Apple-cinnamon muffins, with dilemma attached.

I’m an avid reader of Women’s Health – at least, the online version. Maybe it’s the daily giveaways that hook me, I don’t know. But sometimes, the magazine also has some tasty-looking recipes.

Now, I’m a skeptic. I’ll admit that. Any magazine with ‘health’ in the title has recipes that I associate with hippies and weight-lifting fanatics : tofu, soy milk, heaps of flax and oat bran and wheat germ, protein powder, etc. So I’m skeptical of trying anything. But I saw the recipes for healthy muffins, including this one for apple-cinnamon oat-bran muffins, and thought, ‘hey, why not?’ I’m trying to make better choices regarding what I eat, and I do better to eat breakfast every morning when I have something already fixed. Plus, I fondly remember a version of oat muffins I made early in high school. They were dark, moist, toothsome, cinnamon-y little treats and I loved them – but I don’t remember where I got the recipe from, and I can’t find it now. In the back of my head, I was hoping these would come out vaguely similar.

I’m sure you’ve figured out, by now, that my hopes and dreams didn’t exactly come true.

That’s not to say these muffins didn’t taste good, necessarily; they did. And they weren’t as moist as I might have liked, but I had expected that (no available applesauce, so I added a little bitty bit of oil). They were cinnamony, vaguely apple-y, nutty – they could’ve been delicious. But they were just sort of good, in a very plain way.

What bothered me was that they were short and squatty, and predictably, very dense. It wasn’t the nuttiness or the mouthfeel that bothered me so much as that the density and the compact crumb completely swallowed any other flavor other than a hint of apple and cinnamon. This density thing is actually a problem I’ve come across with anything I’ve tried to make with wheat flour recently (sandwich loaves are my most frustrating).

I read a King Arthur tip recently that talked about making a ‘sponge’ for wheat flour goods. I’d never tried anything like that, but it sounds like a good idea – seriously, the folks at King Arthur came up with it, how could it not work? :) But it still raises questions. Since the sponge basically solves my problems for yeast baking, what do I do with the rest of my baking with wheat flour? Will it always be dense like a small rock cake? I know there has to be a trick out there somewhere for baking light and fluffy creations like muffins and pancakes without overworking the batter but still incorporating enough air to get the rise I want. So I implore you, dear readers:

What are your tricks for baking with wheat flour?

p.s. If you like look of the recipe, please don’t let this ‘review’ discourage you. I’d love to see anyone else’s results with the original or a tweaked version!

7 thoughts on “Apple-cinnamon muffins, with dilemma attached.

  1. Those healthy muffins just don’t get as puffy as their unhealthier white flour and sugar cousins, but neither do we when we eat them. Now in a perfect world… :-)

  2. Given that applesauce is often used as an egg sub in egg-free baking, I think you might have had a different experience if you’d been able to use all the applesauce the recipe called for.

    Then again, some recipes are just poorly written! I’m with TCP in suggesting a small addition of extra baking powder or baking soda will help a bit, at least.

    • It seems like adding ‘healthy’ seems to equate with ‘less flavor’ in most people’s minds, but I’m determined not to let that happen to me!

      Thanks for visiting! :)


  3. Cat – in this case, the recipe actually called for all wheat, where normally I’ll just sub half and half in a recipe that calls for white. Does that make sense? Adding more baking powder was definitely on my mind, too.

    White on Rice (Denise?) – They were decent, but they just weren’t what I wanted. And to top it off, they didn’t keep very well. Sad. I think the applesauce would probably make it better. Luckily I have plenty from DH’s homemade stores. :) Let me know what you find out!

  4. I haven’t really baked with wheat flour, so your question intrigues me.
    Even though your muffins were small, they still look REALLY GOOD from this end! I think the applesauce addition would have really made a difference.
    Now I gotta go find out the answer to your great question. Thanks!

  5. Well heck. I use a lot of wheat flour… I usually substitute between a third and half of the flour called for. You can always add a little more baking powder (if you’re using it). Other than that… I’m at a loss.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s