Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Adventures in Cooking - Easy spicy apple muffins

It's Winter, and I'm trying to fight the flab, so I was browsing some cooking websites last week looking for some healthy snacks to make. I came across a recipe that originated on the Reader's Digest wesbite and it sounded like it was right up my alley: spicy? Yum. Apple? My favourite flavour. Muffins?Mmmm...carby goodness.
So, on Sunday night I baked some. It was super easy. Check it:

1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 cup soft brown sugar
2 sachets (about 40 grams each) apple flavoured instant porridge
2 tbsp olive oil spread (or margarine)
1 tsp bi-carb soda
1 tsp mixed spice
1 jar (250 grams) unsweetened apple sauce
2 tbsp canola oil
2 medium eggs
1 medium green apple

The good thing about this recipe is that it's dairy free - the apple sauce reduces the fatty content that would be there if you used butter, and there's also no milk, so that keeps the dairy-free peeps happy. You can also use wholemeal flour to be super healthy.

Total prep and cooking time: 30 - 40 minutes

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (I have a fan forced oven, so I lowered it to about 170 degrees) Mix all the dry ingredients together. Take one cup of the mixed dry ingredients and set it aside – you’ll use this later on. In the main bowl of mixed dry ingredients, rub the olive oil spread in with your fingers (you can see the blob of it below) – there isn’t a lot, so it won’t mix through the whole thing, but just massage it enough so that it separates a bit.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then mix them together the apple sauce and the oil. The oil is kind of weird and hard to mix in, but if you give it a brisk whisk (rhyming – woo!) for about a minute or so it should sort of mix itself through the apple sauce and the eggs.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the apple sauce mix into it. Stir the ingredients together until they are just combined (don’t get too crazy stirring it together, the mixture should stay quite lumpy).
It looks kind of gross, but that's mostly the porridge making everything look yuck. It's not yuck though, I promise.
Time to chop the apple! I think chopping an apple is fairly self-explanatory, but here are some pictures anyway.
Now, grab a muffin tray and spray it lightly with olive oil spray.
Put spoonfuls of the mix into the muffin tray thingies (compartments? Moulds? I don’t know what the right term is) so that they are almost filled (these will rise a bit, but not too high).
Hey, remember that cup full of the dry ingredients you set aside? Grab it and sprinkle little handfuls of it on the top of each bit of the raw mix in the muffin tray thingies.

Now slide that baby into the oven and set the timer for about 10 minutes. When the bell chimes, insert a toothpick into a couple of the muffins to check if they’re cooked through (if the toothpick comes out clean, they’re done). Let them cool, then take them out of the muffin tray (DO NOT tip the tray over and flip them out onto the bench top – the dry crumble topping will go everywhere, trust me). spicy apple muffins.....
Once they have cooled down a bit, enjoy them plain or with a bit of low fat vanilla yoghurt. (I almost just wrote “low fate yoghurt” – I wonder what low fate yoghurt entails – yoghurt with fairly weak philosophical beliefs perhaps?)
See? So easy!
If you have some bebbes, you could cook these in mini muffin trays for a more kid-friendly sized snack.
Also, you can substitute the apple for a semi-ripe pear to change the flavour slightly.

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