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.

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

  “I Got Baked in San Francisco” – Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Pastries occupy a special place in our relationship and in our hearts. When Jason and I first met, he was working at The Wild Flour Bakery in Ogden. We ate a lot of pastries in those early years (and I gained a little weight), thanks to the bakery’s leftovers. 

Needless to say, we expect a lot from pastries. Our usual haunts – Tartine, Knead Patisserie and B. Patisserie – never disappoint. When we try a new spot, these are the standards against which all others are judged. Croissants in Paris? Sure, they’re OK, but we’ve never eaten one that compares to the perfection that is a Tartine croissant. Kuin Amman at Dominique Ansel in NYC? Yeah, they’re pretty good. We admit it. But we’re a little judge-y when it comes to these things and that means we’re reluctant to spend those precious calories gambling on an unknown (to us) baker. 

Knowing we were likely too late to get our hands on the “croissant muffin” or “cruffin” at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, we decided to check the bakery out anyway (cruffins come out at 9AM and sell out quickly). The bakery is a small, kitschy little spot in San Francisco’s Tenderloin that is wildly popular in spite of the crappy neighborhood that houses it. In this city, that means they offer something people want.

  We tried the blueberry “Brioche Bomb” and a croissant. The brioche was soft and pillowy. Crunchy sugar crystals and a tasty crumb topping added nice texture. The blueberry filling was sweet, but not too sweet. Worth the visit.

  We liked the croissant a lot. It had a nice dark crispy outer layer and lots of flavorful soft layers in a perfectly sized portion. It was far better than almost all of the croissants you’ll find in a grocery or a coffee shop. Worth returning for more.

If you’re going, be sure to line up early for the signature cruffin. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
1042 Larkin Street (at Sutter St.)
San Francisco, CA 94109
They’re open daily from 7AM weekdays / 8AM weekends and close when they run out of goodies!


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.