There are muffins these days that could double as dessert.
You know the ones I mean — the ones we all fall for because they’re covered in irresistible streusel or sugary glaze that we con ourselves into thinking are still perfect breakfast food.
These are not those kinds of muffins.
“Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins” are not overly sweet, especially because I was forced to cut the light brown sugar amount in half when I realized my box was nearly depleted and I was too lazy to run to the store. (Hey, what can I say?) But you can use the full 1/2 cup measure of brown sugar plus 1/2 cup granulated and they’d still be far from sugar bombs.
The recipe is from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” (W.W. Norton & Company) by Amy Traverso. The book, of which I received a review copy, has become my go-to source for apple recipes, what with its range from savory apple uses (“Duck Panzanella with Apples and Thyme” to sweet ones (“Rustic Apple Brown Betty”).
I used a Pinata apple from Washington State for this recipe. The apple variety, of which I received a sample, is a cross between the Golden Delicious and two heirloom varieties from Europe: Cox’s Orange Pippin and Duchess of Oldenburg. It has a thin skin and a great crunch to it. The flavor is sweet with a slight pineapple note to it. The apples are now available at Mollie Stone’s. Safeway also will be carrying them in February. They retail for about $1.99 per pound.
The muffins are moist, tender treats with the homey taste of pumpkin, apples, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and walnuts.
They make for a perfect way to start the morning.
So, if you still have a can of pumpkin puree lurking in your cupboard from the holidays, dig it out. Go on.
Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
(Makes 15 standard size muffins)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (or you can use only 1/4 cup, too, if you prefer a less sweet muffin)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup walnut oil or vegetable oil
1 large firm-sweet apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 walnut halves for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners or grease with butter. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and cloves. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, apple, chopped walnuts, and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine (do not overmix). At this point, you can refrigerate the batter until the next day, if you wish. If not, divide the batter among the 15 muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full, and top each with a walnut half if desired. Bake until muffins are puffed and golden and a cake tester comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let muffins cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then serve warm.
Adapted from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” by Amy Traverso
Other Amy Traverso recipes: Apple-Stuffed Biscuit Buns
And: Apple Brownies