One of the best parts about fall is its bodacious bounty of fruits and veggies, from versatile squashes to licoricelike fennel and flavor-popped cranberries. Here in the Northeast, land of a gazillion orchards, you can hardly turn a corner without coming across a bag of freshly picked apples—and we like it that way just fine, thankyouverymuch. In addition to being the perfect grab-and-go healthy snack, apples, with their inherent sweetness, punch up a variety of savory dinner recipes, and play an easy starring role breakfasts and desserts, from apple muffins, apple pancakes, and apple pie to pretty much every pastry you can dream up.
Today, we’re sharing a healthy apple muffin recipe that’s been in continuous rotation here at Fresh American HQ since the season started. Although it’s a sweet apple recipe, the zing of cinnamon and crystallized ginger give it a sophisticated, warming flavor that’s ideal for chilly fall mornings. We dare you to eat just one.
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Apple and Crystalized Ginger Muffins
Recipe by Sarah Bessette
Makes 1 dozen
For the topping:
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
For the muffins:
- 2 ½ cups self-rising or pastry flour (whole-wheat pastry flour is a healthy alternative)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/3 cup safflower oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cup apples (we used Empire), cored and chopped, but not peeled
- ½ cup crystalized ginger chopped into small pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line or grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
2. Make the topping by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Make the muffins by mixing the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ground ginger in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla just until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients, and mix well. Fold in the apples and crystallized ginger.
4. Pour the batter evenly the muffin cups; they will be full. Sprinkle the topping evenly over each muffin. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Here are a few other creative apple recipes to try from around the blogosphere:
Counter the bitter bite of Brussels sprouts with the sweetness of apples and a brown butter dressing. You’ll want to double this one and take the leftovers to the office for lunch.
Tangy, chewy, and bursting with distinct flavors, this recipe is about as healthy (and pretty!) as they come. We much prefer the texture of cooked salmon in this dish.
Roasting the apples lends a richness to the flavors in this easy cold-weather-ready recipe. Use veggie broth and skip the bacon for a vegetarian version. No matter which version you choose, a high-quality aged cheddar is a must.
Because who doesn’t love a sweet, chewy candy with a grown-up hint of fermented cider?
This recipe is perfect for using up that day-old baguette. Sweet, harvest-y, and satisfying, with a memorable one-two punch of molasses and ginger. Bonus: with all the raisins in the recipe, you can easily cut back on the sugar.
This drink, featuring spiced rum, maple syrup, and apple cider set off with the acidity of freshly squeezed lime juice, makes us feel like donning a flannel shirt and work boots, and kicking back by the fire in a log cabin. Yum.