Saturday, July 27, 2013

Caramelized Apple Spice Muffins (+ A New Contest!)


(UPDATE, 7.31.2013: Congratulations to commenter #14, Melvin Teal! This RNG site chose you as the winner! Please message us on Facebook with your address or leave a comment on this post-- we moderate  comments and will not publish it, of course. Thanks to all who participated -- we're looking forward to the next TCV contest coming up soon!)

Our buddy Chris at Whole Foods in Memphis gave us a box full of different kinds of new Whole Foods brand spice grinders and mixes to try out, and it's been quite entertaining to dream up a few creative ways to use them in some new recipes this week. These muffins feature the Winter Baking spice mix, which includes sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest, orange zest, allspice berries, cloves, vanilla bean, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Contrary as usual, I decided to use this one in the dead of summer -- you know, why not? And wow, we loved the result -- a nice subtle, warm spiced flavor really complements this light apple muffin. We used a combination of caramelized apples, cinnamon apple sauce, and apple butter to get a complex and layered apple flavor going. (Coming up next, we're going to build a savory recipe with two other spice grinders that have us in brainstorming mode today.)


Caramelized Apple Spice Muffins

1 tablespoon olive oil margarine
2 apples (peeled; finely diced or shredded)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons apple butter
1 egg (beaten)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour (we used half all-purpose and half whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger
15 turns of the Whole Foods Winter Baking spice grinder

Crunchy Topping (optional):

1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)
15 turns of the Whole Foods Winter Baking spice grinder
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
a pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil margarine

In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, melt the margarine and then add the apples. Stir to combine and then add brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir occasionally and add a tablespoon of water once or twice if pan gets too dry. Once apples are caramelized after about 15 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: oil, applesauce, apple butter, egg, and vanilla. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the apples and the crystallized ginger. Using a spring-loaded scoop, scoop a level amount of muffin mixture into pan lined with muffin cups. (Optional step before baking for a crunchy top: mix together the Crunchy Topping ingredients and spoon it on top of each muffin; finish with a 1/2-teaspoon-sized slice of margarine.) Bake for 25 minutes or until tops are golden brown. (Makes 9 muffins.)

NEW CONTEST: Want to try some of the new Whole Foods spice mixes and grinders? You're in luck! We reserved a few for one of you to try in your own kitchen: Citrus, French Soup, Bouquet Garni, and Crystal Pools, a sea salt, lavender, lovage, chamomile, lime leaf, cornflower petal, and tarragon blend. We will mail all 4 out to one winner who lives in the U.S. To be in the running, comment below about how you would use one or more of the spices mentioned in this post, and we'll select (by random number generator on Wednesday evening, 8/1/13) one winner to receive the four products! We moderate comments, so don't be alarmed if yours doesn't show up right away -- it will be posted as soon as we check in.


23 comments:

Sarah Tucker said...

That Crystal Pools looks like it would be divine on some roasted summer squash, zucchini, etc. I'd love to find uses for all of them, though!

emilee said...

The citrus blend sounds interesting and I can think of many ways to use all of them!

Felicity said...

Citrus would be lovely in a thai soup, or in a guacamole.
I'd love the French soup, I'm a big fan of making soups simply by throwing things in a pot, and I 'd love to throw some of that in.
they all sound yummy

Rachel said...

I'd love to use the citrus in a mango salsa. Yum!

Jan Scholl said...

I would love the French soup spice but my soups tend toward more legumes, so not sure what exactly is in this spice. But the Crystal Pools would be deelish sprinkled on cold cottage cheese, which is my go to when my stomach is giving me fits (like today) with fresh rosemary bread. I gotta make a trip to WF soon. It's an hour drive one way, and I always get sideswiped by Costco.

J.Jackson said...

These Caramelized Apple Muffins look so Yummy! I can't wait to try them.

LittleMonsterx14 said...

I'd love to use the citrus with some honey on tofu! mmm!

Tender B. said...

Those muffins look great! I love that something called a "French Soup" spice exists.

Anonymous said...

Love the citrus idea....but french onion sounds great also. You have the gears in my mind running.

vicki said...

Lavender ground on fresh pea soup.

yum

Lauren RZ said...

I'm sure the French Soup blend would be perfect in my zucchini, cauliflower, goat cheese soup!

Renée B said...

After a recent inspiration from a place called Salad Creations in Billings, Montana, I think I'd like to do a series of grilled fruit and veggie salads for my blog What's for Dinner, Mama? and these would be a great "common thread."

Erin Heil said...

The citrus or french onion would be delicious on baked tofu, served with a starch and some greens!

Melvin Teal said...

First off, I love the recipes that are shared with us here. I have tried many of them and love each one that I have tried. I also tell me friends and family about the website, so that they can try them also. So the spice that I would like to try is the Bouquet Garni. I think that this would make a great summer veggie ratatouille.

Melvin Teal said...

First off, I love the recipes that are shared with us here. I have tried many of them and love each one that I have tried. I also tell me friends and family about the website, so that they can try them also. So the spice that I would like to try is the Bouquet Garni. I think that this would make a great summer veggie ratatouille.

Alyce said...

Those muffins look great! Not vegetarian, but I have a couple of lamb shanks in the freezer that would be great braised with that Crystal Pool seasoning. More along your lines, it would also be good on roasted eggplant. Hmmm...think I'll try that today!

Julia W. said...

That crystal pools sounds amazing - perhaps on some faux-chicken. And I dream of putting the citrus on some corn on the cob!

Laine said...

I'm not sure what those spices are traditionally used for, but I'd love to experiment with them!!! Nothing gets creative juices flowing like a new, unknown spice :)

Natalie said...

I would use the ginger in my pumpkin smoothies! :)

audrey said...

The Crystal Pools would be amazing on tempeh!!

Grace Denny said...

Crystal Pools would be great in a brown butter cupcake with a mascarpone frosting ;)

laputain said...

If I'm not too late, I'd like to join the draw! These would be very hand for the cookout I have to help cater for from my temporary accommodation bare cupboards!

Thy Ho-Pham said...

Muffins look great! I would love to use the lavender!