Apple Walnut Spice Muffins
It’s a tragedy that I’ve been sitting on this recipe since the beginning of apple season (oh, let’s say September) and it’s now full-fledged winter around these parts. Fortunately, I’m happy to report that despite my belief that the fall is strictly the best season for apples (which it really is), I’ve been informed that apples are truly a season-less fruit thanks to international shipping and year-round growing seasons! (Shhh! Don’t tell the local eaters about my apples from New Zealand!) That slightly lessens my guilt over not sharing this recipe sooner. Carbon footprint guilt? Well, that’s another story.
With a yogurt base, these apple muffins are moist, tender and spotted with diced apples that truly melt in your mouth. Topped with toasted walnuts, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, these make a delicious quick breakfast or afternoon snack. Made with whole wheat flour, low-fat yogurt and olive oil, these muffins land much closer to the Good-For-You side of the scale rather than the Just-Kill-Yourself-Now prepackaged muffins from most chain coffee shops. Healthy-ish and delicious? Ok, sign me up.
Originally, I just used shredded apples in the muffins but I found that I ended up craving a bit more apple flavor. With this recipe, I use half shredded apples and half finely diced apples. This results in small bites of diced apple that, when served warm, melt in your mouth like bits of apple pie. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself.
I’ve been thinking about tossing the diced apples in cinnamon before mixing them into the batter to increase the apple pie-esk effect, but have yet to test it out. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out. You can use whatever variety of apple you prefer, but I’ve found that a combination of Granny Smith (for that tart apple flavor we all know and love) and Fiji or Gala (for added natural sweetness) works best.
Apple Walnut Spice Muffins
Yield: 21-24 muffins
3 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup grated apples, drained and patted dry**
1 cup finely diced apples
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (plus some extra to sprinkle on the top)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a standard muffin tin, spray with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and all the spices).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (yogurt, eggs, oil, vanilla).
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour the wet ingredients into this well. Using a large wooden spoon or spatula, stir until the ingredients are just combined.
- Stir in the grated and diced apples and chopped walnuts. Be careful not to overmix. You want the batter to be lumpy and it might even have some streaks of flour that haven't been completely mixed. This is fine.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Top with chopped walnuts if you are so inclined.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the tops are slightly browned.
- Remove to a wire cooling rack. Let them rest before serving but serve them warm.
* A very flavorful muffin, this recipe is well-suited to use a sugar substitute (like Splenda) in place of the granulated sugar if you are looking for a low-sugar option.
** I use a combination of half Granny Smith apples and half Fiji or Gala apples for the best flavor combo, but feel free to experiment with apples you like.