October is arguably the best month in the Pacific Northwest: it’s cooling down but still mostly sunny, the leaves are turning, and it’s finally time for u-pick crops that won’t stain your fingers! Berries are great, but apples are something else. The varieties you can find in orchards all over Washington and Oregon range from the classic and well-rounded Liberty to the crazy colorful Cripps Pink. My favorite apple for eating out of hand is Fuji, but for baking, Jonagolds are best.
These muffins won’t make a huge dent in your u-pick haul, but they are a great way to showcase the fruit and to get your kids involved in the kitchen. Muffins are the perfect treat to bake with kids, because the chemistry is pretty simple and it’s mostly a lot of stirring. 24 muffins is the perfect amount to share with friends and still have enough leftover for snacks and to enjoy with your morning coffee, but this recipe can be halved if you’re looking for a smaller batch.
Makes 2 dozen muffins
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup oil (use whatever you have on hand, I almost always use a mixture of coconut and olive oil)
1 tbsp vanilla
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups diced apples; about 2 medium-large apples (peeled if you prefer)
demerara sugar for topping
Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare 2 muffin tins with liners.
Peel, core, and chop the apples into pieces no bigger than an inch. Set aside, and squeeze some lemon juice on them if you’re worried about browning while you make the muffin batter.
Cream the sugar and oil in a large bowl, and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well until totally combined and smooth.
Sift the dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine.
Add dry to wet. The batter will be very thick, almost like cookie dough. Just keep stirring until all the flour is mixed in.
Using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, fold in the diced apples. The batter won’t coat the apples, so just try to get the apple pieces well distributed throughout.
Using an ice cream scoop, your hands, or two spoons, fill the lined muffin tins at least ¾ of the way full. Sprinkle the tops with sugar (or streusel, if you’re feeling ambitious!).
Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes until tops are golden brown and crunchy but the muffins are still moist.
These muffins will last a few days, well covered, on the counter, and slightly longer in the fridge. They have a tendency to get a bit soggy after 3 or so days, but it’s improbable that they’ll last that long unscarfed!