October 29, 2010

Apple Cider Muffins

 I think muffins are one of my favorite things to bake.  They're quick, they're difficult to mess up AND you can eat them for breakfast.  In the spirit of fall, I bought some fresh apple cider at a local market, and though I've been enjoying it hot and mulled, I couldn't resist experimenting with it in the kitchen.

I stumbled upon a few recipes for Apple Cider Muffins online but ultimately decided that this one from MegaCrafty looked the best.  The rolled in sugar tops reminded me of another recipe I've been lusting after: Donut Muffins(!)... but I'm saving that one for another time.

I liked these muffins a lot.  The cider flavor was subtle but present and the soft chunks of apples added a nice textural element.  They also lasted much longer (at least a week) than other fruit filled muffins I've made in the past, which usually end up a bit soggy after 3 or 4 days. 

Apple Cider Muffins
Adapted from MegaCrafty

1 1/4 cups apple cider
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, do not pack
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 Honeycrisp apple, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup oil (any neutral oil will work)
1 egg
2 tablespoons no sugar added apple butter (I used Kime's Apple Butter Spread- this kicks up the cider flavor)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter your muffin pans or use muffin liners (makes 12- 15 muffins).

Bring apple cider to a boil in a sauce pan and reduce to a generous 1/3 cup of liquid. Remove from the stove to cool.

Mix the dry ingredients minus the chopped apple in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl mix the applesauce, egg, oil, vanilla and ONLY 1/4 cup cooled cider reduction. Reserve the rest of the reduction (~2 tablespoons) for later.  Pour the wet into the dry and stir just until just combined.  Fold the diced apple into the batter.

Put an even amount of batter into each muffin cup and bake for about 15- 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove the muffins from the pan to cool. Mix your cinnamon and sugar together in a shallow bowl or plate and have the reserved cider reduction ready.  Once the muffins are cool enough to handle but still warm, brush the top of each one with the reserved cider and roll the tops of each muffin in the cinnamon sugar to coat.

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