Thursday, December 2, 2010

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins :: Healthy + Homey

I'm not sure if you can tell, but I'm on a bit of a baking roll. I am seriously tearing it up in the kitchen right now. Just as I've worked in my nightly jogs around the city, I've also worked in adequate kitchen time each night to experiment with new recipes.

Lately, I've been wanting to cook/bake things that are healthy and autumn-y. This recipe for whole wheat apple muffins satisfies both those cravings. They are also an ode to the inevitable Washington victory during this weekend's Apple Cup. (Woof!) They also remind me of home, which is bittersweet, I guess. My mom is a wonderful cook. She can whip up some amazing things in the kitchen, but she's not a baker. I'm still not sure if it's because she doesn't like to do it or if she doesn't want us to eat junk - only the lady herself can answer that question. Anyways, we are lucky enough to have a home surrounded by apple trees, so we are never short on apples. My mom was constantly handing out giant grocery bags to neighbors, guests, my gymnastics coaches...basically everyone we came in contact with just to get rid of them. One summer, my mom decided to bake some apple muffins with these homegrown apples and they were delicious. Of course, the mix came out of a box, but since we added in fresh chunks of apples they tasted 100% homemade to me.

Fast forward to tonight. I may not have grown these apples myself, but I did make the batter from scratch. I hope one day, my mom and I will make a batch with her apples and my batter. That would be stupendous. 

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

1 cup (115g) whole wheat flour
1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 TB cinnamon

1. Sift the dry ingredients above in a bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 450F. 

1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (99) granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (226g) buttermilk
2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 cup walnuts

2. Cream the butter for about 5 minutes on medium speed. Add in the sugar and beat until fluffy and light. 

3. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom. This is especially important if you are using a stand mixer. There will be a lot of unmixed butter at the bottom. 

4. Slowly pour in the buttermilk while mixing the batter with a rubber spatula. Just until incorporated. Don't over mix. 

5. Fold in the sifted dried ingredients until half mixed. Then add the apples and fold until there are no flour streaks. 

6. Fill lined muffin tins to the top. Because of the apple chunks, you'll need to tap the pan on a hard surface a few times to get rid of air bubbles. Sprinkle some brown sugar and chopped walnuts on the top of each muffin. 

7. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to 400F and bake for another 10 minutes. The muffins are finished when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin. 

Cool and enjoy. 

Parchment Paper Cupcake/Muffin Liners

I've been seeing these around on some blogs (and of course, Martha) and I think they're pretty swell. They look rustic, kind of like a muffin bouquet. They also make eating crumbly muffins a much easier and cleaner affair. They're very easy to make if you have parchment paper lying around. I've been pretty obsessed with parchment paper ever since Jacques Torres on PBS told me it was a must have item in the kitchen. You can make sturdy pastry bags, they give cakes a smooth finish and you can make muffin liners out of them! 

What you need: 

parchment paper
2 cups about the same diameter as your muffin tin that fit into each other, or if you have 2 trays of the same sized muffin cups, that will work too. 

1. Cut out large square sheets that are about 2 inches wider than your cup. 

2. Turn one of your cups upside down and place 1 square sheet of parchment paper on top.  Slowly press the other glass over the paper, pushing the sides down against the upside down glass. Twist the glasses back and forth to give the creases a good press. 

If you can understand my instructions, then it's really easy. Just place these in your muffin tin and fill just as you would a store bought liner. Just be careful not to get too much batter on the pointy corners that stick up. The batter will burn in the oven. Washing-ton. 


  1. These looking outstanding! Thanks for sharing your food fun from Tokyo. Have a great #WalnutWednesday!

  2. Beautiful post! Yay for apples and Harry the Husky! I will definitely be making the parchment bouquets, stat.

  3. Usually, I like eating things I bake when they're still warm and just out of the oven, but these are even more delicious after they've sat while - probs bc of the spices. It's like a little xmas party in your mouth!