Sunday, April 22, 2012

Apple, Cardamom and Ginger Streusel Muffins

A pan of warm muffins on the counter on a Saturday or Sunday morning makes my kitchen happy...  Especially when there's a crumbly streusel topping, and the muffins are full of spices.

These muffins are a little unique, spiced with cardamom, nutmeg and a hint of ginger.  There's crystallized (candied) ginger in the topping, too, and the unexpected mild heat of the ginger is a wake-up to the taste buds first thing in the morning.

I found the crystallized ginger at World Market, a store I'm tempted to visit every week, but have to limit myself to visiting just once every couple of months.  Jamie might regret having introduced me to that store, since every time I walk in, I find something new and interesting that I just know wants to come home with me.  Striped pasta, unique spices and exotic teas, cute little ramekins, baking dishes and utensils, pretty plates, bowls and table linens, rustic wine bottle racks...  It's a good thing I'm limited by our cupboard space - there simply isn't room for anything else.

Some major things are changing at work, although I won't go into detail since I don't like talking about work in my blog posts.  But I will say that I'm facing some big decisions, and while it's also an opportunity to try something new and possibly pursue something I'm more passionate about, it's also stressful and a little overwhelming.  On a related note of pursuing my passion, I've been following the progress of the Cottage Food Law, which just passed in Colorado last month, now making it legal to operate a home-based food business.  I would love to hear from any of you who have started your own food business, as I can use all the advice and insight that someone experienced in that area could offer me.

So these muffins are a comfort.  We ate the muffins plain, just warm from the oven, but if you have to put something on them, a drizzle of honey might be just the thing.

Apple, Cardamom and Ginger Streusel Muffins
printable recipe

muffin batter:
  • 2/3 cup grated apple (1 medium-large or 2 small apples)
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
streusel topping:
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon crystallized or candied ginger, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray (the muffins will overflow to create muffin tops, so the spray will keep them from sticking where they spill over), then line the pan with 12 paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the grated apple, brown sugar, honey, oil, eggs, vanilla and yogurt until well combined.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined.

Fill the muffin cups with the batter; they will be full, almost to the top.  In a small bowl, combine all the streusel ingredients, using your fingers or a fork to mash the butter into the dry ingredients until moist and crumbly - I like my streusel topping a little more dry and crumbly, but if you like yours more moist and buttery, just increase the amount of butter.  Sprinkle the streusel topping over the batter and gently press it into the batter.

Bake muffins for 18-22 minutes, until the topping is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool muffins in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Yields 12 muffins.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen