Apple Pie Muffins

I occasionally get serious apple cravings, but because of my allergies, I can’t have raw apples. That’s when I have to start baking, and these muffins definitely satisfied my apple tooth: they are both filled and topped with yummy apple cubes. Walnuts, cinnamon, and a hint of ginger added a wintery spiciness to these soft and moist muffins, and with only a few tablespoons of oil, they were light enough for me to have one and a half right after baking and not feel stuffed at all.

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I’d cooked some ginger tea earlier on the baking day, and had some left, so I used it to give some extra taste to these muffins. The tea was just a bunch of sliced ginger and some grated lemon peel, cooked for half an hour in about 1 liter of water. The taste of ginger wasn’t very obvious in the baked muffins, and I think the tea just added a little depth to the overall cinnamony spiciness. It could easily be replaced with about 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder for the taste, and an extra 1 dl of soy milk for the liquid.

The cinnamon that is mostly used in Europe and in the United States is actually Chinese cinnamon, cassia, which is sold in grocery shops as cinnamon. I have used real cinnamon sometimes, and it does have a less bitter taste than the “poor-man’s-cinnamon” that cassia really is. But, real cinnamon is much more expensive than cassia, and especially in baked goods there’s not much difference. When I started making these muffins, I realized that we were out of ground cinnamon (well, cassia), and I ground up some cassia sticks we’d bought from the Asian store. Freshly ground spices are much more aromatic, and I think this produced more cinnamony flavor than I usually get from just two teaspoons.

Dry mixture:

  • 3 dl spelt flour
  • 1 dl wheat flour
  • 3/4 dl granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon barley (or potato or corn) starch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet mixture:

  • 1 dl plain, unsweetened soy yogurt
  • 1/2 dl canola oil
  • 1/2 dl unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 dl home-brewed ginger tea (or soy milk and powdered ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Apples:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

Topping:

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 dl raw cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 dl walnut, finely chopped

First, I peeled and diced my three apples. I diced the apple that went in the topping pretty finely, and left the ones that went to the batter in bigger cubes. I greased my muffin tin with a little vegan margarine, and preheated the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Now, I mixed the dry ingredients, then mixed the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, and combined the two, being careful not to over-mix the batter. I folded in the apple cubes, and then mixed the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Now, I poured the batter in the muffin tins, filling them about 3/4 full, and then spooned about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of the topping over each muffin. I pressed the topping gently in the muffins with the back of my teaspoon.

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Now, I baked the muffins in 200 degrees for 22 minutes, until the tops had browned somewhat. These muffins are delicious right out of the oven, when still warm, but they’re pretty great on the next day as well, when the moist apple bits and the yummy cinnamon have had time to team up. Compared to more bread-like muffins with a dense texture, like my carrot muffins or oat and spelt muffins, these were fruity, sweet, and soft – more like a dessert than a breakfast.

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