One of the things I love about October (aside from Halloween – more of which next week, we promise) is not this relentlessly drizzly weather, but what I shall elegantly refer to as ‘the harvest thing’. Harvest festival always warms my cockles and returns to me to my grey pinnafore wearing schooldays.
I am currently enjoying a glut of apples. Both sets of parents have trees (cooking apples) and we have a tree (singular) of tiny, surprisingly delicious eating apples – and I am keen not to waste a singe pippin. We are currently ladling cooked apple and blackberry onto our morning porridge/yoghurt, but I am on the hunt for inspiration. My Smitten Kitchen cookbook was my first port of call – these wholewheat apple muffins are calling my name. Here’s Deb’s (yep, I like to think we’re on first-name terms) amazing photography and recipe:
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.
Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
I am also feeling madly keen on these Apple Cinnamon Buns. Anyone who follows Alex and I on Twitter will know that we are obsessed with the cinnamon buns from Gail’s Bakery – they are so good it is probably illegal. So I am willing to give anything involving cinnamon a whirl. I want to eat these more than I can say.
1 cup (140g) diced apple without peel
1/3 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup (190ml) milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup (75g) white sugar
1 3/4 cups (220g) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon aniseed
1. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger and aniseed (if using the latter).
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar mixture, salt, milk and apple sauce. Do not overbeat.
3. Stir in diced apples. Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin cups.
4. Bake at 200 degrees C (390˚F) for 20 to 25 minutes.
One of the nicest presents I received last Christmas was homemade apple chutney – complete with homemade label and fabric-cloth-top. I have been saving glass jars in an optimistic bid to make my own. It feels very appropriate to turn to Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess for a recipe.
Nigella’s Spiced Apple Chutney
500g cooking apples
1 medium onion
2 bird’s-eye chillies
250g demerara sugar
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp sea salt
1 heaped tbsp. chopped or grated fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric
250 ml cider vinegar
4 x 250ml jars or equivalent
- Peel and roughly chop the apples, and finely chop the onion. Seed the chillies and chop them finely.
- Put all the ingredients in a pan, and bring to the boil. Cook over a medium heat for 30-40 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Spoon into cleaning jars (I’ve read before that you should run them through the dishwasher on the hottest cycle).
That’s it. Honestly. That’s my type of recipe: throw it all in a pan and voila.