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Zucchini Applesauce Muffins

Zucchini Applesauce Muffins
I discovered a couple forgotten zucchinis buried deep in the bottom of a refrigerator drawer. A couple weeks ago they were destined for the grill, but they were a bit wrinkly and becoming borderline unusable. Past their prime, I figured the best way to put them to use was to bake. After a great debate over doing a quickbread or something else, I settled on zucchini applesauce muffins.

I always joke that muffins are just rustic little cakes that often have a faux healthy vibe. Don’t be fooled by the applesauce! It added a subtle apple flavor to the muffins, but it didn’t replace another ingredient as it sometimes does in certain recipes. Nope, these muffins are a full-on treat with chopped bittersweet chocolate folded into the batter and even sprinkled on top. Bonus: they do have spelt flour!
Zucchini Applesauce Muffins

Zucchini Applesauce Muffins
Loosely adapted from Martha Stewart Living September 2014

Makes 12 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup spelt flour
2-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1-1/14 cups granulated sugar
3 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup roughly chopped bittersweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar, zucchini and vanilla extract. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients followed by 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate. Transfer the batter the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate.

Bake the muffins for 22-25 minutes until the tops spring back when pressed. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing the muffins and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

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Whole-Wheat Cranberry Orange Pistachio Muffins

Whole-Wheat Cranberry Orange Pistachio Muffins
I am feeling the March blues in the kitchen, or maybe I should call it cook’s block. The streak of unusually warm weather has been kind of a tease. I’ve hung up my puffy coat in favor of my light jacket, but everything outside is still brown. All the lush greens of spring veggies have not sprung, so I’m at a bit of a loss about what to make.

Lately I’ve been more inspired to bake. Feeling the need to take a break from dessert, I baked these whole-wheat cranberry orange pistachio muffins. With fall and winter flavors, these muffins were perfectly timed for the current state of seasonal limbo. The brightness of the citrus added just enough zip to keep me going until spring.
Whole-Wheat Cranberry Orange Pistachio Muffins
Whole-Wheat Cranberry Orange Pistachio Muffins

Adapted from Cooking Light March 2017

Makes 12 muffins

1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium ripe banana mashed (about 1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped unsalted pistachios

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until it turns golden, gently swirling the pan, about 90 seconds. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, yogurt, brown sugar, vanilla extract, banana, egg, orange zest and orange juice. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients followed by the cranberries and pistachios.

Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Muffins
I get my hair cut at a vegan, cruelty-free salon. My stylist has a way of taming my curls, and it’s important to me to use natural, non-toxic products. Whenever I am there, I read all sorts of veggie food magazines from cover to cover. They are filled with so much recipe inspiration that by the time I’m finished with my appointment, I have convinced myself that I should go vegan or at least try it out.

Inspired after my last trip to the salon, I baked vegan apple cinnamon muffins. They tasted just as amazing, if not better, than the usual batter loaded with eggs and butter. I loved starting these early October mornings with the combination of Granny Smith apples and cinnamon. They had such a tender crumb and the right amount of sweetness that I’m planning to adapt the recipe depending on the season.
Vegan Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Vegan Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Adapted from Flour, Too by Joanne Chang

Makes 12 muffins

2-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups plain soy milk
1 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, baking powder, salt and 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, soy milk, cider vinegar and vanilla extract. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined followed by the apples.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Combine the remaining cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle the tops of the muffins. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden brown and they spring back when lightly pressed in the middle. Cool in the pan on a wire rack before serving.

Store in an airtight container.

Raspberry Spelt Muffins

Raspberry Spelt Muffins
I’ve been pretty much stuffing my face with berries ever since the beginning of the summer. A pint or even a quart is no problem for me to polish off in a single sitting. Lately, I’ve been on a raspberry kick. I can’t get enough of those sweet, tart berries with their tiny seeds. Usually I don’t do anything special to them, but last weekend I baked raspberry spelt muffins.

There is a partial bag of spelt flour in my pantry, so whenever I have the opportunity to whittle it down, I take it. This muffin recipe starts out by creaming the butter and sugar, just like a cupcake. The result is an extra light and tender crumb. You don’t have to use raspberries. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or even a mix would work well, too.
Raspberry Spelt Muffins
Raspberry Spelt Muffins
Adapted from Ripe by Nigel Slater

Makes 12 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup spelt flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1-1/2 cups raspberries
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon old-fashioned oats

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, and then the vanilla extract and yogurt until fully combined.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients followed by the raspberries. Divide the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar and oats. Bake for 22-25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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