If you don’t want to eat an entire basket full of muffins in one day, then don’t make these muffins. Or at the very least, hedge your bets, and invite some people over. I can honestly say, these are the best muffins I have every tasted. I will admit, they run to my tastes perfectly. I used a salty aged Irish cheese, and the apples in my orchard. (utilizing child labor for picking) They both baked to near perfection with a light and delicate crumb, a hint of salty cheddar and perfectly cooked bits of apples bursting throughout. I made 4 batches this week. Partly to perfect them, (eat them) but also as a snack to share at school- each child in turn. The final batch reached pure muffin nirvana. I am sitting here trying to stop myself from eating another as I type. (I’m back and the crumbs in the keyboard will attest to my pathetic willpower)
The secret to these muffins is pre-baking the apples. This does add to the cooking time, but it makes a huge difference in the final taste of the muffins. Some people shred the apples in muffins, but I wanted chunks of apple to bite into. At the same time, I wanted those chunks to be soft and juicy. Pre-baking is a must. I roasted the apples for 20 minutes, then waited for them to cool. Then you make the muffins as any other.
Peel, core, and dice the apples. If you are making mini muffins you want them small. Like a 1″ dice. If you are making full sized you can leave them bigger. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then cool them off the baking sheet.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddel attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add the cream and mix. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add in the cheese and stir well. I used Dubliner aged cheddar, which has a nice sharp and salty taste. You definitely want to use a sharp cheddar, whichever you pick, and I think white looks better than orange. Personal preference.
With the mixer on low, mix in the flour mixture until it is just barely combined. Definitely don’t overmix it. Stir in the apples. Butter a muffin tray and fill the tins about 3/4 of the way full. I use an ice cream scoop for my full sized muffins, for the minis I just eyeball it. Bake the full size muffins for 20-25 minutes, the minis for 10-12. Let them cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Or just start eating.
This picture is from our apple picking expedition. This tree right here, with Q and Rufus, (our crazy and obnoxious not quite one year old golden) is right outside my kitchen window. It’s so beautiful in the spring with the white blossoms on it, then in the summer and fall with the pretty green and red apples. It’s one of the best parts of living in the country.
- 3 apples
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt (1/2 if your cheese does not taste salty)
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- ⅓ cup cream
- Peel, core and dice the apples. (1" dice for mini muffins)
- Bake at 350° on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 minutes, then cool.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add in the cheese and mix well.
- In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
- Add in the cream.
- With the mixer on low, mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just mixed.
- Stir in the apples.
- Butter a muffin tin, and fill the cups ¾ full with muffin batter.
- Bake for 20 minutes for full size muffins, or until a tester comes out clean.
- Bake for 12 minutes for mini muffins, or until a tester comes out clean.
- Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then twist gently to release.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.