apple almond muffins

My phone rang earlier than usual Saturday morning with a giddy Barbara on the other end asking us to spend the night at her villa in the countryside. Manu, half asleep, said, “Heck yes!” and so we quickly packed our bags with sweatshirts and comfy pajamas. Though only a half hour away, it already feels like winter in Castel del Monte. While deciding whether or not I should bring slippers (Italians love slippers) Barbara called back, “Can you make a breakfast item? Something soft and nice?” 
After a long night of intense games of Italian Boggle, we woke up bright and early. I skipped to the kitchen (I brought my slippers, in the end) heated up the muffins, made a pot of coffee and called everyone to the dining room. They ate their muffins in silence until finally, Barbara said, “Um, Mari...these muffins...” Then came a deluge of recipe requests, compliments and muffin ponderings, “What does ‘muffin’ mean?”
Apple Almond Muffins
(based on this recipe)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and quartered
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted 
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cooking spray; set aside. Cut 3 apple quarters into 1/4-inch dice; cut remaining apple quarter into 12 thin slices for garnish. Whisk together sugars, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add diced apple and almonds, toss to coat. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and butter in a small bowl. Gently fold buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Top each with an apple slice and a sprinkle of sugar. Bake until muffins are brown around edges and spring back when touched, 16 to 18 minutes. Let muffins cool slightly, about 5 minutes, before turning out of tin onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
[Print this recipe]

As I went back to the country villa kitchen with the leftover muffins, I heard Barbara sneak in behind me, looking longingly at the last two. I packed them up for her and gave a “sh” signal. She gave me a thumbs up and a wink and returned to the others. 


19 comments:

  1. Oh man those look seriously delightful. I need to get these on my recipe queue ASAP!

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  2. 17 Perth10/08/2012

    Yum!! These look awesome!! I am definitely pinning now.

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  3. so yummy! i need to make these on the asap. you know how I love muffins!

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  4. Dancing Branflake10/08/2012

    I adore everything: the photos, the recipe, everything. But I do love the story that went along with it. Perfect.

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  5. Apples and almonds together just works in such a lovely way!

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  6. Could these be anymore perfect for Autumn? No, the answer is no.
    Is it easy to find brown sugar in Italy? It's a little tricky in France. I have a friend visiting for Xmas and I've already added, brown sugar, to my American goodies list :)

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  7. i just used "zucchero di canna" or raw cane sugar, which is brown. it's not exactly like brown sugar since it's more crystal-y (?) and you can't pack it but i figured it would add some sort of similar brown sugar dimension! here i can't find baking soda or powder so i always bring little containers of them back!

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  8. absolutely! you can also substitute walnuts if you like!

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  9. aw, thanks dear! even simple moments just seem magical here. :)

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  10. yeah you do! make them and your kitchen will smell like fall!

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  11. awesome, thanks alex! i have a little recipe queue too, it's getting super long! :)

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  12. These look fantastic! I'm baking muffins for a morning event soon, and these would be perfect

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  13. You know where I found baking soda in France? At the pharmacy! Seriously. Maybe that's where they sell it in Italy too.

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  14. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this recipe. We just went apple picking and I'm in need of things to do with them! These will work out great :)

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  15. yes, they're so good sara! and perfect for the season! :)

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thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, i love reading them so much!

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