Big Apple

For the Yamim Nora’im there are traditional foods we all prepare, but even when trying new dishes we like to stick to recipes that contain ingredients appropriate to the season. Apples are one of those ingredients. Whether it’s apple strudel, apple kugel or apple pie, this popular fruit will find its way into many foods served at our Yom Tov tables.

And why not? Apples are not only good; they’re good for you! A number of components in apples, most notably fiber and antioxidants, have been found in studies to lower blood cholesterol and improve digestion, and may be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and asthma. Other studies indicate that two apples a day reduced the damaging effects of the “bad” LDL cholesterol. 

And while apples combined with flour and sugar may not have the same health benefits as eating them raw, they certainly are delicious!

 Apple & Honey Muffins

Serve these muffins warm for dessert accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of honey on top — yum yum!

 For the crumb topping

1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup canola oil

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

 

For the muffins

1 cup margarine (2 sticks) softened to room temperature

1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, not brownulated

1/4 cup honey

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 and 1/2 cups peeled, chopped Golden Delicious apples (2 small apples)

 

For the glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons apple juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

First, make the crumb topping. In a medium bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon and oil. Using a spatula, stir in the flour. The crumb topping will be thick and crumbly. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray 12-15 muffin cups with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the margarine on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and honey and beat on high until creamed, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then turn up to high speed until the mixture is combined and uniform in texture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

In a large bowl, toss together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and slowly mix with a whisk or spatula until only a few lumps remain. Fold in the apples with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Spoon the muffin batter evenly between all muffin cups. Fill the muffin cups until they are almost full to the top. Press a handful of the crumb topping into the top of each; crumble it with your hands to make some big chunks. You will have more batter if your apples were larger.

Bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 17-19 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make the glaze: whisk all of the ingredients together and drizzle over warm muffins. Muffins stay soft, fresh, and moist at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Unglazed muffins freeze well, up to 3 months. Yield: 12-15 muffins.


Readers may submit questions to the Culinary Connoisseur, c/o Hamodia, 207 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230 or via e-mail to peppermill@hamodia.com. This weekly column has been brought to you by The Peppermill, the world’s first kosher kitchenware store, located at 5015 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. (718) 871-4022. You can also read a selection of previous columns in their comprehensive cookbook, The Culinary Connoisseur, available now at your local Judaica and kitchenware stores. Jam-packed with delicious recipes, insightful food information and helpful cooking tips, this book is certain to become your constant companion in the kitchen.