Apple Pumpkin Muffins with Streusel


Part of what I find gratifying about cooking and baking is the potential for experimentation.  In my head, on a near constant basis, a running monologue spins off of the question, “What if?” What if I just walked up to that stranger and started talking? What if I pretended to be foreign and started asking directions in translation English? “Where may I find the foot washer, please?” What if I were to start spontaneously singing mid-sentence?  What if I won the lottery?  What if all of my current dreams spontaneously came true, then what would I dream?

For most of these questions, there are no realistic answers, even for the more mundane ones. I am not brave enough to walk up to strangers to even ask the time, let alone pretend to be from another country. Which is fine, it probably plays out more interestingly in my head then in actuality. But sometimes, gratification is nice. Cooking allows me to satisfy some tangible what ifs.

What if I took this lackluster recipe from this popular food blog (no, I won’t tell you which one), and fixed it up? What if I added the apples I have hanging around?  Will they support a streusel topping (the happy answer to that one is, yes, yes they will).

So I tried – pumpkin spice muffins topped with cinnamon sugar, with streusel, apple pumpkin muffins topped with cinnamon sugar, or with streusel.

The clear winner –

Apple Pumpkin Muffins with Streusel

First, Streusel, because it should hang out in the fridge keeping chilled while the rest of the muffins happen.

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces.

Blend all ingredients.

You could use a pastry cutter, but I just smash the butter into the rest of it with my grubby little (washed) mitts.

Apples

2 apples, peeled, small dice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Toss together.

To be honest with you, these may be imprecise measurements.  I basically just threw some sugar and cinnamon in with my diced apples until I was happy with the taste.  But this should be about right.

Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners.

I know, it's a lot of dishes. It's the price of muffins. Think of it this way, you'll have twelve days of breakfast for less than twelve dishes to clean? Yeah, doesn't really help me either. But my love of muffins supercedes my loathing of doing dishes.

Mix flour through nutmeg together.  Set aside. Mix pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and apple juice.  Set aside.

Whip the eggs and sugar until tripled in volume and thick and ribbony.  This will take a few minutes on medium in a stand mixer or with an electric mixer.  The batter will start holding the whip marks, and fall in a ribbon that will take a second or so to disappear back into the batter like this.

This picture isn't mine, but I couldn't upload the video I took of my own ribbon stage. Hopefully, someday, I'll figure out how to do that.

Not taking this step will greatly affect the texture of the finished product.  Powder puff versus hockey puck.

Proceed by hand gently fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture.

Then work in half of the wet ingredients.  Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Finish with the last of the dry ingredients, scraping up the bottom of the bowl carefully, and stopping as soon as all the flour disappears.  Gently fold in apples.

Scoop into muffin tin and sprinkle with streusel.

As you can see, I divided mine into the aforementioned four categories, but there was enough streusel to cover all the muffins.

Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, until they spring back to the touch.

Let cool.

Eat!

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