Niamh Doherty

Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins, for a Cold and Wintry Day

In Baking, Comfort Food on November 27, 2010 at 16:46

Is there anyone still out there? 


Honestly, I’m not surprised. If my blog was a boyfriend, it would have broken up with me by now. Things have been manic recently, and once again, at the start of November, I found myself staring down the barrel of two jam-packed months. Being busy is great, but I was starting to long for some time off before December hit and things got even busier. As the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for – my great plans for a trip to Ikea this morning skidded to a halt when I woke up to this:

 Snow. In Waterford. IN NOVEMBER! It doesn’t look terribly impressive in the above photos, but it got even heavier as the morning went on – big fat flakes falling with happy abandon. I called off my trip in favour of a cosy-pyjama-clad, kitchen-ensconced day at home, and so far I’ve done more baking in a few short hours than I have in the previous couple of weeks.

One of my recent cookbook acquisitions is Kitchen, the new tome from Nigella Lawson. I’ve only had a chance to quickly flick through it, but her recipe for apple cinnamon muffins caught my eye. They’re, helpfully, located in the section on using up leftovers, and as I had two unused cooking apples from making a batch of mincemeat a couple of weeks ago which eyed me reproachfully every time I entered the kitchen, I decided to give them a go.

They turned out gorgeously, and are, I think, better when made with cooking apples as opposed to eating, as these muffins are quite sweet, and the tartness of the cooking apple gives your tastebuds a welcome reprieve. I would also say be careful when measuring out the honey; I think I used slightly too much here, and next time I’ll reduce the amount of sugar in the topping. That’s just me though – although I have a sweet tooth, I don’t like things that are overpoweringly sweet, so they may taste just fine to anyone else.  My efforts at this recipe are not the most attractive-looking either – I gave them their requisite 20 minutes in the oven, at which point they were perfectly puffed-up and golden, but still seemed a little undercooked. I baked them for another five minutes, and they came out slightly overdone. Oh well, not to worry, they still tasted delicious; I broke off a piece to try it and ended up scoffing the whole thing in seconds. The yoghurt and oil make these beautifully moist, the apples add a lovely tartness, and the toasted almonds in the topping are divine. Make them, and savour their still-warm-from-the-oven flavour with a cup of tea or coffee. You’ll love them!

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins, taken from Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson

Makes 12 muffins


2 eating apples or 1 large cooking apple, peeled and cut into small dice

250g plain flour or spelt flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

125g light brown sugar, plus 4 tsp for topping

125ml honey

60ml runny natural yoghurt

125ml flavourless vegetable oil

2 eggs

75g whole almonds, skin on


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius and line a 12-hold muffin tin with papers.

2. Measure the flour, baking powder and 1 tsp cinnamon into a bowl.

3. Whisk together the 125g brown sugar, honey, oil and eggs in a bowl – or, as I prefer, a jug, for ease of pouring.

4. Chop the almonds roughly and add half of them to the flour. Keep the other half aside, and to them add the second teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 4 tsp of brown sugar. This will be the topping for your muffins.

5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Add the chopped apple and stir to combine. As with all muffin batters, don’t overmix – the lumpier and heavier the batter, the lighter the finished muffin will be.

6. Spoon the batter into the muffin papers and sprinkle with the topping.

7. Put into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, by which time the muffins should have risen, and become beautifully golden.

8. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes, before taking them out of the pan and devouring with unapologetic greed.