I am totally in awe of Jessica, the blog’s author. In addition to being a great cook, Jessica is also an amazing writer and one of the best food photographers I have ever seen. Everything she makes looks and sounds delicious, without exception. She inspires me on every level.
These Apple Oatmeal Muffins are only the latest recipe I’ve borrowed from her and used in my own blog. In recent weeks, it seems like every couple of days I’m ripping off from How Sweet It Is. Even my wife, Sandi, has subscribed to Jessica’s blog and I can barely get her to read mine!
This recipe turned out fine, but I took a few shortcuts and made a couple of mistakes, so it could have been better. First, J’s recipe called for whole wheat pastry flour and I only had whole wheat flour an I was too lazy to drive to the store to buy the real deal.
Pastry flour is a finer grind than the whole wheat flour and results in a smaller crumb and fewer gluten strands. As a result, my muffins didn’t rise as well as they could have and were more dense.
Second, I didn’t have any apple cider — I haven’t seen any in the stores yet this year — so I used apple juice. They aren’t the same thing. Basically, cider has pulp and apple juice does not. While the flavor of the muffins was good, the muffins would have had a richer, smoother texture had I used the cider.
Finally, I didn’t have any cardamon so I left it out altogether, so the flavor wasn’t as complex as it could have been.
In short, Jessica doesn’t have anything to worry about. She’s still the best.
I only iced half the muffins because asked me to leave some plain so she could eat them without having to worry about the exra calories from the icing. What’s the fun of that?
Apple Cider Oatmeal Muffins
2 Honeycrisp Apples, small dice
3 TBS Apple Cider (or apple juice)
1-1/2 cups Whole What Pastry Flour
1/2 cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Cardamon
1 pinch Nutmeg
1 large Egg
1/3 cup Brown Sugar, loosely packed
1-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
4 TBS Brown Butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup Apple Cider (or juice)
For the Apple Cider Brown Butter Glaze
4 TBS Brown Butter, melted and cooled
1-1/2 TBS Apple Cider
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 to 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Heat a small skilled over a medium-low heat, add diced apples and 3 TBS apple cider, a pinch of cinnamon and salt. Cook until apples are brown and soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. In a bowl, mix together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside. Linea muffin tin with liners.
3. In a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl (or just a large bowl), whisk together the egg and brown sugar until creamed. Add vanilla extract, butter, apple juice and 1/3 cup apple cider and mix until smooth. Then gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix or gluten strands will form and your muffins will be more like bread. Fold in the diced apples, then use an ice cream scoop to fill each muffin liner about 2/3 of the way full.
4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until tops start to brown.
To make the glaze, mix together the brown butter, cider and vanilla, then mix in the powdered sugar until it reaches the proper consistency. Spread the cooled muffins with the glaze using a butter knife, or dip the muffins into the glaze and twist while pulling up.
By the way, brown butter is simply whole butter that you cook over a low heat until it begins to turn a golden brown, stirring constantly. It has a more caramel-like flavor than plain melted butter. But be careful to take it off the heat the minute it starts to brown. The difference between brown butter and burnt butter is about 30 seconds.