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Let me begin by saying where I got this recipe (and the one to follow.)  My mom and I were browsing our way through World Market, which is a fabulous store that I wish we had in Florida, and came across a book called 1 Mix, 100 Muffins by Susanna Tee.  Flipping through it, we found the concept of making one basic mix (with minor variations depending on the muffin) that can create 100 muffins to be worth our while, especially since we were making muffins for a breakfast my mom was hosting for the women in her Bible talk (or “small group” as they call them here) and wanted to try some new recipes.  The adorable little pink and brown book contains five categories, including Indulgent, Fruit & Nut, Celebratory, Savory, and Healthy, each and every one boasting delicious-looking muffins.  (A photo accompanies each recipe, which I think is incredibly important.)

So, since the first time making some of these muffins went well, I decided to make them again for a brunch get-together with the “Winthrop girls,” which are the girls from church who attend Winthrop University.  Winthrop is a charming, brick-clad, tree-lined university in Rock Hill, South Carolina, about 20 minutes south of Charlotte.  The school also sports the colors of Gryffindor, which is very cool.

I decided to make the apple streusel and citrus fruit muffins, both from the Fruit & Nut section, to stand alongside the quiche, fruit and spinach salad the others were bringing.  I made the apple streusels before and really liked them, and the citrus fruit ones looked cute and delicious, plus citrus is in season.

First, melt the butter (if you’re not using sunflower oil) and set aside to cool.  Then make the streusel topping and set it aside.  Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl.  Stir the brown sugar in next.  Peel, core and finely chop the apple.  Add to the flour mixture.  (The recipe calls for a 9 oz/250 g baking apple, which is about one large apple.)  I used a Granny Smith.

This next part is temperamental, so take special care.  Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl, then beat in the milk and oil or butter.  (If you’re using melted butter, make absolutely sure it is cooled.  It will scramble the eggs if it’s too warm.)  And in my experience, the milk solids in the melted butter will start to become solid again and won’t mix into the rest of the wet ingredients very well if you mix too slowly.  (This happened the first time I made these muffins and had to redo the wet ingredients.)  So learn from my mistake and mix the wet ingredients very fast, quickly add them to the dry ones and mix the whole thing together.  At this stage, mix until just combined.  Do not keep mixing or else you’ll end up with very dense muffins instead of moist ones.

Portion the batter into a 12-cup muffin pan and sprinkle the topping over each one.  Bake for about 20 minutes until “risen, golden brown and firm to the touch.”  I also tested the center with a toothpick.  (One of my mom’s friends gave me this tip: If you turn the oven on a little higher than a recommended temperature at the beginning and then turn it back down, muffins won’t stick to their liners as much.  I actually started at 400 and then dropped it down to 350.)

These are fabulous and versatile little creations, perfect for breakfast, brunch or even dessert!

Citrus fruit muffins are coming up next!

Apple Streusel Muffins

Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • heaping 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 9 oz/250 g baking apple
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tbsp sunflower oil or melted, cooled butter

For the streusel topping

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with 12 muffin liners.
  • To make the streusel topping, put the flour and cinnamon into a bowl.  Cut the butter into small pieces, add to the bowl with the flour, and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the sugar and set aside.
  • To make the muffins, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl.  Stir in the sugar.  Peel, core and finely chop the apple.  Add to the flour mixture and stir together.
  • Lightly beat the eggs in a large pitcher or bowl, then beat in the milk and oil or butter.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the beaten liquid ingredients.  Stir gently until just combined; do not overmix.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan.  Scatter the topping over each muffin.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until well risen, golden brown and firm to the touch.
  • Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
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