Baking with Kids: Applesauce Muffins
I’ve been on a bit of a muffin kick lately, thanks to the weird weather. Turns out that muffins are great to bake with my daughter. She gets to stir, it’s an educational activity, and we both get a relatively healthy snack (with some willpower). It helps her learn about measuring, tasting (she’s especially fond of brown sugar), stirring, and baking.
In the course of one week, I got my daughter to eat pistachios, oat bran, dried cherries, and cornmeal without complaining! In fact, she wanted more. Then it hit me–I have an applesauce bread recipe in my cookbook Hands-Off Cooking: Low-Supervision, High-Flavor Meals for Busy People! It was originally a muffin recipe given to me by a neighbor with kids and I had baked it as loaves, pre-momhood. Now I saw the wisdom of smaller bites. So we whipped them up and had fun sprinkling the tops with odds and ends of coconut and nuts that I found in the freezer. A simple glaze of confectioners sugar and milk would make a nice topping, too.
The Applelicious (aka Applesauce Muffins)
Yield: makes 12
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups applesauce (about 14 ounces)
- 3/4 cup oat bran
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, cranberries, or raisins
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Nuts, coconut, sprinkles, as needed
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners and spray them lightly with nonstick cooking spray (this really helps keep the paper from sticking).
- In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until well blended. A few lumps are fine. Divide the batter evenly between the cups. An ice cream scoop works well for this. Sprinkle the tops with chopped nuts, coconut, or whatever else sounds good.
- Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they spring back when touched with a finger and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then unmold onto a wire rack. Serve now, or let cool completely, wrap well, and store for up to 1 week.
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