Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spicy Apple Muffins

There’s spicy and then there’s spicy, and these muffins land somewhere on the mild, but delicious, side of that definition (and decade, for that matter).
The best way to date this recipe for Spicy Apple Muffins comes from the reverse side of the yellowed newspaper it’s been cut out of. Ads for a nearby oceanfront resort trumpet an amazing new attraction: The Jacuzzi! Walt Disney’s animated Robin Hood is playing at local theaters. And, yes, speaking of spicy: Totally Nude Girls are Live on Stage. Narrow it down? Yes, it’s 1983!
             Courtesy of my daughter’s first name, we’re always at the top of the alphabetically ordered list for providing classroom snack. Far be it from me to supply a week’s worth of junk. (I’ll wait ‘til at least Wednesday to bring in the Goldfish, thank you very much.) Enter Spicy Apple Muffins, a wholesome and seasonally appropriate treat.
            These are straightforward muffins, and quick to prepare. I like the whole-wheat flour and chunks of apple. Though usually not a huge fan of Golden Delicious, these worked well – some chunks melted nicely into the batter, and some retained a little bite. The fall aroma of apple and spice is always so comforting. The recipe notes that these would be delicious served with quiche, and that’s probably true, but they’re yummy any time of day.
            Spicy, however, they are not. The blend of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg is pleasing, but meek. I would bump the quantities up by at least a ¼ teaspoon each. Then you’ll be on par with Jacuzzis, and Disney foxes.
Spicy Apple Muffins

1-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 egg
1 cup skimmed milk
1/3 cup melted shortening or vegetable oil
1 medium Golden Delicious apple, peeled and diced

1.     Sift all-purpose flour, measure and resift with salt, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and sugar. Combine with brown sugar and whole wheat flour.
2.     Beat egg; add milk and melted shortening or oil. Combine with dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Add diced apple.
3.     Fill greased muffin (tin) 2/3 full. Bake at 400-degrees 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden. Makes 12 muffins.

·      I added ¼ teaspoon each of ground ginger and ground cloves. I would go higher next time.
·      Mini muffins took 8-9 minutes in my oven, and produced about 30 muffins.

Why Don’t You …
Add ½ cup of chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter?
·      Add an apple-cider glaze? Add apple cider to confectioners’ sugar until it’s thin enough to drizzle.
·      Or what about topping with an easy streusel? Mash together softened butter and brown sugar – and nuts, if you haven’t already put them in the batter – until crumbly.

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