Apple Cider Muffins

Fall is almost here, which means several things: football is back, sweater drawers need stocking, and, for those of us in New England, it is time we cling to temperate weather for dear life. Fall also means the arrival of all things pumpkin — pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin smoothies, and, of course, the famed pumpkin spice latte. Now I love pumpkin as much as the next person, but good lawd. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. It’s only September. There will be plenty of time for pumpkin goodies from October to December. Besides, jumping straight to pumpkin means overlooking one of the best fall flavors — apple.

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These apple cider muffins are the perfect seasonal steppingstone to fall, still warm with spices, but not full force pumpkin or sweet potato. And, if you can believe it, they’re actually pretty healthy! Aside from the small amount of butter in the streusel, these muffins are fat free. (Okay, so you could omit the streusel to make them completely fat free, but know that I am fully pro-butter.) I like to use half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour so the muffins are more nutritious and flavorful, but don’t taste like an ultra granola health food. I also add in a bit of flaxseed meal, which is loaded with fiber and omega-3s.

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Rather than using apple cider, this recipe calls for apple cider drink mix. Now I admit, normally, I’m a little bougie when it comes to artificial ingredients, but I happen to have a nostalgic connection to apple cider mix. Before I knew what real apple cider was, my mom would buy Alpine spiced cider mix for my siblings and me to sip in the fall and winter. Apple cider went right along with hot chocolate and peppermint tea. I distinctly remember drinking it as we watched the various Peanuts holiday specials and buying some cider mix to make these muffins means I also have some left to indulge these childhood memories…

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Apple Cider Muffins (adapted from It Bakes Me Happy)

Muffins, makes 8 muffins

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flower
  • 2 packets apple cider mix
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (optional)*
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 cup water

Streusel

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cold
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together both flours, flaxseed meal, apple cider mix, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the vanilla, egg, applesauce, milk, and water and stir until mixed. Lumpy batter is okay. Fill muffin tins 2/3rds of the way.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together first four streusel ingredients. Using a fork, cut cold butter into mix. Add pecans and stir to mix. Sprinkle streusel on top of muffin batter.
  4. Bake muffins for 18-22 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

*You can find flaxseed meal at some fancier grocery stores like Whole Foods or Roche Bros., but I recommend getting it for the low low at Trader Joe’s.

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