I first made these tasty little muffins about five or six years ago. It was shortly after I had bought my first “real” cookbook, Williams-Sonoma’s Baking, and I’m pretty sure I decided to make them based off the fact that my house already had the ingredients (and of course, there was a picture with the recipe. I’m a sucker for pretty photographs).
I baked and ate them happily, pleased with the result of how yummy all the fruit and nuts tasted and how moist the crumb turned out. I don’t remember them lasting very long–with three other siblings and parents who lack a strict sense of will power, these things didn’t last more than a day. I never forgot about those muffins, but in my venture to try new things and branch out with my cooking and baking repertoire (what? who in their right mind would branch out beyond muffins?) I must have placed the option of making them again to the wayside.
How silly I was to think that! I decided to make them this past Saturday morning and I have already made another batch since (and I’m guessing this pattern will continue). They’re a perfect breakfast for the now chilly mornings around here, warmed up in the microwave or toaster oven with a little pat of butter. With the warm nutty taste of whole wheat, wheat bran and cinnamon and the slightly sweetened crumb accented by toasted nuts and raisins, the taste of these things had me swooning. That’s not to mention a texture that is incredibly moist (thank you, carrot and apple and yogurt!) that has only a half a stick of butter to thank for it.
Somehow I completely passed over all the mostly good-for-you ingredients the first time I made these those few years ago. I just remember gobbling them up, back when I ate anything and everything without a care in the world for it’s nutrition (sigh). But now, after being consciously aware of adding in the wheat bran, whole wheat flour and piles of carrot and apple—and that’s not to mention the low amounts of sugar and butter—I feel guiltless and good starting my day with one or two of these. But no matter whether I payed attention to how nutritious these are, or whether they aren’t so much of an ambitious baking project or not, these were fantastic those 5 or 6 years ago just as they are delicious today. They’ll be just as good every time I make them in the future.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s Essentials of Baking
Makes 16 muffins
These muffins don’t rise too much in baking (even though they do turn out fluffy), so don’t be too afraid to fill the muffin tins at least 3/4 of the way full, or all the way full if you like bigger muffins. Also, I’ve made these with reducing the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup, and I thought they were perfectly sweet still—something to note if you’re trying to cut down the amount of sugar you’re consuming.
1 cup (155 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (155 g) whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup (20 g) wheat bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 (155 g) packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (375 g) plain yogurt, or buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 60 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cups (155 g) grated, peeled tart apple (about 1 large)
1/ 1/4 cups (185 g) finely grated, peeled carrots (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup (60 g) finely chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 cup (90 g) golden raisins
2 tablespoons granulated sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Butter 16 standard muffin pan cup.
In a large bowl, stir together the flours, bran, baking powder, baking soda , salt, cinnamon and brown sugar. Set aside.
In the bowl of standing mixer, beat the eggs on low speed until blended, then beat in the yogurt and butter. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until half moistened. Add the apple, carrots, nuts and raisins and stir just until evenly distributed. Do not overmix.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about three-fourths full, or a bit more (see note). Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15-17 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 2 minutes, then turn out onto the rack. Serve warm (mmm!). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days, or freeze for up to one month.