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The Muffin Files: Herbs (Chopped) & Applesauce

June 6, 2010

It’s finally cooled off enough for me to be able to consider turning on the oven again, so I decided to celebrate with some applesauce muffins packed full of fresh herbs.  I love unexpected flavors in familiar foods, and I particularly enjoy using traditionally “savory” herbs in sweet baked goods. My little kitchen container garden offered up rosemary, sage, spicy globe basil, English thyme, and orange-mint, which I finely minced together.

You can use any combination of herbs you like, but you’ll probably want to go easy on the powerhouse herbs like sage and rosemary.  Make them play nicely with the other flavors.  I’ve found that the trick to light, fluffy muffins is not to beat the batter once the flour has been added.  Go ahead and beat the heck out of the wet ingredients, if you must, but once the flour goes in, just gently coax everything together enough to moisten and then leave it alone.  A few lumps are fine — they’ll cook out — but if you overbeat, the flour will form gluten, and you will end up with well-flavored hockey pucks instead of airy muffins.

Applesauce-Herb Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 Tbsp ground flax

1 egg

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)

3 Tbsp chopped herbs

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  In a small bowl, sift together the first six ingredients.  In a larger bowl, beat together the egg, oil, brown sugar, and applesauce until smooth.  Stir in the chopped herbs.  Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to overmix.  Lumps are o.k., really.  Spoon the batter into greased muffin tins and bake 20-25 minutes, until done.  Let cool on a wire rack.  Makes 1 dozen muffins.  Don’t be surprised if you’re seized with the irresistible urge to fix yourself a nice pot of tea when you taste them.

  1. June 11, 2010 9:09 pm

    I love making my own applesauce…it really is super easy. Just peel, core and section some apples (and I’ll throw in some pears too if I have those hanging around), add in a little bit of water (so it goes about halfway up the apples, or just barely covers them), a little bit of sugar, and maybe even a little bit of cinnamon. Then just simmer until it’s soft and mushy. SO much tastier than store-bought applesauce, and you can adjust the sugar, spices and type of fruit to your liking!

  2. June 12, 2010 12:03 am

    I know what I’ll be doing when apple season rolls around… 🙂

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