I made a batch of apple muffins because I was wallowing. I thought about lying and telling you I made them because the air is crisp and the leaves are changing. Perhaps I should say the smoke from my neighbor’s fireplace was tickling my nose and making me think about cable knit sweaters and baking. Those reasons get me feeling all dreamy but they would be fake. Nope. Today I baked because I was feeling down in the dumps and I just needed to see a project through from start to finish, any project, so I made muffins.
Don’t get me wrong, these are outstanding apple muffins. They are full of tender bits of fresh apple and all those lovely things people say about fall foods. I have been thinking about making a batch for a few weeks but all the time I have been putting into the new business has left little room to cook for fun.
Which brings me to why I’m bummed. Half Her Size cooking classes have not suddenly taken the world by storm. Thursday will not be the first day but the remaining dates are still open but I’m not going to lie, I had very elaborate fantasies about how quickly the word would spread and the classes would sell out. I know it takes time to build momentum but darn it, I wished to prove the exception and not the rule.
I have been wondering how to better convey the intention of these events. From now on I am going to call them Hands-On Dinner Parties. I am so excited to share the joy of cooking and eating for weight loss and healthy living. These are not hum-drum classes where you have to memorize everything, let’s just get into the kitchen and have a good time. The point is to stir things up and bit and break out of the normal routine. These Hands-On Parties are for you to learn but also have fun with healthy living.
I can see the parties so clearly. There is a group of eager cooks both new and familiar all clad in a rainbow of aprons. We will gather around the counter and stuff a chicken with herbs and fresh lemon, a few people are squeamish about sticking their hand into the raw carcass, others are old pros. More than one joke is made about the look and feel of a whole raw chicken. While the bird roasts, the kitchen warms and starts to smell like a Sunday afternoon. Next we’ll move on to shredding meat for a lighter, but no less creamy, version of tradition chicken salad to munch while dicing the carrots and onions for a shockingly simple down home chicken soup. Everyone will have loosened up by the time we tackle poaching eggs and by the time we gather around the table and click glasses over our meal we have bonded in a new tribe of shared experience. By the end of the evening everyone will leave reluctantly with their head, heart, and stomach full from an evening around the kitchen table. Each carrying a bundle of goodies to feed them again the next day and use in a recipe at home.
So please come on over and join me for an evening of good friends, good food, and inappropriate remarks about poultry. We are going to have a blast!
- 1¼ cups rolled oats, ground into a coarse flour
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ⅔ cup grapeseed, safflower or other neutral flavored oil
- ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 4 cups of peeled and ½ inch diced fresh apples, start with about 1½ pounds of apples
- Set the oven rack to the vertical middle and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line your muffin tins with paper cups or spray with non-stick spray.
- Set aside 2 tablespoons of the ground oats. In medium mixing bowl combine the remaining oats with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Toss the diced apples with 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture then set both aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl, beat together the oil and sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time stirring on low speed until the batter is a uniform color.
- Add ⅓ of the total buttermilk and stir a few times. Then add ½ of the flour mixture and mix until it has just barely incorporated into the batter. Continue to alternate adding the remaining buttermilk and flour mixture mixing just enough to combine between each step. Finish with the buttermilk and stir a few extra times so the batter is a uniform color and consistency.
- Fold the apples into the batter so they are evenly distributed.
- Scoop the batter into the muffin cups by the ¼ cup - adjust the amount if needed so the batter fills most of the cup but does not come to the top. Sprinkle the muffins with the reserved oats then bake for 18-22 minutes. The muffins should be golden on top and slightly springy to the touch (be careful they are hot).
- Let the muffins cool to just above room temperature before serving.