Summer is winding down and apple picking season is just around the corner. Apple picking means applesauce making! I haven’t used up last year’s applesauce though, so applesauce muffins (cupcakes?) are showing up a lot at our house these days.
I’ve had a fondness for these since childhood. My mom used to make them for me to take to school on my birthday! And I’ve made them for myself lots of times over the years. The original recipe was called “Applesauce Wheatcakes” and came from an old ’70s health food cookbook. I loved the flavor (I think its the cloves that set them apart), but they were somewhat greasy. Over time I’ve decreased the amounts of both butter and sugar and added an egg to come up with a version that I think is just right.
I usually use freshly ground spelt flour and those are still my favorites. However, I have experimented with a couple gluten-free versions that are definitely worth eating – and repeating.
Gluten Free Options
1) Replace the spelt flour with 1/2 cup sweet brown rice flour and 1 cup sorghum flour. These were nearly identical to the spelt version.
2) Replace the spelt flour with 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend that includes a starch. I had one I mixed up using brown rice, sorghum, teff, buckwheat and arrowroot starch. No one complained about these and the texture was fine, but the flavor of the flours (mainly the buckwheat) was more noticeable. I think any gluten-free flour blend would work just fine.
3) Replace the spelt flour with 1 1/3 cups ivory teff flour. Teff is more dense than other grains, so I used less flour. These were edible but more dense and the spice flavor was very muted. I preferred to cut them in half, toast and spread them with butter before eating. If I try another version with just one gluten-free grain (rather than a combination) it will be the sorghum. I am our right now, though, so that will have to wait.
These applesauce muffins are very versatile. Serve them for breakfast or snack. You could also call them cupcakes and present them as dessert. I prefer them plain, but you might like them with cream cheese frosting.
A note about greasing muffin tins . . .
I don’t do it anymore! Greasing muffin tins is a pain. Washing muffin tins is a pain. My muffin tins are old which means the non-stick coating is flaking off and gets on the edges of the muffins. Yuck. So, I line them with papers . . . but not just any papers! The Large Baking Cups from If You Care are my favorite. (That’s an Amazon affiliate link; I’ve also gotten them from Lucky Vitamin and Vitacost.)
Why are they my favorite? They’re brown (think parchment paper). That means they are not bleached or colored. They’re chlorine free. The best part, though, is that they are re-usable! OK – the box doesn’t say that. But the muffins pop out of the papers so easily and leave so few crumbs behind that I do re-use them. Several times in fact. I pull the papers off after the muffins have cooled slightly but are still warm, let them cool, stack them up and put them back in the cupboard.
Applesauce Muffin Recipe
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup rapadura or coconut sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 egg
- 1½ cups whole grain flour (I use freshly ground spelt; soft wheat will work as well)*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- dash of salt, I just twist my grinder 8-10 times
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line muffin tin with paper liners. Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in applesauce and egg. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until everything is combined. Divide into paper-lined muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes. Muffins are done when the tops feel springy when touched lightly.
How about you . . . do you have applesauce to use up before apple picking season? What are you making with it?