My freezer has been the home of two 1 gallon sized bags full of apples for the last month. My mother went apple picking and brought me her leftover bounty. Lucky me! :D So far I made an Apple Frangipane tart, a Cardamom Apple Crumble pie and a batch of Carrot-Apple-Nut Muffins. At least that’s what the Williams-Sonoma Baking cookbook calls them, but I don’t really like that name. It’s too dull, too blah and these muffins are anything but.
They have yogurt and protein powder to make them perfect for breakfast. They’re spiced with cinnamon and ginger but the sweet tones of orange and apple create balance. The carrot melts away into the soft crumb and the pecans lend an earthy crunch to an otherwise light muffin.
I tweaked the original recipe a bit to make it work for half a batch and the ingredients I had on hand. It called for yogurt, but I only have greek so I added a bit of skim milk to give the dough enough liquid. It also called for bran but I wanted to really make these muffins more than just a treat, so I added 1 scoop Raw protein powder (you can’t taste it at all). Raisins were also called for but I wanted to match the flavors of the holidays so I swapped them out for orange flavored cranberries from Trader Joe’s. It was a great decision since the citrus note worked well with the more subtle apple flavor (and who doesn’t love the sweet tang of the bright cranberry??).
I LOVE these muffins. Would they be even better with a cream cheese icing? Perhaps. Course, then I wouldn’t be able to justify their “healthiness” but sometimes life calls for icing. If I had some on hand, I’d probably whip up a batch. The crunchy sugar topping, however, is a nice treat with a cup of morning coffee.
I think “Good Morning Muffins” has a nice ring to it.
Good Morning Muffins (or Carrot-Apple-Nut Muffins)
(Note: This will make 8 large muffins or 9 regular sized muffins. Original recipe from the wonderful Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook. My edits are in red.)
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 scoop Raw Protein Powder (or 1/8 cup wheat or oat bran)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar (or 1/3 packed brown sugar)
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cup greek yogurt + 1/4 cup skim milk (less if batter seems too wet)
- 1 tbsp melted margarine (or unsalted butter)
- 2/3 cup grated carrot
- 2/3 cup grated apple
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 cup chopped and toasted pecans
- 1/4 cup orange flavored cranberries (or raisins)
- 2 tbsp turbinado sugar with 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a muffin pan for 8 or 9 muffins..
- In a large bowl, stir together the flours, protein powder, baking powder and soda, salt, spices and brown sugar. Set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk egg until blended. Stir in yogurt, milk and butter. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until just moistened (about 10 strokes). Add the fruit, nuts, and cranberries. Stir until evenly distributed (only a few strokes).
- Spoon batter to the top of the cups. Sprinkle with the spiced sugar mixture.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and store in a container.