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Spiced Apple Crumb Muffins {Vegan}

I've mentioned before that I'm not the biggest muffin fan.  I think it has to do with the processed tasting muffins I grew up with.  Super discernible texture...ginormous.  I don't remember my mom ever making muffins at home except for the type you can buy in a box that has a little can of blueberries right in the box itself.  And okay, I actually did like those.  But other than that, it was (different) muffins from a box or a coffee shop and I never really liked them.  Fortunately, I have discovered a few different types of muffins that I actually like A LOT in the past six months or so and I will be keeping them in my arsenal...ready to mix up for guests or easy breakfasts or just because.  It really all began with those Sweet Potato Muffins w/ Bacon Pecan Streusel.  The flavor!  And coming in as another "keeper" were the Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins (way better than the boxed mix I remember, by the way).  Now, I never...ever...would have thought that a vegan muffin would fall comfortably into my top 3.  But, low and behold, it did.  I consider these muffins pretty darn healthy, but they don't taste like health food.  They don't have that cloying sweetness that makes me loathe muffins.  They are made with spelt flour and rolled spelt.  They have bits of fresh apple and roasted nuts in every bite.  And they smell like home.  I changed them up a bit from the original recipe that called for a mixture of white and whole spelt flour since I only had whole.  I switched out the rolled oats for rolled spelt.  I switched out the soy milk for almond milk.  All this because it's what I had on hand...and though I've never tried them made as originally written, I'm not sorry...because they were amazing.
Spiced Apple Crumb Muffins
adapted from / inspired by My Father's Daughter 
makes ~12 muffins (...could make a few extra, depending on the size of your muffin tins)

crumb topping:
½ c. whole grain Spelt flour
¼ c. whole rolled spelt (spelt flakes)
¼ c. brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch sea salt
2 Tbs. coconut oil
1 Tbs. almond milk

1 c. peeled, finely diced Granny Smith apples (1-2 apples)
1 Tbs. cornstarch
½ c. coconut oil
½ c. + 2 Tbs. Maple Syrup (you could use honey, but remember it won't be vegan if you do)
½ c. + 2 Tbs. Almond Milk
2 c. whole grain Spelt flour
2¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground allspice
½ c. lightly toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line muffin tins with liners (or oil them).

crumb topping:  Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Add oil and almond milk and rub together with your fingers until you have crumbs the size of peas or small pebbles.  Set aside.

muffins:  Toss apples with cornstarch and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together coconut oil, maple syrup, and almond milk.  Sift everything else (except the walnuts) into the bowl and stir until just combine.  Gently fold in the apples and walnuts.  Divide batter amongst muffin tins.  Divide crumb topping over each.  Slide into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
I like these muffins best when they have cooled down a bit...but still have a bit of warmth.  Seductively spiced and studded with bits of apple and walnut, the whole family finds them hard to resist.  They are a fabulous breakfast or snack option and would be the perfect "welcome to the neighborhood" gift, too.

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Wholesome Wholegrain Cooking: Spelt/Oats in Breakfast hosted by ME this month!
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