Monday, January 5, 2015

Muffin Monday

One of my resolutions this coming year (note I didn't use the word goal because this HAS to stick) is to make healthier snacks and meals for my family.  For a good chunk of time I was using a meal planner, and using flyers to buy things on sale and in bulk.  I rarely needed to make an emergency run to the store.  Sometime this past Fall, with the craziness of two kids in programs and a toddler underfoot, my planning slipped.  We started eating out more, I had more meals on the table I wasn't pleased with, and over the holidays I knew I wanted things to change.

Monday mornings are always spent at home, so I plan to make a fresh batch of muffins at the start of each week.  Muffins are great for school snacks, and also great for a quick add on to a breakfast.  I like my muffins less cake like, and more health focused.  I hope you enjoy the recipes I post here that I've baked for my family.

First up today, looking at what I had in my kitchen, I turned to a recipe that I could use apples with.  Here's what I found:

For the apple muffins:
  • 1½ cups finely chopped apples (I used Pink Lady // with peel is great!)
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (I used double acting)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
For the crunchy topping:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. To prep ingredients: Microwave or heat the coconut oil until it's liquified. Repeat the same process for the milk to bring it to room temperature. (If you don't do this, the coconut oil will clump together when it mixes with the cold milk.) Add the vinegar to the milk and let it sit for a few minutes to turn into "buttermilk" - or just use real buttermilk instead!
  2. For the muffins: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk the coconut oil, buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Add the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and allspice. Stir until just combined. Fold in the apples. Scoop the mixture into a greased or lined muffin tin - mini, regular, or jumbo sizes will all work.
  3. For the topping: Melt the butter for the topping. Add the sugar and cinnamon; spoon over the tops of the muffins. You only need a little bit to get the crunchy top effect, but if y
    ou love those crunchy cinnamon sugar tops, I'd suggest making twice or three times as much topping as what's listed here.
  4. Bake the muffins for 15 minutes, more or less by a few minutes depending on size. The muffins should be golden brown with big round tops that spring back when you press them.
These are intended to be very simple without a really strong cinnamon flavor (other than the topping) - there is one teaspoon of allspice (which carries some cinnamony flavors) in the batter, but if you are looking for more than just a pinch of spice, I'd suggest adding a teaspoon of cinnamon or nutmeg to the batter.

These turned out really great.  My littlest quickly ate three of them (I always bake mine into mini muffins).  Even my middle who is my harder to please eater, enjoyed them.  Plus for me is I didn't have to bring out my mixer for them, I was able to do it all by hand.  The coconut oil only took about 45 seconds to melt in the microwave.  One Gala apple was plenty for one batch.  Wanting to avoid the extra sugar, I left the topping off.

If you make them would love to hear what you think!

Here's to a (hopeful, they may not last that long) week of muffin goodness :)

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