I had some friends stay with me for a couple of nights this weekend. I am SO inspired by the amazing adventure they're on: they got married in Northern Ireland in May and have been traveling for the last six months, with one more month on the road before they move to Australia. WOW. There's one reason to save a lot of money (it IS very expensive to be cool like that)!
They were excellent guests, and went off entertaining themselves all day Saturday. I was thinking that the thing I would most miss if I were traveling would be home-made food. I like to bake on weekends anyway, so I decided to make some muffins to share with my guests.
As usual, I flipped through some printed-out recipes, mentally rummaged in my cabinets, and looked at some cookbooks. I knew I had 2 eggs, a few apples, and the usual baking ingredients. I settled on a muffin from an old standby, The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks At Home... but of course I modified it! I added oats to the mix, used their suggestion for grated apples, but also diced some (because I like chunks in my muffins, and because grating is a pain). Since this was for company, I splashed out with a yummy topping as well.
Here's the recipe. The result was fantastic!
preheat oven to 350; line 12 muffin cups with paper inserts (or butter & flour the pan)
Topping - in a small bowl, combine:
1/4 c flour
1/4 c oats
1/8 c brown sugar
2 T butter chopped into pieces. Use your fingers to combine these into a crumbled mixture.
Wet ingredients - in a large bowl, mix together:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 - 3/4 cup grated, squeezed apple (see note below)
1 c diced apple
Dry ingredients - in a separate bowl, combine:
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves (I haven't tried this but I bet it will make the muffins even better)
Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones. As soon as the baking powder gets dampened it starts its magic leavening work, so you don't want to over-mix, and you want to get it in the oven pretty promptly.
Once the batter is combined, put it into the muffin cups so they are evenly filled. Sprinkle with the topping mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean.
Note: grating apples was new to me. It's kind of a pain: you have to keep an eye on the core so you don't get seeds and hard bits in your muffin. It's also messy! I was using honeycrisp apples which have been delicious and extremely juicy this year: luckily I was grating onto a plate which had a raised lip. Once I'd worked through 2 small apples I gathered the shreds into my hand and squeezed out the excess juice (which I later drank.. yum). Then I packed it into a cup measure - 2 small apples worked out to a bit more than 1/2 cup. At that point I gave up and diced another apple or so. It wound up being a nice combination to have the apples in two different shapes in the muffins.
Serve with a glass of milk and good company.