Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Second straight apple post.

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins 1

(I blame the apple bread.)

Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? I’m 30 (I literally typed 33 first. I don’t know why. I am 30. Why am I unintentionally making myself older?! Sigh.) and I still have no idea what I want to be. Perhaps I should probably learn now to add…

I love to bake. But would I want to make a career out of it? I feel that once I make this my job, it’ll change. It won’t be fun. It’ll be work. I also stress hard core when people try something I make. Will they like it?! Did it come out okay?! I once made desserts for a friends wedding, and I could barely relax the entire time hoping the guests liked everything. Could you imagine me selling an entire store of treats? I’d probably die.

I love to write. I’ve always had a fantasy of writing a book. And it’ll totally be chick-lit. I’m 30 and I’m obsessed with chick-lit. #notsorry. But again, once it becomes my job, will I still have the same passion? Will it be natural? Or will it cause me stress because I’ll have to worry if anything I write is “good enough”? Would anyone read it? I’m surprised there are people that read this and like it.

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I also secretly have always wanted to be a dancer. But the video of my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding quickly squashed that idea. I am THAT GIRL that jumps and points when she dances. (Hence why we did NOT have a videographer for our wedding. Learned that lesson quick.) Also: sorry Steve and Melissa. You will forever have those images to live with.

The only thing I have ever come close to wanting to be when I grow up is…this. This right here. A full-time food blogger. (Well, this and working at Trader Joe’s. Because, HELLO. Trader Joe’s.) But even this can have its limitations. Will I get as much satisfaction as I do now when it’s only a hobby? Would anyone even WANT me to do this full-time? Would anyone read?

The truth though, is that I really can try and do any/all of what I just wrote about. Except the dancing. NO ONE needs to see that. It all comes down to fear. Fear in failure. Fear in my abilities. Fear in succeeding? Because sometimes succeeding can be even scarier than not taking the chance at all. It comes down to having confidence and the balls to just take that leap.

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While I’m not there…yet, the one thing I AM confident in? These muffins. I swear, IF I were to take that giant leap and open a bakery, I’d serve TONS of muffins and quick breads. I’m just so obsessed!! But whyyyyyyy are they always so bad for you? You see a muffin and think it’d be a nice, responsible breakfast item. NOPE. They’re usually so full of fat and calories, it even has my head spinning.

But these? Oh boy. Not only are these beauties made with whole wheat flour (yay whole grains!), but they’re also naturally sweetened! No refined sugar here, folks. These are sweetened with pure maple syrup (keep Aunt Jemima in the cabinet where she belongs) and unsweetened apple sauce. And instead of butter? Melted coconut oil.

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins 5

In my previous post about my most favorite apple bread on the planet, the apples are sliced because I love the texture of being able to bite into an apple while eating a slice (or 7). But here, the apples are shredded so that they can really melt into the muffin and create an amazing apple flavor.

Cinnamon is added to the batter because, well, apples and cinnamon just go together. Like peanut butter and jelly. And peanut butter and chocolate. And peanut butter and ANYTHING. I just LOVE baking with cinnamon. It just adds such a warmth to anything it’s mixed in. I just love that flavor.

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The pecans are added because they create a wonderful crunch to the muffins. Because the apples are shredded and don’t add any texture to the muffins, the crunch from the pecans are just NEEDED. If you don’t like pecans? Go for walnuts. Don’t like walnuts, add some pumpkin seeds. Add anything you want! Or, you know, if you don’t like nuts, simply leave them out. No one is judging you. …..or are they?

I made these over the weekend during the great Winter Storm Jonas. We had over 2 feet of snow in New York City, and these could not have been the more perfect and comforting thing to bake. A warm apple cinnamon muffin while the world is pretty much ending outside? Jonas: 0 Deanna: 1

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Stacks on stacks on stacks.

***

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Recipe by: Sally’s Baking Addiction

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat. Feel free to use any flour you have on hand: even regular all-purpose!)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (increase to 1 tablespoon if you really LOVE cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 chopped pecans (or any other nut)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 oil (coconut, vegetable, canola are all fine)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded apple (about 2 apples. I used Pink Lady apples)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or use cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pecans together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, oil, applesauce, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir a few times, then add the grated apple. Fold everything together gently just until combined and no flour pockets remain.
  3. Spoon the batter into liners, filling them all the way to the top. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for an additional 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 23-24 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool until ready to eat.
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Apple Bread

Alternate title: “Out of this World Apple Bread”

Apple Bread 2

More alternate titles: “Forget How to Act Like a Human Being Apple Bread”. “I Have No Words Apple Bread”.

