Wintertime always makes me want warm spices and apples. I tried out a Ginger Apple Crisp recipe from Whole Foods when my hubby hosted a work dinner in October, and then made it for his birthday at the beginning of November, and then again for Thanksgiving. It was that good. I need to bring something breakfasty to a meeting at my kids’ school tomorrow morning, and I got it in my head to use the same flavors as that wonderful apple crisp, except in muffin form. Surely, there must be a healthier, lower-sugar, whole grain ginger apple muffin out there, right? Hm, not so much. Time for a bit of improvising…with baking…that’s a little intimidating.
I started with Cook’s Illustrated Gingerbread Muffins. However, they had white flour, 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, and no apples. So I had a bit of work to do. I swapped white whole wheat flour for the processed white flour, used half the sweetener and changed it to molasses, swapped out half the butter for some applesauce, and added chopped apples. I also made them mini-muffins, as I like the smaller serving size–and quicker cooking time. They turned out delicious! My husband said they are the best apple muffins he’s ever eaten. They may be the only apple muffins my husband has ever eaten…but I’ll take the compliment anyway! They are soft, sweet, spicy, and the apple pieces stayed just a little bit crisp so they added some lovely texture.
Gingerbread Apple Muffins
based on recipe from Cook’s Illustrated
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
3/4 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 finely chopped apple (I used a medium Honeycrisp)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a mini-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice in medium bowl until combined. Whisk together eggs, molasses, and buttermilk in large bowl until combined. Add melted butter and whisk vigorously until well mixed. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until just combined (do not overmix). Add apples and stir to distribute.
3. Use cookie scoop or spoon to drop batter into greased muffin tin. Bake until they spring back to the touch and toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, about 10 minutes, rotating pan from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack until cool enough to handle and so you don’t burn your tongue when you can’t wait anymore to sample their deliciousness–those little apple pieces stay really hot! Don’t worry, I think my tongue will recover.