The other day I was feeling nostalgic about the things I used to make at Bluebird, these muffins most of all.
They came into my life about a year ago, when a girl I worked with at another bakery made a batch for the shop and saved me one. I had it the next morning and was astounded by how good it was, how moist it had stayed overnight. So when I had free reign at Bluebird, this was the first muffin to go on the menu and the recipe I used as a spinoff for other flavors.
You can really use any type of apple you like for these. I used to use Granny Smith; their tartness contrasts nicely with the muffins’ brown sugary lids. But this time I used Galas, which were a little bit sweeter and just as good. I leave the skins on my apples for color and texture (and because I’m too lazy to peel them).
Everyone knows the muffin top is the best part, and so to maximize on this I fill my muffin cups to the very top with batter, actually well above the rim, and leave spaces in between so that the batter can puff up and spread and form a crusty-edged lid without running into the other muffins. If you only have one muffin tin though, well, you can’t worry yourself about this, now can you? Just make them.
Fresh from the oven, the tops are crunchy. As time goes on, the muffins get soft and stay moist, with a room-temperature shelf life of about three days. They freeze well; I’ve got about eight of these babies chillin in there now, and I think it’s time for one to get defrosted and into my belly.
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 4 oz (scant cup) whole wheat flour
- 4.25 oz (scant cup) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3.5 oz (1/2 cup) sugar
- 50 g (1/4 cup) brown sugar (preferably dark, but you can use either dark or light), plus another 1/4 cup or so for sprinkling
- 4 oz (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 egg
- 8 oz (1 cup) buttermilk
- 2 large apples or 3 small apples, diced (1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, sugar, and brown sugar. Stir in the diced apples.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, and buttermilk. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon just until the batter is uniformly moistened. Do not overmix.
- Fill muffin cups to the top, leaving spaces in between if you can. You should get 12 standard-size muffins or 6 large muffins. Top with extra brown sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (for smaller muffins), longer (maybe 40 minutes?) for large muffins.
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