Last weekend, I went apple picking with my friend Carly, her boyfriend and her friend from college. It ended up being a day trip, because we had to take the train up to Baltimore and then drive an hour out into the country to get to the apple orchard.
But it was well worth the journey. The orchard sold apple cider doughnuts, and we got a bag to split. The doughnuts are made fresh throughout the day, so when we pulled one out of the bag, they were still warm and fluffy. They had a light dusting of cinnamon and sugar on top, and melted in your mouth after the first bite. I had a moment where I wanted to get back into the car alone with the doughnuts, and stay there for the rest of the trip. But I restrained myself.
After we stuffed our faces with doughnuts and lunch, we made our way to the orchard. The head of the orchard told us that apple varieties change throughout the fall, but we had our pick between Jonagold, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious. I’ve never been a fan of red delicious apples (read this article for a compelling argument against them), so I mostly picked Jonagold and Golden Delicious. The head farmer also told us we could sample apples “as long as we didn’t make a meal of it,” so I tried one or two along the way.
Somehow, I ended up with 10 pounds of apples to take home with me. So this week, I decided to make apple cinnamon muffins. The recipe is straightforward: Mix together all the standard baking ingredients with buttermilk and egg, chop up a couple apples and mix them in, and voila–I had a delicious breakfast that lasted throughout the week. And as an added bonus, my apartment smelled like apple cinnamon for a few days after they came out of the oven.
Apple Cinnamon Muffins (from Smitten Kitchen)
1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.
Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.