Have you noticed? I've been trying really hard the past few weeks ............
.............. to savor the season. I've been tempted to plunge into all the fun Fall recipes I've been seeing in magazines, flyers and the myriad I've been pinning on Pinterest. But I've been good, knowing that you were still up to your ears in zucchini and tomatoes .............. and that corn, peaches, nectarines and raspberries, etc were still abundant and very reasonable at the market.
But then it happened, out of the blue. My husband came home from work one day with a crisp, red-blushed, shiny, fabulous looking apple. And that was all it took! Before I knew it, I was dicing, mixing, stirring and dolloping out muffin batter ............. and my oven was doing a happy dance as it was preheating (after feeling a bit neglected all summer long).
I tried a new recipe from a cookbook I'd recently ordered. A new recipe is always a little scary, but when these beauties rolled out of the oven, I almost squealed with delight. They rose up tall and high with beautiful golden domes covered with lots of buttery cinnamon crumble and shards of lovely apple sticking out here, there and everywhere. The aroma was completely intoxicating and the first bite, well, let's just say that all who partook (my official taste-testers) were quite smitten. There were "wows" and "mmmmmms" and "oh my goodnesses" and sentiments like "these are crazy good!".
It's the muffin recipe one dreams of (okay maybe just the dreams of crazy cooks like me), easy to throw together, not temperamental, very adaptable, delectably tender, super moist and fabulously delicious. Need I say more? If you want to get into the spirit of Fall in a very delightful way, whip up a batch of these Caramel Apple Buttermilk Muffins. But one warning: just be sure to close the windows tightly, unless you want the neighbors lined up down the front walk and up the street wiping drool off their chins.
P.S. If you don't like "muffin tops" on your muffins (I can't help you with your jeans) see this Blueberry Muffin post for a neat trick on how to always have beautiful dome-topped, perfect muffins. You just have to promise to ignore the photos, it was me taking the pictures and not my very talented photographer (aka husband, Scott).
We laugh frequently and say that, if I did the photography for the blog, no one would EVER come back for a second visit ............. BUT, if Scott did the cooking, no one would EVER come back for a second visit either. I guess you could say we make a good team! :) (The photographer/editor fully approves this comment! :)
Caramel Apple Buttermilk Muffins
Ingredients for the streusel topping:
1 tablespoon cold butter
⅓ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
Ingredients for the muffins:
½ cup vegetable oil
1-⅓ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2-½ cups all-purpose flour (you may need a bit more, if the batter is too wet)
¼ teaspoon salt
2-½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1-¾ cups coarsely chopped peeled* apple
Ingredients for the caramel icing:
2 tablespoon butter
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1. In a bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients. With your fingers, combine until you have a crumbly mixture. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. If you don’t have paper liners, butter and flour the muffin tin.
3. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda); set aside. In another bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, and egg. Once combined, stir in the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Gently mix in the apple*. If the batter seems to thin, add a tiny bit more flour. The batter should be fairly stiff. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling them right to the top.
5. Divide the streusel topping equally among the muffins.
6. Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350˚ F. and bake for an additional 12 minutes. When the muffins are done, they will spring back when lightly pressed. Otherwise, test the muffins by inserting a toothpick. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove them and let cool for 15-20 minutes on a wire rack before drizzling with caramel icing.
7. While muffins are baking, prepare drizzle mixture. Combine brown sugar, butter and milk in a medium size microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir well and return to microwave for 15 seconds.
8. Add vanilla. While stirring, add powdered sugar and mix until smooth and creamy. Mixture should drizzle easily, but should not be super 'runny". Add a bit more milk or powdered sugar to adjust thickness. Drizzle over cooled muffins.
* ~ I like to leave about ½ cup of the apple unpeeled and reserve it. I stick these pieces into the batter after filling the muffin tins. It give the muffins a pretty look.