We say goodbye to the banana muffins and move on now to apple-based recipes. This is a good thing, as we have lots of apples on hand from our annual trip to the orchard and they are getting kind of mealy for satisfactory snacking.
A word about “Laura” – I have no idea who Laura was. It’s not a family name, so clearly she was a friend of Dorothy’s. There are no recipes that bear my name but I wish there were! A life goal – to invent something that will be named after me.
Cream together in medium-sized bowl
1/4 cup shortening or margarine
3/4 cup white sugar
Add to above
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten
Stir together and add to above, then stir to moisten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped apples
1 tbsp. cream
350F, 20 – 25 minutes.
Right off the bat, we had a discussion about what to use for the fat: shortening, margarine, or butter. For the sake of authenticity (ugh, that is an overused word, isn’t it?) I decided to go with shortening. Also I had some in the cupboard from my Adventures in Pie Crust Making, and really wanted to use it up.
I used an electric mixer to cream the shortening and sugar. Added the vanilla and oops – accidentally added a full teaspoon instead of a half. Bear that in mind if you decide to make these muffins; I cheated on the vanilla.
As I combined the dry ingredients with the wet, I started to worry – this is a thick, heavy batter. Sticky. And it seemed like a ridiculously small amount lying there in the bottom of the bowl.
A cup and a half of apples is about three smallish ones. I chopped them quite fine because I do not like big chunks of anything in baked goods. If you look back at the recipe, you’ll see that the muffins are almost equal parts flour/sugar and apples; now imagine adding the apples ‘gently’. I had a bit of a freakout at first, because it seemed like they would never combine; adding the cream (I used ‘blend’ or ‘half-and-half’) helped, and gradually it became a smooth batter studded with apple pieces.
The batter filled 12 muffin cups about 3/4 full.
The muffins were not done at 20 minutes, so I put them back in for an additional five minutes, which did the trick. I was pretty skeptical when I took them out of the oven; they did not rise much at all, and were browner on top than I would have liked. But then I tasted one and WOW, these were really good.
Moist on the inside, with a slight sweet crunch on the top, these taste like the muffin version of apple pie, if that makes any sense. The spicing really shines through and the apples softened to a very pleasing texture.
Michael and I devoured the test muffin even though they weren’t cool enough to eat yet, fanning our mouths to keep them from burning.
Laura, whoever she was, knew how to make a muffin.
Next week, Apple Cinnamon. Yum.