muffin of the month, october 2017: vegan apple cider muffins

previous monthly muffins:

6/17, balsamic roasted strawberry muffins with balsamic glaze || 4/17, cinnamon raisin english muffins || 2/17, glazed lemon poppyseed muffins || 1/17, earl grey walnut muffins || 12/16, chocolate peppermint muffins

 

 

Two years ago, I went to a pie workshop at a bakery in my city known for pies and tarts. Of course, it being the beginning of fall, we had to make apple pie, for which the pastry chef demonstrated this super nifty tool that I went out and bought immediately: a hand-crank apple corer, peeler, and slicer. You spike the apple onto the end of a screw, position the peeling blade, and crank. The apple spins, strips, spirals, and its guts pull right out. It’s wonderful.

When I first bought it, I hated it. The one I bought didn’t seem to work as well as the machine the pastry chef showed us. The peeling blade would either not cut through the skin or it would get stuck in the apple, the core never lined up with the corer blade, and for the life of me I could not figure out how to get an asymmetrical apple to peel and core consistently.

 

 

So I put the machine away for about two years, and when I started working on this muffin recipe, I thought I would give it a second chance.

It worked like a charm. Perhaps the little hand crank doohickey grew and matured and learned to be a better version of itself…or maybe I realized it’s easier to use if you flip the apple around and peel tail-to-top instead.

Now I don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on an electric apple machine. Phew.

 

 

This recipe was inspired by a pastry we sell and sample at work during the week: apple cider donuts. The donuts are made with butter, buttermilk, and eggs (and they taste like heaven and make the whole store and street smell like apples and cinnamon), but following my obsession with consistency and matching up flavors, I wanted to go full-apple. Eggs became unsweetened apple sauce (the best vegan egg substitute I have ever used), and buttermilk became first-press apple cider. While I was already 2/3 of the way to a vegan recipe, I decided to take that last step: butter became canola oil.

Yes, butter and buttermilk are luscious and make things taste rich, but apple cider has enough acid for that back-of-the-tongue tang and there’s plenty of sweet and spice to make up for the decrease in fat.

The muffins are spiced, filled with chunks of Red Delicious apples, and then rolled in a cinnamon-sugar topping.

 

 

vegan apple cider muffins with cinnamon sugar

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

makes 1 dozen

 

5 oz (140 g) all-purpose flour

5 oz (140 g) whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

3 oz (85 g) canola oil

3 oz (85 g) unsweetened apple sauce

7 oz (200 g) apple cider

3 oz (85 g) granulated sugar

2 oz (56 g) dark brown sugar

1 large red apple, cored, peeled, and coarsely chopped (5~7 oz of apple bits)

 

cinnamon sugar coating

1 oz (28 g) granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp canola oil

 

Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C and line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together flours, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together apple sauce, canola oil, apple cider, and sugars.

Quickly mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and fold in the apple chunks.

Scoop the batter into the muffin cups so each cup is 2/3~3/4 of the way full.

Bake the muffins for 25 – 30 minutes, until springy to the touch. When lightly pressed down in the center with a finger, the muffins should spring back up like foam.

Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to continue cooling before coating.

In a shallow bowl or plate, whisk together sugar and cinnamon for coating the muffins.

Brush each muffin with canola oil and roll the top of the muffin around in the sugar mixture to coat.

Muffins will keep up to 48 hours wrapped in plastic at room temperature. Don’t refrigerate the muffins, or else the coating will melt/dissolve. If they firm up, you can soften them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.

 

Help, I’ve fallen in love with apples and I can’t get up!

Nick P.

Categories: alternative diet, Breads, muffins, seasonal produce, Vegan