When you live in Minnesota, even if you have no Scandinavian blood in your veins, you are surrounded by Scandinavian food. Lefse (traditional Norwegian potato flatbread served with butter, sugar and cinnamon), Swedish meatballs, and kringle (a yummy Danish pastry) are a few of the delicious treats the Scandinavians have shared.
On the other hand, they also have shared lutefisk (whitefish such as cod prepared by soaking it in a lye mixture resulting in a jelly-like texture) and pickled herring. Now, I know there are some die-hard lutefisk and pickled herring fans out there (I happen to work with a few) but, I will say neither specialty is on my "favorites” list. But, any of the scrumptious foods they serve with coffee – well they’re at the top of my list.
One such recipe is Norwegian apple cake. We’ve taken this traditional coffee cake and given it a twist by turning it into muffins (remember how much I love muffins?). Norsk Apple Muffins are easy to make and are great served for breakfast, with coffee or as a snack. The apples add extra moistness and they are topped with a crunchy mixture of sliced almonds and sugar.
I recommend preparing the finely chopped apple first. That way it is all ready when you need to add it to the batter. You may ask “what kind of apple should I use?” Well, I did a little research and discovered that just about any kind of apple will work in a muffin recipe. I suggest you use the type of apple you like to eat. Here are some of the favorites of the folks here in the Test Kitchens: Gala, Paula Red, Honeycrisp (my personal favorite), Jonathan, Cortland, Fuji, McIntosh, Haralson, Braeburn or Granny Smith. As you can see everyone seemed to have a different “favorite.” Fall is apple season, so try a new variety for fun!
To prepare the apple, first peel the apple with a sharp paring knife.
Next cut into four wedges and remove the core from each wedge.
Now finely chop the apple so it is ready to go.
I also prepared the grated lemon peel by using a microplane (a tool used to finely grate). If you don’t have a microplane you can use any type of grater.
Once the apple is ready it’s time to make the muffins. Heat your oven to 375°F. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set this mixture aside for now.
In a large bowl beat together ¾ cup sugar and the softened butter.
Add the eggs and grated lemon peel. Continue beating until well mixed.
By hand, stir in the flour mixture you have set aside. Stir just until the flour mixture is moistened – do not over -stir! If over-stir the muffins will have "tunnels" or large air pockets. This is not the texture you want for these muffins.
Gently stir in the chopped apple.
The batter is now ready to be spooned into the greased or paper-lined muffin pan.
To make the topping combine ¼ cup sugar and almonds.
Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffin batter.
Bake and then let cool 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the pan.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy a taste of Scandinavia!
What’s your favorite Scandinavian specialty? I would love to know. And, please remember to rate and review this recipe, Norsk Apple Muffins, after baking the muffins.
Coming next: a cheesy snack that will be a hit!