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Breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day and I cannot go without it. There are so many sweet and savory combinations. You can make your morning simple and sugary or you can make it protein packed. I prefer a nice balance of both.
Most people can agree that grain-based foods tend to dominate the average breakfast table. I for one am a huge fan of muffins. (And pancakes, and waffles, and cereal!) A loaf of bread is nice, but you can’t beat having the easy, ready-to-eat serving and portion control of a muffin. Plus, they’re just so darn cute!
There is one muffin recipe I’ve made so many times, I’d like to say I’m the “expert.” So much so, that since some recent dietary changes in our household (more whole wheat, less processed sugar), I felt confident enough to alter the recipe and make it healthier. The original recipe is one that was given to me and my peers from our Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) teacher in high school. It was simply called, “Apple Bread.” Side note, for those of you who don’t know, FACS is what was formerly called Home Economics or Home Ec.
In college, while majoring in secondary education to become a FACS teacher, I took the “Apple Bread” recipe and changed it into “Apple Muffins.” Sometimes I even added a cinnamon sugar “crumble” on top. These were a huge hit with my roommates, their significant others, and my now husband. One of my roommates requested the recipe because her fiancé loved the muffins so much she knew she would have to bake them once they were married. At that point, I was already baking them for everyone on a monthly basis. One day, I’ll share that recipe, but today I actually have a NEW recipe which I’ve named “Whole Wheat Apple Muffins.”
This recipe can be time-consuming, so read through it beforehand. First, preheat your oven to 350° F and grease two muffin pans. Then, begin grating your apples! I’ve done this several different ways through the years, using a variety of kitchen tools. Start by peeling the apples using either a paring knife or a peeler.
Next you’ll need to core and slice the apples. I LOVE the apple slicer I bought from IKEA the last time we were in Georgia. We use it all the time, like on a daily basis. My toddler takes the phrase “an apple a day..” to heart! You can buy the same one on Amazon here or here.
The last step for the apples is “grating.” I say “grating” because in the past I’ve actually chopped them using a food chopper. My food chopper is also an IKEA product, though I believe the one I’ve used at my parents’ house is Pampered Chef brand. All that aside, this time I used an actual grater. In fact, it was just the cheapest one Walmart had to offer and it did the job perfectly!
By the way, that bowl is part of a set my grandma gifted me at Christmas. They’re OXO brand and I’m in love with them! They have handles and a pouring spout, both big pluses for me. But the best part is that the bottom is made of a no-slip material, so they won’t move on you when you’re mixing. I will warn you though, do not use the white ones to mix anything tomato-based. Unfortunately, I’ve permanently stained my 3 quart sized one! Bah!
Now that your apples are prepped, the most difficult work is over! Whew! These apples will start to brown as you work on the rest of the recipe, that is OK. In a medium bowl, combine your whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Whisk this together.
In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, and butter. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer, because really, I use it for everything. Now, I understand that this recipe uses a lot more honey and maple syrup than most people are willing to part with at one time. But you have to keep in mind that we’re not using processed sugar here. I found a really great deal on a large quantity of honey while shopping Walmart online. It did receive some negative reviews on the quality of the honey, meaning they accused it of not being “real honey.” My dad, who keeps bees, commented that it’s probably cheap because of the way it’s been processed or pasteurized. But honestly, if I’m just going to use this honey for baking, none of that matters to me. It’s still honey. When we eat honey on our biscuits or in tea, then I use the “real stuff” that my dad harvests locally from his bees. If you’re interested in the bulk honey though, you can find it here.
When I list “maple syrup” as an ingredient, I mean the “real stuff.” If you use something like Hungry Jack or Mrs. Butterworth’s, you might as well use processed cane sugar. (They’re like 90% high fructose corn syrup!) Yes, honey is sugar. Yes, maple syrup is sugar. But compared to processed cane sugar, those ingredients are not only natural, they bring additional flavor to the recipe. I think that makes it worth it! Natural Value is a good choice for pure maple syrup, based on price, especially considering it’s organic. You can find it here.
Once you’ve mixed your wet ingredients well, add your grated apples. Like I said, they’ll probably be turning brown by this point. Mix this well.
Now, slowly add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients while mixing. Do not over mix! Recipes always say this and I wonder how many people pay attention, because it’s actually really important. Over-mixing the batter for your baked good negatively affects the texture.
This batter will be very wet and gloppy. It’s not pretty! Evenly fill your greased muffin pans with the batter, about ⅔ of the way up. Bake in your oven at 350° F for 15-20 minutes. The first time you bake these, I would keep an eye on them. Some ovens bake faster than others!
Remove from pans and enjoy!
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
- 4 medium apples grated
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 Tbs. cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 Tbs. vanilla
- 4 Tbs. butter melted
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 2 muffin pans.
Prepare apples: peel, core and slice, then grate. Set aside.
Combine whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk dry ingredients together well.
Combine eggs, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, and melted butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix wet ingredients well. Add grated apples to wet mixture and mix well again.
While mixing slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until completely combined. Do not over mix.
Evenly pour batter into the muffin pans, filling each about 2/3 of the way up.
Bake in a 350 F oven for 15 - 20 minutes.