Saturday, March 27, 2021

Baker's Corner: Apple Walnut Muffins


So, if you have been following me on Instagram, you will know that I am very much into packing my children’s lunch boxes. It is something I really enjoy doing so I don’t find it to be a tiresome chore. Probably, years of seeing my mom packing lunch boxes for me and years of me packing my own lunch boxes has made me more amenable to the task! Sometimes I do it entirely by myself, sometimes I just give instructions to my domestic helper and she does it or other times I do some of it and she does the rest. What matters is that it gets done and usually within 20 minutes during the weekday morning frenzy 😀

Packed lunches are especially useful when you have children who are picky and/or small eaters so you can ensure that you are providing them with adequate variety and nutrition while still making school lunches fun. I am still figuring out what my children enjoy in their lunchboxes and so I do spend time on the weekends experimenting and tweaking lunch-box friendly recipes. I prefer packing finger foods that can be eaten at room temperature. Even though my children eat from their lunchbox during mid-morning recess at school, they still do come home and eat a proper home-cooked hot lunch in the afternoon. Most of the time, I opt for simple things like assorted plain or grilled sandwiches, pinwheel sandwiches, simple pastas, bee hoon, pancakes or breakfast muffins as the main dish coupled with raw or steamed veggies, fresh fruits, dried fruit and nut, munchies (such as popcorn, veggie straws, spiced fox nuts) and a small treat (their favourites are jaffa cake, jam biscuits & crunchy creams). But I must admit, adding variety and colour to their lunchboxes can pose quite the challenge sometimes. An extensive school lunchbox post is in the pipeline and hopefully will be posted soon!


I usually bake blueberry muffins or oatmeal raisin/cranberry muffins for the girls lunchboxes. This time, I decided to do apple walnut muffins. I tweaked the original recipe by using part all-purpose and part whole wheat flour, reducing the sugar content and incorporating a little more flavour. The addition of apple, walnuts and oats adds some nutrition and texture to the muffins. The best part about this recipe is that the muffins can be made ahead of time and they freeze beautifully. When you want to use them, all you have to do if pop them in the fridge overnight and the next morning, just microwave for a few seconds. They taste almost as good as freshly baked!


I am pretty sure that my children’s lunchboxes will come back empty when I pack these muffins! I hope you try this recipe. If not for lunchboxes, they work great as a breakfast, snack or picnic option too 😊

Apple Walnut Muffins
 
Prep Time: 15 minutes ; Baking Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins
Recipe category: Breakfast/Western
Recipe level: Easy
Recipe source: Adapted from here
 
Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose/plain flour 
3/4 cup whole wheat flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1 medium-sized apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup (115g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (or granulated white sugar)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk (any dairy or non-dairy milk), at room temperature
~2 tbsp oats, for sprinkling on top
 
Method:
1. Preheat oven to 218°C (425°F). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with non-stick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside. I have a 6-count muffin pan so I did two batches. 
2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger powder and salt together. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on high until creamed, (about 2 full minutes). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, sour cream or yoghurt, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then turn up to high speed until the mixture is combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, add the chopped apple, walnuts and milk and fold until just about combined.
5. Spoon the batter evenly into each cup or liner, filling each all the way to the top. Sprinkle rolled oats over the top of the muffins. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 218°C (425°F) then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 177°C (350°F). Bake for an additional 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is approximately 22-23 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. Muffins stay fresh stored at room temperature for a few days– then transfer to the fridge for up to 1 week.


Notes:
  • You can make this recipe using completely all-purpose flour or either whole wheat flour
  • You can reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup for less sweet muffins and use upto 1 cup sugar if you want them to be sweet
  • For subtle variations, you can add in raisins or substitute the walnuts with other nuts of your choice
  • Baking time variations for, jumbo muffins: 218 deg C (425°F) for 5 minutes, then reduce to 176 deg C (350°F) for 22-25 minutes (makes about 6 muffins). For mini muffins: 176 deg C (350°F) for 12-14 minutes (makes about 36-40 muffins)

Cheers,
Megha

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