Monday 21 September 2015

Rustic Apple Spice Muffins

Dappled sun and brisk breezes, warm cups of tea and trees laden with fruit, so begin the wonderful couple of months before winter is once more upon us. As I dig out coarsely knit sweaters and scarves I can't help but be excited for these winds of change. This fall has found me foraging, much like the rotund squirrels of the neighborhood, for local edibles. This has been largely facilitated by the wonderful non-profit group here in Toronto, Not Far From the Tree (NFFT). Indeed, because of this lovely organization I've been spending some much needed time away from my musty books, finding myself instead among the branches of various fruit trees, gleaning to my heart's content in a city which I've discovered to be an urban orchard of sorts.

As tends to be the case with apple season though, the delicious can often become overwhelming. Even after we've contributed a third of our fruit to local charities and another third to the owners of the trees NFFT sends the volunteers home with the last third. While that might not sound like much, it has provided our home with plentiful dozen upon dozen pounds of apples which have manifested themselves in various forms. Uses have spanned from the obvious; pies, crisps, waffles salads to the unusual; such as cooked with sausage, onion and spinach, or mixed with into coleslaw. Future projects will likely include apple pickles, doughnuts and fritters but for now lets focusing on something a bit cozier, muffins.

More fruit than muffin, these moist, spiced bundles of joy are loaded with chunks of apples and brimming with rustic charm. While they might not be winning any beauty pageants, they are oh so good with a hot mug of tea or as a morning pick me up to spike the blood sugar a tad. While I've yet to try them with wholewheat flour I can't help but feel that they'd pull it off!


2c. flour 
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
About 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg

1 3/4c. sugar
1/2c. light olive oil
1/4 c. apple sauce (preferably unsweetened)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract or the seeds of half of a vanilla bean

4 cups of apple, peeled and chopped small

Topping (optional):
Quick oats

1) Preheat oven to 350, grease a muffin tin (the top too as these make for big muffins!)
2) Peel and chop apples, cover with lemon juice if you want to avoid oxidation 
2) Combine dry ingredients
3) Mix oil and sugar until homogeneous
4) Integrate the rest of the wet ingredients
5) Combine wet and dry ingredients, stirring until just combined
6) Fold in apples and parcel into the muffin pan, dust tops with quick oats if desired
7) Bake for 18 or so minutes until browned and a toothpick inserted into the core comes out clean