With the holidays season in full swing, these Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins are a healthy breakfast or dessert in between all the wine, cheese and other treats we indulge in this time of year. After a weekend of stuffing my face, I crave fruit and fiber – an apology to my body for having no will power when I see a cheese platter. I’ve fully accepted that as I get older, I can no longer eat with total reckless abondon, and need to be kind to my stomach even during the holidays.
Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins
This past fall, my girlfriends and I spent the day apple picking at Puddicombe Estate Farms, an annual tradition. With a bushel of fruit in my fridge the possibilities were endless! Over the past month I made lots of cider, apple crisp, apple butter and for my last five precious apples I decided to bake these muffins. Easy to make and a quick, portable breakfast or snack, my boyfriend and I are big muffin fans and when we bake together, we like to throw in all kinds of different ingredients and try out new flavour combinations.
One of my staple dishes I like to make during the holidays is a cornmeal and apple stuffing, such a tasty pairing! This inspired me to include some cornmeal to add some natural sweetness and density. While I added a bit of brown sugar, they are mainly sweetened with honey and the apples. To add to the heartiness, I also threw in some ground flax seeds for extra fiber. Packed full of apples with some cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for that holiday spice, these muffins are a healthy sweet treat.
We went apple picking late in the season this year, so the selection was waning when we arrived at Puddicombe Farms. The most plentiful trees were the Mutsu trees, and since these apples are ideal for baking we happily filled up our bags. Mutsu apples were first grown in Japan and are named after the northern Mutsu Province. They’re a cross between a Golden Delicious and an Indo apple, and are a nice balance of sweet and sour flavours.
Apple picking at Puddicombe Farms
The weather was so warm it still felt like summer and we peeled off our layers of fall clothing as we walked up and down the rows of trees.
Apple picking at Puddicombe Farms
I’ve always wanted to make my own apple butter. I first discovered this buttery jam years ago while on a detox and was impressed with how rich the apples tasted without the use of sugar. Flavour and consistency varied a lot between brands and I eventually I became addicted to the dark, sweet Wellesley apple butter, made with Ontario apples.
Food In Jars Apple Butter
For my first attempt at apple butter I tried Food In Jars Maple Bourbon Apple Butter recipe. I like her recipes in general because she uses syrups or juice instead of sugar. After cooking the apples for about an hour, they’re pureed and baked in an oven for 2-3 hours which brings out the sweetness and should give the sauce a darker, richer look. I think we probably should have baked our sauce a bit longer, as the consistency tasted closer to baby food than jam, and feel as though the colour was too light as well. I would also add double the amount of maple syrup, bourbon and orange zest because I couldn’t taste these flavours at all, which was a shame because they sound like a delicious combination! Overall, the apple butter still turned out nicely and I’m planning to give some jars away as gifts come Christmas, but I’m still on a quest to make that rich apple butter that I first fell in love with.