May 31, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

About a month or so ago I received my second Nigella cookbook as a gift and in effect, Nigella and I are becoming even better friends! The first book, Nigella Kitchen is a mixture of baking and cooking but what I love about it is how she writes just as she talks on her cooking show. Her food is delicious and her combinations are a little different sometimes, which I like, but she is so witty when she writes! She’s a famous cook and food personality yet her recipes and how she describes them are not pretentious in any way! I can look at any dish, even the complicated ones, and after reading Nigella’s explanation and steps, things seem completely doable for the untrained cook that I am!

These muffins were far from scary to me but they just looked delicious and full of flavor! Plus I loved Nigella’s description of the common store muffin: “I would rather eat compacted sawdust than most of the muffins I see bulging menacingly from coffee-shop shelves”. There’s the wit I was talking about. She pretty much says it how she sees, tastes, smells or feels it and it’s quite entertaining to read! In regards to her thoughts on the store bought muffin, I think I would have to agree in some respects. Sometimes they are GIANTs and then they get that greasy, plastic-y feeling on the tops with a very dry, crumbly trunk. These Nigella muffins are everything that I want in a muffin: a little sweet, a little crunchy from the nuts, a little fruity, and perfectly moist. As my nephew would say: they’re DEWICIOUS!

Here’s everything you need for these muffins:


(Adapted from Nigella; Nigella Kitchen. Makes 12 standard size muffins.)

  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar (extra to sprinkle on top)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (flavorless)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds (unblanched)

(Preheat the oven to 400)

I like to start with my dry ingredients so the apples don’t start going brown on me. In a large mixing bowl, add your flour, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon.

Dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

In a smaller bowl, mix together 2/3 cup brown sugar, the honey, yogurt, vegetable oil and eggs.

Wet ingredients: brown sugar, honey, yogurt, vegetable oil and eggs.

Now you can go ahead and peel, core and dice your apples. Any apple will do for this recipe so pick out your favorite kind! Put 1/4 cup of the almonds into the bowl with the dry ingredients and then pour your wet ingredients into the dry. Add your apple and mix everything together just until everything is completely combined. You don’t want to over work or over mix the muffin batter because the more time you spend on it, the tougher your muffin gets. The lumpier your batter is, the lighter the muffin actually is!

Line your muffin pan with paper liners (or spray/grease the sides) and fill each muffin cup about 3/4 of the way. In a small bowl, combine 4 tablespoons brown sugar, the remaining 1/4 of almonds and the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture on the top of each muffin and your muffins are dressed for the oven!

Muffins ready for the oven!

Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes until they become golden brown! They’ll smell delicious way before they are ready to be taken out so don’t let them fool you.

Muffins fresh out of the oven!

Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then take them out and let them cool on a rack. I made mine in the afternoon and I was definitely counting down the hours until breakfast the next morning but the wait was worth the wait! Nigella sure does know how to make a delicious muffin! Another great thing about her book is that she gives you make ahead and freeze notes for all the dishes/baked goods. It’s super handy! For these muffins, I was unable to eat them all before they went bad (although they were so good I wanted to!) so I trusted her note that you could freeze the muffins up to 2 months in an airtight container. I had mine in the freezer for about a month while I rotated through a few different breakfast treats and when I returned in a month I was pleasantly surprised at how moist the muffins still were! I was worried about a freezer taste but there was none! I took the muffins out the night before I was going to eat them, and they were great cold or toasted in the toaster oven. These were my first creation out of Nigella’s book and I have plenty more to share with you! They’ve all been wonderful, fairly easy and full of flavor! For now, that’s apple cinnamon muffins…in the shell of a nut!

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