September always brings back fond memories of Sunday drives to the apple orchard. Growing up in Michigan we had one just down the road and a handful of others within a short drive. Didn’t realize how spoiled I was until living in Chicago and driving over an hour (in expressway traffic, not through beautiful countryside) to visit an apple orchard….and it shut down the year after I discovered it. Living in Boston we didn’t have them either, but at least the local farm stand sold homemade apple cider doughnuts on weekends.
And who’s kidding who…the apple orchard is really all about those apple cider doughnuts. These apple cider sweetened cake doughnuts are fried in front of you then dusted with cinnamon sugar. The smell is divine. Seriously one of my favorite foods ever!!
In London I have yet to track down an apple orchard with those doughnuts, let alone pick-your-own apples or apple cider (ok, there is apple cider here but it’s alcoholic….good but not the same).
Finding this recipe was a bit of a revelation. These muffins have the flavor of those amazing apple cider doughnuts without the fuss of frying. Plus I love the mini size. I cannot stop popping just one more in my mouth. And the recipe couldn’t be easier.
So celebrate the upcoming season of fall apples, color changes and Indian summer with these warm, buttery, cinnamon muffins with a hint of apple. No nostalgic country apple orchard required.
Apple Cider Doughnut Muffins (makes 24 mini-muffins)
Note: Apple cider in this recipe refers to a non-alcoholic beverage similar to apple juice. The difference is that cider is typically fresher – unfiltered and unpasteurized – with a shorter shelf-life. In the States it’s available at farm stands, apple orchards and some supermarkets. If you can’t find cider, then use the best quality apple juice you can find.
1 cup (250 ml) apple cider (non-alcoholic) or good quality apple juice
1 large egg
3 tablespoons (40 grams) melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups (250 grams) plain, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons (55 grams) butter
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. In a liquid measuring cup (or small bowl), whisk together the apple cider/juice, egg, butter and vanilla.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (flour through ginger), ensuring that there are no clumps of brown sugar (I used my fingers to remove any clumps). Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined, being careful not to overmix. A few remaining streak of flour and a few lumps are ok – they’ll come out in the baking. However if you overmix you’ll have a dry, hard muffin.
Spray one 24 capacity mini-muffin pan or two 12 capacity mini-muffin pans generously with nonstick spray. Divide batter evenly. Cook for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and a toothpicks inserted in a muffin in the center comes out clean.
While muffins are cooking, melt butter in one small dish and combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a second small dish.
As soon as muffins are removed from the oven, gently tap them out of the pan and place them on a rack. While they are still as hot as you can stand to handle them, dip the top of each one, first in the melted butter and then in the cinnamon sugar. If sugar starts getting a bit clumpy towards the end, don’t worry. As long as it sticks to the top it’ll taste fine.
Eat while still warm or store in an airtight container for a few days.
Adapted from dlynz.com