Saturday, August 7, 2010

"A" is for Apple Nut Muffins

We just started school this week! I love homeschooling....for lots of of which is the flexibility to do school or take off whenever it works best for us. I'm contemplating doing more of a year-round school schedule from now on, as we've discovered that the summer months here are just too hot and humid to get out and do much and we're inside most of the time anyways. It's during the spring and fall that the weather is gorgeous and the playgrounds and parks are calling to us, not to mention that's when the grandparents like to visit. In anticipation of my parents and younger brother visiting around Labor Day, I started up our new year at the beginning of August, so we'll have five weeks under our belts before a two week vacation!

This year I'm doing some preschool activities with Annika (almost 3) as she is determined to do school with Corban (2nd) and Marissa (K).

I had already bought some materials for her when one of my favorite bloggers, Laura at Heavenly Homemakers, announced the release of a preschool curriculum she had been working on for a couple of years. It sounded wonderful, and I particularly liked her idea of adding on to the "Letter a Week" concept with doing a service project each week that began with that letter FOR somebody who's name begins with the same letter. I thought that would be easy to incorporate into our activities each week and would be good for all the kids, not just Annika.

Obviously, our letter this first week was "A". Our project was pretty easy to pick....we made Apple Nut Muffins for a friend across the street, Anna (and her family). The kids suggested mailing some to my sister, their Aunt Anna....but I assured them the muffins would be less than desirable when she would receive them. (You're Welcome, Anna!)

The recipe makes a large batch so we got to enjoy some as well. They're really like a little coffee cake in a muffin shape. We all liked them a lot....and I think next time I'll substitute some applesauce for some of the butter for a lower-fat option.

Recipe: (from Taste of Home)

2 T. butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/8 - 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
2 cups diced peeled apples
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (optional)

3/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 t. vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups flour (I used white whole wheat)
1-1/2 t. baking powder
1-1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1-1/2 cups (12 oz) sour cream

In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth. Add the apples; cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat; stir in nuts. Cool.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream.
Preheat oven to 350°.

Fill greased muffin cups 1/2 full. Spoon a rounded teaspoonful of apple mixture into the center of each (do not spread). Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Yield: 2 dozen regular muffins or 1 dozen jumbo muffins
Spoon greased muffin cups

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