Saturday, 21 June 2014

Mixed Berries and Apple Muffins

Mixed Berries and Apple Muffins
Like for these soft "cookie-buns" with milk chocolate chunks that I published a few weeks ago, this recipe was not intended for the blog because somehow improvised with ingredients I had on hand and, most important of all, conceived just with the intention of preparing something healthy and yummy for my child's "merenda" (this is how in Italy we call kids afternoon snack). Instead of giving him simply an apple, as I often do, I wanted to use apples as the main ingredient of a more nutritious, yet light and sane, snack.  I had at home some green apples (I am not a fan of their sour taste, I don't even know why I bought them, maybe just to change: I always buy Golden apples or red apples, like Gala, but rarely Granny Smith) and also frozen mixed berries that I wanted to combine. Since I wanted to put in place this idea straightaway, I searched for help on the internet, which is perfect if you have only a little time (I love referring to cooking books or magazines, but searching for inspiration there requires much more time than putting some key-words on Google); I hope that my work on this blog could help people who like me search for a quick inspiration when deciding to cook something. Since I wanted to make something also easy to handle (my child is only two years old) I tough of making a batch of muffins with apples and berries as main ingredients.

Mixed Berries and Apple Muffins I found several inspiring recipes, but I was searching for something also healthy, that for me means possibly with no butter, very little sugar or better sugar substitutes, whole grain flours, etc. And so the final inspiration came from a recipe published on a blog that I did not know before (sallybakingaddiction), but perfectly in line with my requests. Of course I did not have on hand part of the ingredients the recipe called for, like applesauce, yogurt, blackberries (I had mixed berries instead); also I wanted to swap white whole wheat flour used in the original recipe for spelt flour (for which I have a particular affection as showed in these bread, cake, and cookies) and, as I have recently tried with great satisfaction the local laban (an Arab yogurt drink) in this raspberry laban cake, I wanted to use it again in this recipe to replace yogurt and milk. Well, the end of the story is that these muffins came out very good: super moist, packed with healthy fruits, not too sweet and really enjoyable. These berries and apple muffins are the demonstration that healthy sweets can be also very good!

Mixed Berries and Apple Muffins

Mixed Berries and Apple Muffins
inspired by sallybakingaddiction 
makes 16 muffin
380 g whole grain spelt flour 1
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 1/2 tsp baking powder (about 18 g)
1/8 tsp baking soda (about 0,7 g)
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium or 4 small apples, peeled and diced into small pieces
90 g dark brown sugar (or light brown)
380 ml laban 2
70 ml sunflower oil (or other vegetable oil) 3
60 ml maple syrup 4
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
250 g fresh or frozen mixed berries, chopped 5
Oat streusel
3 tbsp dark brown sugar (or light brown)
3 tbsp old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 220°C and line a muffin tin with baking cups, or grease each cup.
Make the streusel:  in a small bowl mix the brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon and set aside.
For the muffins, in a large bowl mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chopped apples. In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, maple syrup, laban, oil and vanilla until well combined and smooth.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir with a spatula until combined. Do not overmix the batter.
Pour 1 tablespoon of batter into each muffin tin.  Top with some pieces of chopped berries, then cover with more muffin batter until the muffin cups are filled up to the top; top with some more pieces of berries then sprinkle with the streusel.
Bake the muffins at 220°C for 5 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 190 °C and bake for another 15-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
Muffins keep well at room temperature for up to 3 days (or can be frozen for up to 3 months. I like to thaw them at room temperature and warm in the oven for few minutes before serving).
1The original recipe calls for white whole wheat flour; alternatively it is possible to use half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour  or only all-purpose flour.
2 125 ml Yogurt (apple cinnamon flavored or plain) and 250 ml milk (almond in particular) are used in the original recipe
3 The original recipe calls for 125 ml applesauce instead
4 It is possible to use 40 g more brown sugar instead of maple syrup

5 Only blackberries in the original
Mixed Berries and Apple Muffins

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