Friday, January 8, 2010

Warm Apple Walnut Muffins

Doesn't the smell of Christmas just transport you back to your childhood when everything was simple? When you're on a school break and looking forward to stuffing yourself with food and opening presents?

The smell of apples in the kitchen does just that. Ahh, to be young and worry-free...

Apples always seem to be around in abundance during December. A Christmas tradition that we in the Philippines just can't shake. A far cry from the Martial Law era of the '70s when there was a ban on importation and apples were scarce and a luxury. But now they are available year round and more so during the holidays.

So what do you do with all those apples after the festivities? Apart from apple pie, I also love making apple walnut muffins. Baking these makes our kitchen smell like Christmas, so homey and festive.

This is one of those recipes you can make without a mixer. Have a bowl and a whisk ready and you're set.

Eat them warm from the oven for breakfast or cold for a midnight snack and heave a happy sigh. These muffins keep well, too, frozen. Just pop in the microwave for 30 seconds for a quick breakfast-to-go.

Apple Walnut Muffins
(Makes 12 to 15 muffins)

3 large apples
1 1/2 cups refined sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 medium eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

1. Peel apples and chop into small pieces.
2. Top peeled apples with sugar and let sit for about an hour. (This will prevent the apples from getting dark and watery.)
3. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and melted butter.
5. Pour egg-butter mixture into apples and mix well. Add walnuts and raisins.
6. Fold in flour mixture. Do not overmix.
7. Divide batter into paper-lined muffin pans.
8. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes.
9. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Note: This recipe also makes an excellent wedding cake covered in fondant; truly festive.

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