The muffin. It's such a simple little thing. There may be a lot of them on a platter, but when you grab one, it's all yours. No one asks to split a muffin with you like they do a slice of cake. And if someone suggests it, shake your head incredulously and tell them to grab their own dang muffin!
The weather keeps getting colder, the apples at the store keep getting better and better, and I wanted to bake. Do I make an apple pie? Apple cake? Apple crisp? I love all those things so I decided to basically make them all at once - in miniature form!
To start the muffins, simply take all the dry ingredients, add them to a bowl and whisk them up to blend them together. I added allspice and cinnamon to give a nice spice base to the batter, a lot of recipes call for mace and/or nutmeg and while I like them, I find they can easily become too powerful in a recipe and outshine the true star of these muffins: the apples (and the incredible crisp topping).
With the flour mixture whisked up, peel and dice your apples. Dice the apples into cubes roughly the size of the tip of your pinky (please leave your pinky attached to your personage) and then add 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture from above to the apples and toss to coat.
Want nice warm beverage to enjoy while baking? Take the apple peels, add them to a coffee mug, and at a cup of boiling water to them along with a sprinkle of cinnamon and allspice. Let it steep a few minutes and enjoy a light, refreshing apple tea (keep the peels in, the flavor will intensify as you keep drinking).
Now we're on to the wet ingredients. I use refined coconut oil because it's not as coconut-y and the unrefined oil, and as a solid fat at room temp, it'll give the muffins body and moistness as they cool. I'll crack the lid on the jar and place it in water just off the boil until the oil is liquid and then measure it out (you can get the water back to a boil and use that for your apple tea, wasting as little as possible with this recipe). Add your oils, sugars, applesauce, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl and give it a good whisking. It won't really come together much, but letting it sit for a few minutes does help start to get the sugar melting.
We've got dry, we've got apples, we've got wet, now we need the crisp - man, there are a lot of components to these muffins, they better be good (spoiler alert, oh are they ever!). To make the crisp, mix all the ingredients together in another small bowl, I find using my hands to be easiest for this part, and set it aside for just a moment while we get all the other components mixed.
Take the dry mix, add half into the wet mix, stir it up gently, repeat this by adding the second half of the dry ingredients into the wet, and then give another gentle stir. Fold in the apples to the batter. Don't worry, the batter should be quite stiff. I use a standard ice cream scoop and add 1 scoop of the batter for each muffin. Once you get all the batter in the tin, add one packed tablespoon of your crisp mixture on top of each muffin and place it in your oven that's set to 350F. When you close the door, bump it up to 375F and let the muffins cook for 20-25 minutes. Bumping up the temp after you add the muffins ensures that your oven will be in a heating cycle, and will help the muffins rise better.
When they're done cooking, take them out of the oven (one of the more important steps of the recipe), and cool for 10-15 minutes before taking the muffins out of the pan to finish cooling. Try and refrain from eating one right now. Seriously, just try, because you'll fail. Now eat a dang muffin, it's why you baked them!
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped apple (about 2 baseball sized apples)
- 1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted in hot water bath
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 4oz cup of applesauce (1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the crisp topping:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
Preheat oven to 350F degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, allspice baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. In a separate bowl, toss the diced apples with 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture.
In a mixing bowl, add the oils, sugars, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix well with a whisk and let sit for 5 minutes to give the sugars a chance to start dissolving.
Add the remaining flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two batches. Try to minimize your mixing, doing so until the ingredients are just combined before adding the next batch. Fold in the apples and add batter into prepared muffin cups, using ~1/3 cup of mixture for each muffin. I use an ice cream scoop at the mixture is dense.
Mix the remaining ingredients for the crisp topping together in a small bowl until well combined (you can use your hands if you don't mind getting dirty). Top each muffin with 1 packed tablespoon of the crisp topping.
Turn your oven up to 375 and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in muffin tins for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.