Friday, 11 April 2014

Gwyneth's Apple Muffins and the rainy school holidays


Yesterday I started my day by baking muffins to take to a friend's place.  When I had planned to bake Spiced Apple Crumb Muffins I had been excited that I had all the ingredients to bake from a Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook from the library.  I hadn't counted on Sylvia wanting to play at 5.30am that morning and my friend's little girl being too sick for us to visit.  Serendipitously, I had another friend who appreciated the muffins.  All was not lost.

Apples are in season right now and this recipe seemed perfect.  Except I didn't really have all the ingredients.  I had most of them.  And what I didn't have, I was able to substitute.  Gwyneth uses spelt flour.  I have used it in the past but don't regularly have it in the kitchen.  There are only so many flours I can fit in my pantry.  I added more regular wheat flour because the mixture seemed so thin.  I was out of wholemeal flour so I used a little wheatgerm. 

I chopped everything finely for Sylvia.  (She has an aversion to bits!)  When it came to sprinkling the crumble topping, she was eager to help.  It seemed there was too much topping for the muffins.  Yet by the time they rose beautifully, they had just the right amount of crumble.  I was most pleased with the muffins.  Perfect golden crunchy domed tops.  The maple syrup gave lovely flavour but minimal sweetness.  And they were soft and comforting.  (My only reservation is that maybe I shouldn't have reduced the cinnamon quite so much.)  It seemed a shame not to share even though we didn't go to see Yav.

Let me pause here to note that the school holidays started on Monday.  They are Sylvia's first school holidays.  It has been a gloomy grey wet week.  I was very glad that I booked Sylvia into a holiday swimming intensive of lessons every morning this week. It has been a great way for her to burn off some energy, even if it is a chore to dry the towels and bathers every night.  It makes me feel better about not being able to get out to the park or riding on her new bike.  Hopefully we will see the sun next week.

I phoned my friend Kathleen and suggested we meet up for a cuppa and a muffin.  We had originally planned to meet last week but I had been sick.  The fates were kind to us.  I was able to share the muffins with an appreciative friend.  Sylvia had great time playing with Kathleen's daughter.  And we were able to have a good catch up after all.  So it seems that the best laid plans of mice and men might go awry but a batch of fresh muffins will always be good thing.

I am sending this post to Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families for the Simple and in Season food challenge, run by Ren Behan.  I am also sending the muffins to Healthy Vegan Fridays #13, hosted by Suzanne at Hello Veggy, Anna at Herbivore Triathlete, and Kimmy at Rock My Vegan Socks.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Topsy Turvy Dinner: savoury chocolate muffins and cauliflower rice - and a cat fight
Two years ago: PPN Holiday cooking - Nut Roast and Pasta Napoletana
Three years ago: Autumn Apple Cake
Four years ago: PPN Mee Goreng
Five years ago: A Nutroast Tribute
Six years ago: A Long-winded Nut Roast Post

Apple and walnut crumble muffins
Adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow's Notes from My Kitchen Table (online here)
Makes 12 muffins

6 tbsp white flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
3 tbsp rice bran oil
1 tbsp soy milk

1 tbsp cornflour
2 small apples peeled and finely chopped (mine weighed 260g)
125ml rice bran oil (or another neutral oil)
150ml maple syrup
150ml soy milk
250g white plain flour
50g wheatgerm
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon (I used 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
60g toasted walnuts (I forgot to toast) finely chopped

Preheat oven to 180 C (or 350 F).  Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin papers or grease.

Prepare topping by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Toss chopped apples with cornflour in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisk together oil, maple syrup and milk in a medium to large mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients except walnuts.  Mix until combined.  Fold in apples and walnuts.

Spoon into muffin tin.  Sprinkle with all of the crumble topping mixture.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (I did 30 minutes).  Cool on a wire rack.

On the Stereo:
Late Night Tales: Nouvelle Vague: Various Artists


  1. Glad to hear everything turned out swell in the end... especially since those muffins are gorgeous and definitely meant to be shared. :)

  2. Ah there's nothing better than fresh muffins shared! These look great, I'll try these for sure. I've made her blueberry spelt ones, which we loved

  3. These muffins look nice. I'm glad Sylvia had a way to get some exercise despite the awful weather.

  4. These look gorgeous Johanna - as you say, just right for this time of year. They also combine all my favourite muffin things (apples, spices, maple syrup, crunchy topping). I'm glad you got to share them even if not with the people originally intended, and that swimming lessons have rescued you from a week of indoor days with an active child. If it helps make you feel better about your rain, it was 35'C here again yesterday which I find an affront to autumn!

  5. These look delicious, especially with that strusel topping.

  6. We're definitely going to have to get used to lots of apples and pears coming up. I'm reluctant to see the end of the stone fruit but winter is definitely coming.

  7. They look great and such nice flavours for a muffin. I hope you are feeling better this week Johanna. Oh and love Sylvia's drawings :)

    ps I still can't believe they are old enough for school yet

  8. Those muffins look lovely - perfect for an autumn meet up with friends. What a pity the weather has been horrible for Sylvia's first school holidays. Swimming intensives are great. I reckon my kids always learnt way more in a week than they did in a whole term of regular swimming lessons. The grey weather has been perfect at our house, because H is doing year 12, so she hasn't had warm days and blue skies tempting her away from her desk.

  9. These muffins look perfect! They have just the right amount of rise and crumble on top.

  10. What lovely looking muffins! I love all the photos you capture of Sylvia's hand in action - so cute :)

  11. Man oh man; I'm salivating! Thanks for linking up :)


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