The key to a winning spiced muffin or sweet bread is the perfect blending of spices. Ashley at Delish provided that very element to a muffin recipe I adapted slightly to use some of our dehydrated candied zucchini (our “zucc-raisins“), though you can use dried apple, raisin, or cranberry instead. The results were so wonderful that Amanda and I had to stop what we were doing and sit down for a cup of tea and a muffin.
Because the candied zucchini is sweet before it hits the batter, this muffin is a bit sweeter than we usually have in this home. You might make a slight adjustment in the amount of sugar that goes into the recipe. That said, I must admit none of us complained about the sweetness.
The candied zucchini tastes more like a fresh berry than a piece of dried fruit. Both the taste and the texture will remind you of a blueberry or strawberry slice in a muffin. While the spices are a perfect blend, I still put in the zest of a lemon to play off the fruit motif of the candied zucchini.
Having the chopped nuts and sugar as a topping makes these muffins interesting even before you take a bite. For a most pleasing muffin, use a sugar that is chunky and sparkles in the light. It adds crunch and a little drama.
I used freshly ground spelt flour, my favorite. It makes for a lightness in baking that regular whole wheat flour does not provide. Since we had a jar with 2 cups of applesauce, I doubled the recipe to use it all and I am so glad I did. What is recorded below is the applesauce muffin recipe from Delish incorporating the adaptations I made (including doubling the batch).
Applesauce Muffins Ingredients
- 3 cups freshly ground spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Zest from a whole lemon
- 4 large eggs, the fresher the better
- 1 1/3 cups turbinado or sucanat (regular sugar will do too)
- 10 tablespoons of soft butter
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 1 1/2 cups dehydrated candied zucchini bits (or dried apples or other dried fruit)
- 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans work well)
- 4 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
Applesauce Muffins Steps
- Prepare 2 muffin pans with oil and flour or use muffin papers.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl measure and mix the dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly for even distribution of the spices. Add the lemon zest and mix some more.
- In a smaller bowl cream the sugar and butter together. A pastry blender is handy for this job.
- Add the eggs one at a time blending in well until all five eggs are added to the butter mixture.
- Stir in the applesauce. All your wet ingredients are in one bowl.
- Back at the bowl of dry ingredients, pour in the zucchini bits and stir to coat the bits thoroughly with flour. This coating helps to keep the bits from sticking to each other and helped to keep them in suspension in the batter. In other words, you will not find the zucchini sitting in the bottom of your muffin.
- Make a “well” in the middle of your dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix lightly with a large spoon or spatula. The idea is to JUST mix the ingredients, not beat them. Beat the batter and you will lose the light texture.
- Use an ice cream scoop to measure the batter into the muffin tins. You will probably not fill the second tin completely.
- Mix the sugar and nuts together. Sprinkle this evenly over the muffin tops, pressing the nuts into the batter just a bit.
- Bake for about 20 minutes. The test for doneness is to insert a wooden toothpick into a muffin. If the toothpick comes out clean, the muffin is done. If the toothpick has batter clinging to it, keep baking.
- Remove the finished muffins from the oven and cool for ten minutes before removing the muffins to a cooling rack. You may need to slip a butter knife around the top of each muffin to loosen it.
Put on the tea pot and have a party!