These muffins were my attempt to capture the feelings and flavors I get from sitting in a pile of crunchy leaves on an autumn day with a crisp apple, a block of sharp cheddar, and a knife. Which is actually something I do. I love it. But, for times I can't sit in a leaf pile, I wanted a muffin. Makes sense, right? So, I whipped up these apple cheddar muffins. Barely sweet, hearty and nutty, lightly spiced, and all together delightful. Maybe not quite as good as the leaf pile, but darn close. And they were enthusiastically toddler approved! —fiveandspice
a dozen good-sized muffins
barley flour (or more all-purpose if you don't have barley; whole-wheat would also work)
fine sea salt
coarsely grated sharp cheddar, or in small cubes if you prefer more discreet pockets of cheese as opposed to threads throughout
large eggs, lightly beaten
plus 2 tablespoons honey
oil (I used olive oil)
plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
grated apples, preferably of a nice fallish sweet-tart variety (I don't bother peeling them or anything)
Heat your oven to 350° F. Grease a standard muffin pan and line the cups with liners.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss in the cheese to evenly distribute.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, molasses, oil, and yogurt then stir in the grated apple until everything is well combined. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry just until there are no streaks of dry left.
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups and put the muffin pan on a rimmed baking sheet in case of any dripping while the muffins bake. Bake the muffins until a tester comes out clean -- about 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan then transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool. Or gobble them up warm with lots of butter.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.