These muffins came about because of a mistake. Well, perhaps mistake is the wrong word. Let me explain. Lately, I have been very obsessed with soups. They’re comforting and make me feel cozy on these cold pre-winter days and nights. There was a very large bag of fresh apples from a local orchard sitting on our kitchen counter-top, and the more I looked at them, the more I wanted to try making an apple soup. Looking around the Internet, I found a few recipes that looked promising, and then used them as a bit of a base to create my own apple soup recipe. It included apples, sweet potato, carrot, celery, onions, vegetable stock, apple cider, a dollop of coconut milk and a few spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. After pureeing the ingredients into a soup and putting it back into the pot, I was a bit overwhelmed by the sweetness. While it tasted good as a type of sauce, it wasn’t what I wanted a bowl of soup to taste like. When I had my father taste it and asked if he’d eat it, he replied, “Yes, I’d eat it. Once. But it isn’t something I’d ask for again. And I probably wouldn’t eat a second bowl.” It just didn’t taste enough like a soup. I was a bit disheartened, but not wanting to waste what I’d made, because I was convinced that it could still work as something, I put the mixture into the fridge and left it for later.
And then! The next day it struck me… that bag of apples was still on the counter-top and I wanted something tasty and baked. Muffins! Why not? What I’d made tasted sauce-like and apple muffins taste best when made with apple sauce. And so this recipe for apple muffins was born. Now, I know it may seem weird to use a soup base as the apple sauce in the recipe. When I tasted the batter before baking, there was a slight hint of the onions in it, but upon baking you’d never know that originally the sauce was supposed to be a soup; no hint of onions at all. The muffins are light, fluffy, and tasty. My father and I have been devouring them, and I made a second batch tonight using the rest of the apple-sauce-soup. Now, if you make these I wouldn’t suggest going through all the extra hassle of making an apple soup first; just use homemade apple sauce instead. But this was a great reminder to me that even if something doesn’t turn out as it was originally intended, that it could be saved and used in another dish and still turn out tasty and delicious.
¾ cup + 2 1/2 TB brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans (see note in the directions for how I smash these up)
1 tsp + ½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/3 cup oat flour (put oats in a blender or food processor, and blend until a fine flour forms)
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup apple sauce (mistake soup!)
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into bite sized chunks.
- Preheat the oven to 400F and either line muffin tins with paper cups or spray with cooking spray.
- Mix together the pecans, 3 TB of brown sugar and ½ tsp of cinnamon. (One great way to do this is to put everything together in a plastic baggie, before the pecans have been chopped/crushed. After everything is in, close the baggie and use something blunt–I used a can of cranberries–to crush the pecans, and then shake the bag to mix) Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, sift together the oat and whole-purpose flours, salt, baking soda, and the remainder of the cinnamon.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk the remainder of the brown sugar, and the oil together. Add in the eggs, the applesauce, and the vanilla. Mix well.
- Slowly stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon. (I added the flour in 3 stages. Don’t over-stir, or the muffins won’t be light and fluffy. Only stir until the wet and dry mixture are combined.)
- Stir in the apple chunks.
- Pour the batter into the muffin tins and spoon the pecan mix on top.
- Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes, or until a fork, toothpick or other pointy object inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean.
- Let cool so your fingers and mouth don’t get burned and enjoy!