I love the Internet: a quick jaunt on the WWW and next thing you know a cancer research scientist in Boston and a Punjabi Southern belle in Houston are helping me bake muffins.
Last week I bought a new muffin tin and a few days later I happened across a lovely apple tree while walking in the countryside. New tin + abundance of collected fruit. I needed a recipe! I searched my cookbooks but couldn’t find any suitable ideas. Time to call on my good friend Google. I asked him, Google, where can I find a nice apple muffin recipe, preferably with sour cream (key defender of dry bakes) and cardamom (a spice used in Nordic baking, which is quite fashionable at the moment. Obviously I only want muffins that are on-trend).
Good ol’Googs directed me to two food blogs, each with a different take on how to make muffins with my requested ingredients. I spent the morning baking both recipes, and then adapted a new recipe taking elements I liked from each of them. Voila: Apple, Cardamom and Sour Cream Muffins. I had a feeling these fellow bloggers wouldn't lead me astray when I read that Kerstin loves apple picking and appreciates how cardamom elevates their flavour to autumnal bliss; and Nishta digs that sour cream makes baked goods moist and feels that muffins should be muffins, not cupcakes! Amen.
I encourage you to pick a few apples this weekend — yes there are different types but honestly I think just about any would work in these — and encase them in this spiced batter if only for the betterment of everyone within smelling distance of your oven. Eau d'Autumn.
Apple, Cardamom and Sour Cream Muffins
Makes about 16 muffins
2 medium-sized apples
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (about 15 pods)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
250g plain white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
250g light brown sugar
65g unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
280ml sour cream
Peel, core and chop the apples into small dice. Set aside.
Bash open about 15 cardamom pods open (the number will fluctuate as pods have varying amounts of seeds, but this is a good amount to start with) and toast the seeds over a low heat for a few minutes. Grind the seeds to a powder in a mortar and pestle. You can buy ground cardamom but it's not going to be as fragrant as freshly toasted and ground.
Now stir all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs and brown sugar together (I do this by hand, an electric mixer isn't necessary here). Add the butter and vanilla essence and stir; then stir in the sour cream. Mix in the diced apples.
Slowly fold in the dry ingredients. Stop as soon as everything is combined, you don’t want to over-work the batter.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups or a well-greased muffin tray so that each cup is three-quarters full. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and you can stick a toothpick in the centre of a muffin and it comes out clean. If your oven is hotter at the back like mine is quickly rotate the tray about 15 minutes into baking, to help achieve an even colour.
Love your Leftovers: Muffins freeze well (thank goodness as we now have several batches here at Tasting Pages HQ). Just pop them into an air-tight container and put in the freezer. A muffin will defrost in about an hour.