My 5 Favorite Apple Recipes for Fall.

Now that it’s almost October, I’m starting to get on board with all the fall things! The weather has turned a little bit cooler and the leaves are starting to change, so I’m starting to accept the fact that summer is over and fall is here.

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Yesterday my friend and I picked apples and  now I have no less than 50 apples to use up. So, here are my favorite apple-based recipes in case you pick up some fresh fruit, too! These recipes scream fall to me and are tried-and-true. Some of them are pretty indulgent, so enjoy in moderation.

Easy Crock Pot Apple Butter

If I have to choose one apple recipe to make each year, it’s this one!! It’s fool-proof. I’ve been making this for years and it always turns out fantastic. It’s so easy to do because I let it cook in the crock pot overnight. In fact, I made this last night and woke up in the middle of the night to the sweet aroma of apples and cinnamon. I LOVE the way it makes my house smell, and the taste is even better! Make a large quantity and freeze some of it for later.

The Best Apple Pie Ever. 

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Now, if my husband could pick just one apple recipe for me to make, it would be this one. I use my one-minute homemade pie crust to hold in those sweet, juicy apple slices. They get tossed in a rich butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture before baking, and some of that lovely mixture gets brushed on the crust. It is sooooo ridiculously good.

Apple Crisp Muffins

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Super sweet muffins with real chunks of apple in the batter, then finished with an oat topping reminiscent of an apple crisp (hence the name). There’s enough sweetness that these can be dessert instead of breakfast!

Autumn Chopped Salad

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This salad is ahhhhmazing. There’s lots of yummy things like crunchy romaine, feta, peanuts, cranberries, bacon, a pear, and (of course) an apple! Toss the whole thing in a combination of poppyseed dressing and balsamic vinegar (seriously, so delicious) and dive in!

Easy Crock Pot Apple Sauce

Here’s another super easy crock pot recipe. You can make this refined sugar free by simply omitting the sugar. Like the apple butter, it all cooks down in the crock pot, but the apple sauce takes about half the time (6 hours). When it’s done it looks like this:

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What is your favorite apple recipe? Let me know in the comments!

Eggnog Muffins.

The Christmas baking posts continue! If you like the flavors of eggnog, you will love these muffins. Even if you do not like eggnog (I don’t!), you too will love these muffins!

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These festive muffins are a great way to get you in the Christmas spirit and make for a lovely Christmas breakfast. It’s also a great way to use up extra eggnog you have after the holidays. All the eggnog does is add moisture and flavor to the muffins. They’re not overly sweet and have a nice hint of nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon. They’re not exactly health food, but certainly are a better choice than some other muffins! They do have oats in them, after all!

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These muffins are easy to make; all you need are two bowls, a whisk, and a spatula! I love that I don’t even need to get out my electric mixer for to make these.

After the muffin batter is spooned into the pan, the muffins get an extra sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. This little addition makes the tops beautiful and just a tad sweet. Christmas is in 2 days…it’s not too late to add these to your holiday baking list!

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Eggnog Muffins

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups light eggnog
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Cinnamon-sugar for sprinkling (or make your own…mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
  2. Place flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to combine the dry ingredients.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggnog, oil, egg, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix or your muffins won’t rise properly. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over each. Bake in preheated over at 400F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Servings: 12-14 (I got 14). Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 171 Carbs: 24g Fat: 7g Protien: 4g Sugar: 12g Fiber: 2g WW PointsPlus: 5 

I found the original recipe on Atthebakersbench.com a few years ago, however they have since removed the link. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audreysparon.wordpress.com. 

Apple Crisp Muffins

If you love the flavors of apple crisp, you will love these muffins. They are very sweet, with a warm autumnal flavor thanks to the combination of apples and cinnamon. The crumb topping is to die for and really makes these look and taste like bakery style muffins!

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Thanksgiving is next week and these would be a delicious recipe to share with your family for breakfast, or dessert. They are soo moist (thanks to apple sauce and a little bit of oil and butter) and by far the best apple muffins I have ever made. But, just for the record: these are not healthy muffins. They do have white whole wheat flour and fruit in them, though. : )

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I almost went ahead and declared them cupcakes because they are more dessert than breakfast fare, but I then considered the absence of frosting and decided to leave them as muffins. Let’s be honest, though, there’s not THAT much of a  difference between muffins and cupcakes, right? Calling them muffins just makes it acceptable to eat one for breakfast!

