had mostly all purpose on hand and used that, without noticing much of a difference at all)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt*
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
2/3 C packed brown sugar
1/3C apple, finely chopped** (I upped it to 2/3C and could see it potentially going as high as 3/4 successfully)
1/3C pure maple syrup (both times, I used cinnamon-infused syrup because it's all I had - I didn't decrease the cinnamon at all; I'm sure plain syrup would be good, too)
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used greek)
3 tbsp vegetable oil (though I used olive oil, I'm keeping canola in the recipe because I don't think that it really makes a difference; it's just what I had on hand)
cinnamon and sugar (I don't keep cinnamon-sugar in, so I just mixed the two together; this is nice to do anyway, as you can adjust how cinnamon-y or how sugary you like it)

The Method
1. Preheat the oven and grease 2 donut or muffin pans, and set aside.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl, combine the egg, brown sugar, apple cider, maple syrup, yogurt, and oil. Mix a little bit, but mostly hold off on really blending for right now.
4. Chop the apples into desired pieces, using either a knife or a food processor; then, add the apple to the liquid mixture and this time, blend well. The recipe says to prepare the apples before mixing up the liquid ingredients, and simply add the apple in at the same time as all the others. I've switched it around because I didn't want the apples to sit there browning, as I tend to take a while getting my act together. I can't see why this should impact the recipe too much, since there isn't anything like a leavening agent that would be affected by sitting for longer than originally intended.
5. Add the flour to the apple mixture in batches, mixing enough to moisten the flour mixture before adding the next batch. It's okay to have some patches of flour here and there.
6. Spoon the mixture into muffin tins; with all of that baking powder and baking soda, they will rise a decent amount. I placed 2 average-slightly heaping spoonfuls in each, and they came out well, if not slightly higher than I intended.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned; if you're going the muffin route, you can do the toothpick test. I don't know if this works for donuts.
8. Meanwhile, prepare a pie plate or other shallow dish with the cinnamon and sugar, and as soon as the muffins are done, roll them in the dish to coat. The first time, I coated them completely; the second time was for a bake sale and wanted to give people a cleaner eating experience, so I only dipped the tops in; I prefer coating the entire thing but it's certainly not bad either way.
10. Either allow to cool completely or dig in while warm - I certainly wouldn't fault you for either decision! They do taste delicious at both temperatures.

*see discussion above about salt
**I've found 1 regular sized apple to yield about 1C once chopped, though of course this depends on how fine you chop them. I prefer varying the size of the pieces so that some are nearly shredded and will melt into the muffin, and others are more like small chunks that will still be visible after baking. I should also note that it doesn't seem to matter much what type of apple you use - the original blogger said that she used JonaMac; I used a mixture of gala and macintosh.

I would definitely recommend heading over to Squirrel Bakes to see the beautiful pictures of the donuts, because if you do have a donut pan or your willpower is taking a vacation, you will want to make them. The muffins certainly look homemade, which I generally like in a - well - homemade baked good, but those donuts look spectacular. I'd choose them over Dunkin Donuts any day!

To sum it all up, yes I have been cooking and baking a lot with apples - some of it of my own volition, and some of it because the Student Dietetic Association needed something to do with 2 crates full of donated apples. This is not the last apple recipe you will see from me this season. This is not even the last apple recipe in my extensive backlog of recipes made eons ago that I still need to post about. So buckle on down, because I'm going to milk this fall fruit for all that it's worth!

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment