Apple Oatmeal Muffins

It’s fall, the weather is cooling (somewhere) and we’re diving into the season’s familiar flavors. Lucky for us, that includes crisp, sweet tart apples. In a world where most produce is available year round, there’s still something about tasting something in season that is particularly satisfying. Apples, particularly ubiquitous and endlessly available, are best when freshly picked and right out of the orchard.

Our weekly produce deliveries now include an assortment of apples and we couldn’t be happier to include them in our rotation. They typically show up on our brunch plates, sautéed in butter and sweetened with maple before joining Jason’s crazy delicious multigrain pancakes. A recent batch of Granny Smith apples ended up in these tasty muffins where they add both sweetness and moisture. The addition of leftover cooked steel cut oats further helps keep the muffins from drying out. Both apple and cooked oats reduce the need for moisturizing fats. For those of us who pay attention to such things, the reduced fat and added fiber mean these become everyday muffins, perfect for breakfast with a little yogurt or as a snack whenever our hunger begs for a quick fix.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Apple Oatmeal Muffins

1 large granny smith apple, grated
2 cups leftover oatmeal (preferably cooked with diced apple)
2 eggs
½ cup melted butter (minus one tablespoon for topping)
½ cup kefir
⅔ cup plus brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1½ tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

6 tbsp oats
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F.

Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, whisk together the grated apple, leftover oatmeal, eggs, melted butter, kefir and brown sugar until smooth and there are no clumps of oatmeal. Add the salt and whisk a few more times.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Fold the flour mixture into the wet mixture until combined. Be careful not to over mix.

In a small bowl, mix together the rolled oats, brown sugar, and melted butter for the topping, set aside.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. These will be big muffins so don’t worry if the muffin tins seem to be over filled. Sprinkle the muffins with rolled oat topping and place on the middle rack of the oven, bake for 22-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If you’re worried about the muffin batter overflowing, place a sheet pan under the muffin tin.

Cool the muffins in the pan on a rack for a few minutes then remove from pan.


Chocolate Coconut Cashew Granola

Chocolate for breakfast? That sounds like a decadent dessert-type guilty pleasure. When I think of super sweet breakfasts, I imagine waffles or pancakes topped with a huge pile of whipped cream, maybe some chocolate sprinkles or a big drizzle of syrup. Yum! But this is not the way to start a weekday, no matter how tempting. That stuff belongs to the weekend!

I have been craving bananas and chocolate for a few days but didn’t want to go over to the dark, er … dessert side. Instead, the idea of chocolate in the morning morphed into a healthy quick breakfast idea that we enjoyed for a few weeks.

The inspiration for this chocolate granola comes from Kitchen Confidante’s Mocha Coconut Granola Working with what I had in our pantry, I added a few ingredients here and substituted a few others there. As with most granola recipes, this is a jumping off point. You should add whatever dried nuts and fruit you want to create your own custom bowl of hearty granola.

Serve Chocolate Granola with whole milk plain yogurt, some fresh strawberries and a drizzle of honey, or sprinkle over your favorite chocolate muffin mix for a little crunch. Of course, if you’re like us, you’ll have a hard time resisting eating by the handfuls out of the jar.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chocolate Granola

coconut oil cooking spray
3 cups rolled oats, multi grain cereal or a combination
1/4 cup flax seeds
2/3 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup desiccated coconut, divided
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons espresso powder, or instant coffee
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cacao nibs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lightly misting with coconut oil cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the cereal, flax seeds, cashews, and a 1/4 cup of the desiccated coconut. Mix together. In a small sauce pan over low-medium heat, add the coconut oil, agave, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and a small pinch of salt. Heat, whisking until a smooth consistency.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and mix until well combined. Spread on the baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes. Checking every 10-15 minutes, gently string the cereal and rotating the pan.

Allow to cool and store in an airtight container for two weeks or longer.  


Orange Banana Bread

We can get citrus year round today, but specialty citrus like blood oranges are still only available seasonally, and that’s a good thing. We like instant gratification just like the next person (one of us more than the other), but some things are better when we have to wait, and when that thing is almost over it’s nice to preserve some of it for a little longer.

Candied citrus is an easy way to make a good thing last another month or two. I read about the technique at and made up a batch. Slicing was a bit of a challenge since the fruit was a little soft. That didn’t matter much, the fruit topping produced an interesting rustic look for the banana bread, a slight adaption from something I found at, thank you.

Fruity olive oil and dark chocolate play well with the ripe bananas and orange. Adding zest to the bread batter will enhance the bright orange flavor from the candied topping. I forgot the zest in the batched in the photos, but I included it in the recipe. No matter. Like everyone else, we have more than enough bananas in the freezer to whip up a batch of banana bread anytime we want, and a little more time to make another batch of blood orange candied citrus.

Candied citrus can be used in a variety of ways. When sliced properly, the beautiful rounds fit perfectly on top of muffins and cupcakes—either baked in or decorated with.  Chopped candied citrus can be thrown into a variety of baked goods or desserts when a little citrus is needed. Candied citrus truly is a good thing for any baker, but hurry and get the end of season citrus now or you’ll just have to wait until next year. Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Orange Banana Bread

1 cup / 4.5 oz all-purpose flour
1 cup / 5 oz graham or whole wheat flour
1/3 cup / 2.35 oz light brown sugar/coconut sugar/muscovado sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup / 3.5 oz coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups / 12 oz mashed, ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
1/4 cup / 60 ml plain, whole milk kefir or yogurt,
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the top:
canned orange slices

Preheat the oven to 350° F, and place a rack in the center. Grease a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan, or equivalent.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate pieces and combine well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, zest, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and top with candied orange slices.

Bake until golden brown, about 50-55 minutes..

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.