This recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation. Actually, a second edition of an adaptation of an adaptation! But let me back up just a bit.
I had some apples in the fridge that were a tad less than crisp, so I was looking for something interesting to do with them. I was thinking apple soup or another savory dish, but apple cider muffins kept popping up when I consulted the google. And man, those sounded good. One problem: I didn't have any apple cider.
So I found this recipe over at Smitten Kitchen, adapated from a King Arthur flour recipe. I had everthing I needed on hand and--bonus--I could use the whole wheat flour that's been darkening my pantry and ruining breads for the last two months. I added some allspice in order to get some of that cider spice (and a little vanilla because everything is better with vanilla) and made some really tasty muffins. But something was missing--they were light and fluffy and very yummy but just not very satisfying. There was some weight and toothiness I wanted that I wasn't getting.
And they needed that because I wanted to make these for my friend, Beth. Beth just had a baby and our friend, Amanda thoughtfully set up a program to keep their family fed during this very hectic time. But there were two issues: 1) I've chatted with Beth's husband on several occasions and I knew that anything I'd make for lunch or dinner would be just a side dish to him (bless his omnivore heart) and 2) I remember eating a lot of very unsatisfying cold bagels when Mini Eats was a newborn. She was nursing every two hours for a half-hour each time and there just wasn't time to have a decent thing to eat. We were also quarantined for the first couple of months since she was nearly two months early.
So I thought that an easy-to-eat muffin that doesn't need to be re-heated would be the perfect thing to make. But it needed to have some weight to it to get anyone through a two-hour interval. So for the second batch, I added half a cup of quick oats. Not a big deal, but it made a big difference!*
(*Um, yes, Beth, I ate a muffin. This recipe makes slightly more than the dozen I brought over. But they had to be tested first!)
Anyway, there are a couple of other minor changes I made. As usual, I used salted butter and still added the salt. It wasn't too salty. I also used soy milk instead of buttermilk because that's what I have at home. I have no idea how this affected the recipe, but I know that the muffins were still quite good. Also, after I cream the butter and sugar together, I just throw everything else in the bowl and let the KitchenAid do the work. I have yet to experience any real problem with this, but I will mostly copy the directions here from the original. But you should know it's okay to take a shortcut if you want.
Need more convincing? These muffins are really easy to make. I don't love peeling apples, but other than that, you go from zero to muffin pretty quickly and simply.
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
Adapted from King Arthur Flour via Smitten Kitchen
(I got 14 from the second batch)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided into two 1/4 cups
1 large egg
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into small cubes (about 2 to 2 1/2 heaping cups)
*If you have regular rolled oats, you may want to pulverize them a bit in your food processor to get them smaller or they may not get very soft during cooking.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour muffin cups and set aside.
Mix together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, allspice and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and vanilla and mix again. Then add the dry ingredients, mix and fold in the apple chunks with a spatula (by hand).
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (to the top of the cup), sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then remove them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When the muffins first come out, the brown sugar on top is nice and crunchy. However, after storing in an airtight container, it is crunchy no more. These muffins are moist.