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I used my handy apple peeler/corer/slicer machine to make these apple slices thin. Each muffin has layers of apple slices throughout, making each bite tasty and the overall appearance beautiful! I actually do not think the photos do them justice; these muffins are seriously yummy and will also make your home smell delicious!

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Apple Crisp Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped apple (about 2 medium-sized apples. I typically use Honeycrisp or Granny Smith)

For the crisp topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1). Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin pans with foil liners.

2). In a large bowl, mix together the butter, oil, sugars, and apple sauce with an electric mixer until very well combined. Add egg and vanilla and beat another minute.

3). In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Remove 2 tablespoons of this flour mixture and toss well with the apples in a small bowl.

4). Using a spatula, add half remaining flour mixture to wet ingredients, mixing just to combine. Add remaining half of flour and apples. Fold the apples into the batter until combined, being careful not to over mix. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full with batter.

5). Prepare the crisp topping. In a small bowl, combine all of the crisp topping ingredients until very well combined. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon over each muffin.

6). Bake muffins for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack.

Servings: 12. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 275 Carbs: 36 Fat: 13g Protein: 3g Sugar: 23g Fiber: 3g WW Points+:7 

Recipe adapted from: http://iowagirleats.com/2013/09/20/apple-crisp-muffins/ 

 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Mmm…pumpkin spice muffins! How appropriate for the season! These are my favorite pumpkin muffins I have ever made. I recently made the mistake of deviating from this recipe and was so disappointed that I had to make these to redeem myself. I stumbled upon this particular recipe a few years ago and it remains a favorite to this day. I’m so excited to share it with you!

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Just look at those beautiful specks of sugar and cinnamon on top! Don’t skip that step–the cinnamon sugar adds flavor, texture, and really makes these muffins gorgeous. The recipe calls for combining a tablespoon of sugar with cinnamon, but if you have a spice container of pre-made cinnamon sugar, by all means use that!

The pumpkin flavor in each muffin is subtle and no one flavor stands out. I actually like to increase the amount of pumpkin pie spice included to elevate the fall flavors a little more than the original recipe stated. My husband does not love pumpkin flavored things, but he loves these muffins. One big advantage of this recipe is how quick and easy these come together; all you need is a bowl and a whisk! With no special equipment necessary and little clean-up, these are perfect to whip up on a whim for breakfast.

IMG_20131012_100504This recipe is very adaptable. To keep these muffins on the healthy side, I substituted apple sauce for the vegetable oil and white whole wheat flour for all-purpose, but you can use whatever you prefer. If you’re feeling creative, try adding some fun mix-ins at the end! I think dried cranberries or chocolate chips could be delicious! If you try it, let me know!

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Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups white-whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-oz can)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice (I like to use 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • CInnamon sugar (1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1 tbsp sugar)

1) Put oven racks in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put liners in muffin cups. Whisk together pumpkin, applesauce or oil, eggs, pumpkin-pie spice, 1 cup sugar, baking powder/baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour with mixture until just combined.

2) Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

3). Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. (Mine were done before 25)

4). Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool. Enjoy!

Servings: 15. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 114 Carbs: 24g Fat: 1g Protein: 3g Sugar: 15g Fiber: 2g  WW PointsPlus: 3

Adapted from: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/10/promise-keeper-pumpkin-eater/ 

Skinny Blueberry Banana Muffins

IMG_20130525_102801Schools are out and summer is officially here! One of my favorite aspects of summer is all the fresh produce in the grocery store/farmer’s markets, including blueberries! Fresh blueberries are they key to making these muffins great (but frozen blueberries work too…they’re just not as tasty!). Did I mention I can get my husband to eat any fruit if I put it in muffin form? It’s true. Blueberries and bananas would never be tasted, unless baked in muffin or bread form. I used only white whole wheat flour in the batter to add nutrients and give these muffins staying power. They are surprisingly filling!! Each one is around 111 calories and can definitely tie you over until lunch, or be a sweet afternoon snack. I personally enjoyed them on our screen porch with a cup of coffee. Lovely!

IMG_20130525_102627I usually use applesauce as a substitute for oil or butter, but these muffins called for yogurt. Greek yogurt or regular yogurt both work perfectly. Substituting yogurt is a great trick to keep in mind for future baking! It keeps baked goods moist and adds protein without adding fat.

The next time you buy blueberries at the store, save some to make these muffins. They are fantastic!

