Fall Treats: Apple Surprise Muffins

This past weekend, K and I braved the rain and snow for a long-awaited reunion with C out in State College, PA at her new Penn State home. Though the weather left much to be desired...and by much, I mean all to be desired...and wasn't quite the Fall foliage weekend I had counted on, one road trip, a football game, many red bulls, and lots of Domino's cheesy bread later, there's nothing quite like a girls only weekend with my sisters. Since C is in her first year at Penn State and living in the germ-infested, underfed dorms really leaves much to be desired, I thought a tasty, homemade autumn treat was in order to let my baby sister know how much I miss her. Though autumn is my favorite baking season due to the heightened pumpkin usage, I recognized that not all people are quite as obsessed as me. Keeping in mind K's penchant for chocolate and everyone's love of apple, I chose a chocolate-apple muffin as the ticket to filling everyone's tummies with Fall cheer.

This recipe was adapted from the cookbook Muffins: Sweet & Savory Comfort Food by Cyndi Duncan & Georgie Patrick. A gift from one of my bestests, this cookbook is fabulous for both dessert and dinner muffins. With options like bran, jalepeno corn, pb & j, rum raisin, frosted pumpkin, and chocolate chip banana to name a few, you basically can't go wrong.

2 medium apples, peeled, cored, diced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar + 1/2 C sugar
1/4 C chopped nuts (I used pecans...yum!)
1/4 C melted butter
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa
3/4 C applesauce
1 1/4 C flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Combine apples, cinnamon, 1 tbsp sugar and nuts in small bowl; mix well and set aside. Thoroughly combine butter and cocoa; then add applesauce. In large bowl, combine flour, 1/2C sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in cocoa mixture and egg just until moistened. Place 1 tbsp batter in each of the 12 muffin cups; spoon 1 heaping tbsp aple mixture into each cup, pressing into batter. Cover each cup with 1tbsp batter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

My adjustments:
1) Since I was bringing this to a dorm full of hungry ladies (and left a few home for S and I wanted to be able to snack on one or two on the trip up) I doubled the recipe exactly.
2) I also left out the 'surprise'. In my haste to get all 24 muffins complete on a Thursday night, I simply folded the apple mixture into the wet ingredients, then filled the muffin cups with the mixture all combined.
3) I used muffin cups, not just the bare muffin tin
4) I also made a quick maple glaze for the top.*

Beware: These muffins are extremely moist. Between the applesauce and fresh apples, it makes for quite a wet muffin. I didn't mind as eating a dry muffin might as well be eating a cement brick.

Bottom Line: A great fall treat! Not quite as sweet as a cupcake, but more substantial than a cookie, these were a great weekend comfort food and a nice treat for C.

*Maple Glaze:
Combine 3 tbsp confectioner's sugar and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Whisk together and adjust ingredients to desired thickness. Drizzle on muffins.

The Cannon Girls take Penn State!