Cupcakes are everywhere. Whole TV shows are devoted to them and my two kids can’t get enough of the little confections. Personally, I think it’s time to show the lowly muffin the respect it deserves. A cupcake is like an Oscar dress—beautiful, elaborate and appropriate for a special occasion, while a muffin is like your favorite jeans—easy, comforting and perfect any time of day.
My daughter Eva started middle school this fall. She may be worried about what to wear, but I’ve been thinking about what to make her for breakfast so she is best prepared to face the new challenge of multiple teachers and remembering her locker combination. What could be better than a hearty, healthy, portable muffin? I love that Fall Harvest Muffins combine fruit, vegetables, oats and nuts for a lasting energy source. It’s the allure of a cupcake without the mess and fussiness of frosting. By making them ahead and freezing them, there’s the added bonus of a grab and go breakfast with a quick spin in the microwave.
To get started, place the flour, sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
This recipe calls for the apple to be peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch pieces. The easiest way I find to do this is to stand the apple on end and cut vertically around the core into four thick slices.
Peel away the skin.
Place the apple flat-side down while cutting ¼-inch slices.
Then cut ¼-inch "matchstick" strips before cutting the apple into pieces.
Next I add the apples, grated carrots, chopped dried cherries and nuts to the dry ingredients. Then I mix so the apples, carrots, cherries and nuts get coated with the flour mixture. This helps so these ingredients stay distributed in the muffin and don’t fall to the bottom while cooking.
In a separate bowl combine the eggs, melted butter, vanilla and applesauce. For convenience I use the individual "lunchbox" applesauce since it is already portioned ½ cup for the recipe and I have it on hand to pack in lunches. Then I add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix just until all the ingredients are combined.
Lastly, use two spoons to distribute the batter into muffin pans lined with paper baking cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (mine took 23 minutes) and cool at least 5 minutes before devouring.
If you have any left over, place them into a large resealable plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. From frozen to "go" takes just 45 seconds on full power in the microwave.
I love these served with my neighbor’s apple butter slathered over them, while Eva likes them as is. Come to think of it, these muffins taste like a moist, rich carrot cake…maybe a little Cream Cheese Frosting on top and I’ve got a muffin and a cupcake recipe all in one!
Please rate and review this recipe and also leave me your comments Fall Harvest Muffins. What are your ideas for quick nutritious breakfasts or snacks on-the-go ?
Come back in a few days when Alex will share a fun Halloween cupcake idea. October is almost here.
Emily is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.