Skinny Blueberry Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 large very ripe bananas)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt (or any yogurt)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup skim milk (almond milk, soy milk, rice milk)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1). Preheat oven to 325F. Line muffin tins with foil liners or spray pan with cooking spray (paper liners will stick!).

2). In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. Set aside.

3). In a medium bowl, mash the bananas until no longer lumpy. Add honey and mix. Add yogurt, egg, vanilla exctract, and brown sugar. Mix until well combined.

4). Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently fold them all together (it will be very thick!). Slowly add the milk while mixing the batter to thin it out some. Gently fold in the blueberries. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

5). Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full and bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Oven times will vary so keep an eye on them! Transfer them to a wire rack and allow muffins to cool before serving.

Servings: 16.

Nutritional Information per Muffin: Calories: 111 Carbs: 25g Fat: 1g Protein: 3g Sugar: 14g Fiber: 2g

WW PointsPlus: 3 Old Points: 2

Recipe adapted from: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/03/17/skinny-banana-blueberry-muffins/ 

Banana Chocolate Fudge Muffins

These may be some of the best muffins ever! Truthfully, these “muffins” may as well be cupcakes without frosting because they’re so sweet. No oil or butter is used, but there is quite a bit of sugar. They taste so rich and decadent that you would never imagine each one clocks in under 175 calories!

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The banana flavor is almost undetectable here. Muffins are the only way I can get my husband to eat bananas, so I always try to find muffin recipes that call for them. It helps that I always have plenty in the freezer waiting to be used!

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One look at these muffins and you know it has to be chocolate.  The cocoa powder addition elicits the dark brown, almost black, color of the batter, and a sprinkling of chocolate chips ensures that each bite is sweet and chocolate-y.

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I could not believe how light and fluffy the texture was, considering I used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. I’d like to test it out with all whole wheat flour but I’m afraid it may weigh down the final product too much. Next time I will at least do 3/4 whole wheat and 1/4 all-purpose!

I will definitely be making these again!

Banana Chocolate Fudge Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 very ripe large bananas
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

1). Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until there are no lumps. Add the sugar, egg, and applesauce and mix well.

2). Add the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder to the wet ingredients. Fold but do not overmix! Evenly divide batter between 15 muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Servings: 15

Nutritional information per Serving: Calories: 173 Fat: 5g Carbs: 33g Protein: 3g Sugar: 21g Fiber: 2g

WW P+: 5 Old points: 3

Recipe adapted from: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/11/11/skinny-chocolate-banana-fudge-muffins/ 

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Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Oh yes, you read that title correctly.

Peanut butter.

Bananas.

AND chocolate chips.

All in one delicious muffin!

Can I tell you what is absolutely delightful about these muffins? Not only is there peanut butter incorporated into the batter, but there is an additional tiny dollop in the middle of each and every muffin. It is a savory little surprise you find as you bite into these fluffy muffins and just really amplifies the peanut butter flavor.

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The peanut butter also increases the staying power of these muffins, making them a great option for a mid-afternoon/morning snack or even breakfast! Do you have a favorite brand of peanut butter? My husband and I both love Smart Balance for the short ingredient list (no oils or sugar!) and flavor. Since that’s what we have in the pantry, that’s what I used. Choose your favorite and go for it!

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The chocolate chips are totally optional. I made these before without them and they still turned out fantastic. My husband made a special request to add them in so I did, but please feel free to leave them out. (Chocolate does make everything better, though…) 🙂

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Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe medium bananas
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat!)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 Tbsp peanut butter (I used Smart Balance), divided into 8 Tbsp for batter and 2 Tbsp for filling.
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (completely optional!)

1). Preheat oven to 325F. Line muffin pan with muffin liners.

2). Mash bananas in a bowl. Set aside.

3). In another bowl, cream butter and sugar together until smooth with an electric mixer. Add egg whites, apple sauce, vanilla extract, and 8 Tbsp of peanut butter. Beat together until thick, scraping down the bowl occasionally.

4). Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix together and fold in chocolate chips. Don’t over mix!

5). Fill muffin pans halfway with batter. Top with a scant 1/2 tsp peanut butter, and add additional batter to fill up the muffin cup. Bake for about 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Servings: 17.

Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 151 Carbs: 19g Fat: 7g Protein: 4g Sugar: 9g

Recipe adapted from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/07/low-fat-peanut-butter-banana-muffins.html