Apple Cider Muffins

These muffins…they are so unbelievably moist. I don’t even know how I pulled it off. Maybe it’s the apple cider, maybe it’s the apple shreds…I don’t know. They’re both a butter and oil-based muffin, so not too dense, not too light, definitely not too dry. And the addition of dark brown sugar with the slightest hint of cinnamon (to the point where you have to ask yourself if you’re really tasting it or not) rounds out the wonderful fall flavor of the apple cider. Eaten all on their own, they’re simply wonderful, but I’m extra excited to slice one in half and toast it with a little pat of butter. I’m salivating just thinking about it!


THE RECIPE


Apple Cider Muffins

(makes two dozen or more)

I doubled this recipe and came out with 24 traditional round muffins, 24 square muffins, and 1 muffin loaf, so the count is not exact. Ending up with leftover batter shouldn’t be a problem, though! If you have extra pans, you can then prepare and use those or do as I did and find another vessel, like a loaf pan.

Don’t forget to check out my Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions at the bottom of the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick + 2 tbsp), softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil (I used safflower)
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unfiltered apple cider (preferably from your favorite cider mill!)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and grated (I recommend Granny Smith)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare two 12-cup muffin tins for baking (grease them with your preferred method or use baking cups).
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes at medium speed.
  4. Add the dark brown sugar and repeat until no lumps appear to remain.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated.
  6. Add the vegetable oil and mix until combined.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon (if using powdered buttermilk rather than liquid, add it to this mixture).
  8. In another bowl, whisk together the cider, buttermilk (or water, in the event that you’re using powdered buttermilk), and vanilla.
  9. Incorporate the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, alternating with the liquids in three batches, being careful not to overmix (overworking flour can result in a tough, chewy cake).
  10. Lastly, fold in the grated apple until evenly mixed.
  11. Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full.
  12. Bake until the muffins are golden and spring back to the touch, about 20-25 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool.

Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions

Apple Cider: What you use is really important because it’s going to have a big impact on the flavor, so make sure this is a cider that you love to drink. I specify unfiltered apple cider because, once it’s filtered, it’s really just apple juice.

Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a decent substitution by combining dairy milk with vinegar or lemon juice. It won’t be as thick, but it’ll do in a pinch.

Apples: Which apples you choose are also important here. I prefer a tart apple because the muffins are already loaded up with sugar, so Granny Smiths add another layer of flavor. But, by all means, choose whatever apple you like best, as long as it’s appropriate for baking.

Filling Muffin Tins: Use an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism for quick, clean, easy filling and exact measurements. They come in various sizes, so you’d want a mid-sized scoop for regular muffin tins, a small scoop for mini muffin tins, and a large scoop for jumbo muffin tins.

Serving: Because they’re so moist, these muffins are great toasted in the oven, which adds a little crispness to the edges. Then just smooth on a little butter and you just might find yourself in heaven 🙂


THE STORY


Not to toot my own horn…but I made the most amazing apple cider muffins yesterday! I’m just astonished at how good they turned out, so I can’t stop talking about them! Or eating them 🙂 Thank goodness I made about a billion…I thought my recipe was only going to put out a dozen, so I doubled it and ended up with four dozen muffins AND a muffin loaf, ha! Everyone in this house has been devouring them for the past two days, though, so it was obviously a worthy effort.

When I come up with my own recipe, there are always certain characteristics that I’m afraid I won’t achieve. For these muffins, would they be moist enough? Would they taste enough like apple cider? Would I have to soak them in cider after baking and, if so, would they become too moist? Am I adding too much cinnamon? Am I even adding enough cinnamon? Will the muffins overflow the pans as they rise? Will I burn them? Considering I made so many on my first attempt, this was an extra nerve-wracking situation. I couldn’t have smiled bigger after that first bite, though. I could barely stand to wait for them to cool. I think I lasted maybe ten minutes before snatching up a muffin and pulling it apart to test. Holy crap was it good! All day, Gia kept pointing at them and making this high pitched noise that usually means, “Can I have this?” I’m sure we’ve already finished one of the dozens…even the dog has been eating them!

So, do yourself a favor and make them! 😉 And then, as I am right now, sit on the couch and yell to your husband to butter up a muffin for you to enjoy as you lay back and relax Sunday afternoon in front of the TV 🙂

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