Friday, June 25, 2010

Applesauce muffins with walnuts and goji berries

Muffins. Warm muffins straight out of the oven. Mmmmmm. It conjures to mind a country style kitchen, where a red-cheeked cook pulls out a whole tray full of these lovely babies outta the oven with a pair of worn frayed kitchen gloves. In my dictionary, muffins are homely creatures.

Applesauce muffins with walnuts and goji berries

Homemade applesauce; Labels

I found a recipe for homemade applesauce cos I didn't want to waste money on store bought ones when you can make your own just with one ingredient - apples. It's much cheaper, must tastier, and much healthier as you get to control what goes into the applesauce. The recipe I found bakes the apples in the oven instead of cooking over the stove tops as many recipes do. I was instantly captured. Baking fruits brings out the best of the fruit flavours as certain fruits tend to bubble and caramalise, releasing a sticky sweet juice from its own sugars. It's one heady aroma.

I thought that it would be fun to create a label and stick it onto a recycled jam jar as part of the photo prop session. Heh. Cutting out a piece of paper, writing the words in my neatest handwriting, finding a piece of red ribbon and white dolly, omg, so quaint looking! Gosh. The ridiculous things I do to fulfill my obsession with food photography. Tsk tsk.

Bowl of apples

I made a huge batch of applesauce one weekend a few months back, with plenty of recipe ideas in my mind. I read online that applesauce can replace oil in certain baked goods, therefore reducing the amount of fat in a recipe. In fact, in the week I made this hugeass batch of applesauce, I used it for these muffins, a granola recipe and an awesome chocolate cake for a friend's birthday (coming up soon!). I love love love the applesauce! I added a sprinkle of brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger when I was mashing the baked apples. On a random note, babies' diets include mashed fruit purees doesn't it? Imagine feeding it to a baby! Omg. That would be one helluva very happy baby cos the applesauce is seriously good stuff. Heh.

Just outta the oven

These are now officially one of my favourite all-time muffins (move over banana pear muffins!) and I've made them again yesterday as my cousin was arriving back in Singapore for her school hols and I wanted to share them with her.

Here's the recipe. I've made the usual changes when I bake muffins. Replace half the plain flour with either oat flour or whole wheat flour and couple tablespoons of flax seed to make them healthier. Yes I know, that's not a very nice ratio of butter used, but I browned the butter and I really liked how it adds another dimension to the taste of these muffins. You can probably reduce the butter and add more applesauce if you wish to make them healthier still. I added twice the required cinnamon and some ground ginger and omitted the nutmeg and allspice cos the Sister doesn't like the taste of those spices. I threw in plenty of chopped walnuts, and also goji berries. I reckon the goji berries would mesh well with the apple flavour and since goji are reputed to be good for the eyes, heck, why not? How wrong can it get?

The overall result was two thumbs up. The goji berries were slightly sweet and I like the taste of them in the muffins. The flavours really complemented one another really well! As I like my muffins to be chock full of ingredients, there was a generous amount of walnuts and goji berries per muffin. That's what I like about home baking. You get to add as much of "the good stuff" as you want, whereas most commercially sold muffins contain miserly amount of add-ins. (:

Resisting the urge to head to the kitchen now to grab "a tiny bite" from a muffin. Haha.

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