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Apples, Spice and Everything Nice

Whether you're picking apples with the family in Hood River or purchasing them from a local vendor, apples are a fall-time staple

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Pumpkin has long reigned the king of autumn-themed foods, but for me, it's apples. Whether you're picking apples with the family in Hood River or purchasing them from a local vendor, apples are a fall-time staple to keep in the kitchen once the temperatures begin to dwindle.

Little hands can't resist the flavors of apple, nutmeg and brown sugar. - NANCY PATTERSON
  • Nancy Patterson
  • Little hands can't resist the flavors of apple, nutmeg and brown sugar.

Swapping butter for yogurt and sour cream is one of my family's favorite substitutions in creating light and airy breads and muffins without losing moisture. Of course, I still include softened, creamed butter for many baked goods, but the addition of sour cream and buttermilk in the apples and spice muffin recipe delivers a fluffiness that even your little ones will appreciate! If you'd like to reduce the sugar or serve these as a breakfast item, simply omit the crumble topping.

Apple Spice Sour Cream Muffins

Little hands can't resist the flavors of apple, nutmeg and brown sugar. - NANCY PATTERSON
  • Nancy Patterson
  • Little hands can't resist the flavors of apple, nutmeg and brown sugar.
For the crumble:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons
Pinch of salt

For the apple filling:
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the muffins:
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and begin making the crumble topping. In a small mixing bowl, add together the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and 1/3 cup flour. Using a fork, stir together, breaking up any lumps from the brown sugar. In a microwavable bowl, melt 4 tablespoons or ¼ cup of butter (about 30 seconds). Pour over the dry ingredients and use fork to stir, allowing it to firm up and breaking apart to create some lumps. Sprinkle one tablespoon at a time of the remaining flour and lightly stir with the fork. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the crumble topping, lightly toss with fork and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk well for about a minute. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and vanilla and beat using a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth. Add the eggs and honey, continuing to beat. Finally, add the sour cream, buttermilk and lemon juice until smooth. Set aside.

Using your peeled apples, dice into small squares. In a small bowl, toss with sugar, nutmeg, salt and lemon juice. Set aside.

Blend your wet and dry ingredients using a spatula or rubber scraper to create the muffin batter without over-mixing it. Add half of your apple filling and gently fold into the batter. Using an ice cream scooper, spoon the muffin batter into a degreased muffin tray (you should have about four muffins worth of batter leftover). Spoon the remaining apples onto the tops of the muffin batter and gently press down. Using a tablespoon, sprinkle your crumble mixture over the tops of the muffins.

Once you've put your muffins into the oven, immediately lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 14-17 minutes, rotating tray once halfway. Move the muffins to a cooling rack as soon as they're ready, let cool, and enjoy!

Find more recipes on Nancy's food blog at fedandfancy.com

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