The first time I had this bread, I could literally see my self control fly out the window. It looked over its shoulder, threw a peace sign my way and BOUNCED. Unfortunately, this all happened while I was at work. Trying to still be a professional in front of all of my co-workers, while my world was rocked was difficult. I don’t think I pulled it off.

My boss at the time, made this bread and brought it into work. It’s her mother’s (affectionately knows as “Jimmie”) recipe. Jimmie used to make this bread and bring some to the school staff where my boss went to elementary school. As a result of this bread, let’s just say that my boss and her siblings didn’t get in much trouble as they probably could have 🙂

Let me tell ya, after tasting this bread, I GET IT.

Apple Bread 5

Whenever my former boss (affectionately known as  “VD”) makes this, she always has to being me a loaf because I’m a brat and need this in my life. On one such occasion, I was able to hold off eating it at work and brought it home. Let me just set this scene for you.

I was home alone in the apartment waiting for my (now) husband (what?!) to come home from work. I unwrapped the bread, just to smell it. Yes. TO SMELL IT. As I was doing that, a piece fell off the end. I had to eat it. I mean, who am I to let this little piece go uneaten? It was practically jumping off the loaf FOR me. I ate it, melted into a puddle of goo because it always makes my knees go weak, and tried to move on. I moved the bread and OMG IT STARTED TO BREAK IN HALF. I looked around the apt (not sure who I was looking for as I was the ONLY person home), and started eating the pieces that continued to break off. I felt like I was a bad ass doing something that I know I probably shouldn’t, but I just couldn’t help myself.

I don’t know what happened. I think I blacked out. The next thing I know, my husband walks through the door to find me hunched over the bread stuffing my face. He startled me by closing the door and it’s like I was a sewer rat being caught going through the garbage. I looked up wide-eyed mid chew. He approached me slowly, like I was a wild animal about to attack (because really, wasn’t I? WASN’T I?) to see what I was doing. He got closer and I shoved the bread in him face and begged him to take it away from me. I’m shocked he still loves me.

Apple Bread 3

This is what happens. Every.single.time. I am near this bread. I lose my control. It’s like I forget how to be a normal functioning human being.

BUT IT’S SO GOOD.

One of the (many) weird things about me and what I bake, is that I don’t often make the things I am crazy about. Linzer Cookies? Love them to death, but have yet to make them. Why? Because I love them enough already that I don’t need another way for them to become accessible to me. And I’m proud enough to admit that I don’t want to make them and then have them not come out good.

VD sent me this recipe a while ago, and held off for SO LONG without making it. I knew it would be bad news bears if I made it. But I just couldn’t hold off any longer. The original recipe makes 2 loaves, so I just adjusted it and split the recipe in half to make one smaller loaf. I did NOT need 2 loaves of this bread in my apartment.

I was so nervous making this because Jimmie’s recipe is just perfection, and I didn’t want to mess it up. I was nervous through every step. Once it was done baking and I let it cool for a little (not a long time because, hi, I have no patience) I went in for the kill.

Apple Bread 4

Oh good Lord above. Jimmie, we’ve never met, but I love you. How cold and dark my life would be without this bread.

I’ve only ever had this bread at room temperature, because I never made it until now, but ohmygosh. It’s SO good warm. This bread just exudes warmth and comfort. The flavors, the smells, the texture. It’s all just perfection. You look at the ingredient list and there is nothing out of the ordinary. Just everyday ingredients that, when they come together, create something that I just can’t get enough of. Yes, I know we’re past the height of apple season, and we’re all into the holidays, but let me tell ya. This bread is amazing all year round.

After I made this, I kept taking tiny slice and after slice and before I realized it, literally more than half was already gone. Zero self-control. But I made it again, because this is a recipe that deserves to be shared and one that everyone needs in your lives. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Apple Bread 6

Alternate Title: “Let Me Write a Blog Post of Over 900 Words to Describe How Much I Love This Apple Bread” 😐 (I apologize for nothing)

*****

Jimmie’s Apple Bread

(Recipe by: The one and only Jimmie Greenwood)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups thinly sliced apples (I used 2 golden delicious apples)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8×4 loaf pan (line the pan with parchment paper if you want to REALLY make sure the bread comes out smoothly).
  • Cream together the sugar and oil, then add the egg and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Gently fold in the apples.
  • Spread the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Let cool and then INHALE.