Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Perfect Apple Cinnamon Muffins

 

Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Almonds

Apple Cinnamon Muffins without Nuts

Moist Apple Muffins

I think the perfect apple muffins

a) have a cinnamon-sugar topping

b) have small chunks of apple throughout

c) are not overly sweet

d) are moist

e) taste good with or without nuts

and here they are….


Perfect Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Compliments of JennaDish
adapted from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
MAKES 12 MUFFINS

If some in the family don’t like nuts, and some do, only add nuts to the tops of a few muffins.  And leave them out of the batter.
 
2 apples (I used Granny Smith, but Pippin, Rome, or Winesap would also bake well)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar, plus 4 teaspoons for the topping
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup raw (unblanched) almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 400o. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups. (No need to spray with oil – they come out of the paper cleanly).
Peel the apple and chop into small dice and set aside.
Whisk together in large bowl the flour, baking poweer, and 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, place 2/3 cup brown sugar, the honey, yogurt, vegetable oil, and eggs.  Whisk until well blended.
If using nuts in the batter, add half of them to the flour mixture now, and put the other half aside.
Now fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until just mixed.  Add the chopped apple until just combined – don’t overmix.
Spoon the batter into the muffin papers.  They will be filled to near the top – don’t worry that they look too full, just make sure all the batter is used and is evenly distributed in the 12 muffin liners.
In a small bowl, mix together the second teaspoon of cinnamon and the 4 extra teaspoons of brown sugar.
You would also add the remaining chopped nuts now if you are putting nuts on all the muffins.
Otherwise start without the nuts and sprinkle the desired amount of muffins, then add the nuts to the bowl and finish topping the remaining muffins.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden.  Remove from the oven and let sit on a wire rack in the muffin pan for about 5 minutes.  Carefully remove them from the pan to a wire rack and let cool slightly.  Best eaten the same day.

Make Your Own Gingerbread House: Part 2 Decorating

Merry Christmas!!!

Finishing our Gingerbread House on Christmas Eve wasn't what I had planned, but it was fun!

How to Use Necco Wafers on Gingerbread House

 If you missed how to bake and construct your own Gingerbread House, click HERE.

Gingerbread House

And here's the full scene.  Gingerbread House with Chimney, Candy Walkway with Bridge, Gum Drop Snowman, and Dog House with Dog and Doggie Poo.   Oh yes, and snow.

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If you're in a hurry, or have little patience, make sure to have a large tip on hand to pipe large amounts of icing quickly.  And have a smaller tip for smaller areas.

Gingerbread House 1

We used Necco wafers in overlapping rows for the shingled roof (below).  We used broken wafers for a stucco look on the front (above).  The large peppermint poles that look like barber shop poles are Bob's Sweet Stripes Soft Mint Candy.  The candy canes at the door are just classic candy canes.  The pathway to the house is made with Nerds and AirHeads Extremes Sweetly Sour Belts. The shutters on the window are fruit slices.

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To make the shingled roof, pipe a large stripe of icing and smoosh the wafer in.  Make sure to start at the bottom of the roof, then add an overlapping row with the new row of wafers placed in between the row below. 

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The sides of the house are decorated with Air Heads Xtremes Sweetly Sour Belts.  They are super easy to cut and paste on the side of the house.  Use your small tip to place a thin stripe of icing on the side of the house where the strips will go, or place the icing on the back of the strip.  Just don't use the smooshing technique here.  You want a clean look.

I was short on time, short on icing, and short on ideas for the back of the house. So I used the small tip to pipe some random icing on the back, like this ….

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…then I cut large marshmallows in 4 slices each, dipped the sticky side in sugar, and stuck the other side against the house (see below for the marshmallow look and above to see how little icing you need for it all to stick). Once all the marshmallows are on, you can continue to use your small tip to fill in the exposed areas with more icing. 


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I used Raisinettes for the chimney.  Cut them in half with a sharp knife and be careful of the crumbs.

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Twizzlers would also be good for the roof.  We used them below for the dog house.  The photo below shows the back of the houses.

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And this is the front of the dog house 

Gingerbread Dog House from Graham Crackers

Alyssa made this dog house out of graham crackers.  The candy canes are from CVS drug store, and were surprisingly easy to cut fairly cleanly.  She made a dog by cutting up a large marshmallow or two, and covering it with frosting. The eyes are Nerds, the ears and "poopy" pile are Santa's Coal Bubble Gum, which I bought at CVS drug store.

Gum Drop Snowman Necco Wafers Gingerbread House
And here's a little snow man made of gum drops, icing and Nerds.  Finish it all of by slapping on lots of icing on the base, using a rubber spatula.  Work quickly – it dries fast. While it's wet, sprinkle plain white sugar (lightly), or use edible, clear or white cake sparkles to look like glistening snow.

Good Luck!