Apple Spice Muffins with Walnuts and Raisins

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Crisp fall mornings call for muffins.  Spicy muffins stuffed with tart apples, raisins and walnuts… the kind of muffin that makes you want to linger over a cup of coffee on a rainy morning and have a nostalgic sort through old photographs.

I’ve been rummaging through our photo collection recently in an effort to put them in some sort of coherent order, and I realized today that it was ten years ago this month that we took the kids to Iceland… Yup, the kid pictured below is now 6 inches taller than me. Everyone warned me I would blink and they would be all grown up. (sigh…)

im1.shutterfly-13Iceland was by far one of our most memorable family adventures…

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The geological features are truly unlike anything I’ve experienced on the planet – from the lava beaches…

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To the crazy moonscapes formed by volcanoes that had just recently blown…

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To glaciers…

im1.shutterfly-4And lots and lots of extraordinary waterfalls…

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We even ventured into geothermal fields studded with geysers… I have to admit, the fretting mom in me lived in fear that one of my small people would tumble into the center of the earth in one of these geysers – or other random crevices in the earth scattered about, but I’m happy to report they all survived the adventure.

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Oh how I wish I had discovered blogging back then (gosh, did blogging even exist in 2004?)  I wrote dispatches of our travels back home at the time, via Email, but it wasn’t quite the same.  How nice it would be to have the memories and photos all recorded in one place.

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But then again you would have had to listen to me complain about how hungry I was during this adventure.  With a bit of time and distance, this seems ridiculous.  You all know by now I tend to travel for the food.  As we sought to travel outside of the capital city of Reykjavik (where the food is reportedly excellent), into one of the most sparsely populated places on the planet, good food was a bit difficult to come by.  I was so hungry at one point, I decided to order puffin in the hotel restaurant.  (Yes, yes, I actually ate one of those cute little birds – I might as well have eaten a penguin.  I’m still traumatized by the experience.) The only other meal anyone can remember are the hamburgers we ate at a gas station (memorable mostly because the bill for the five of us totaled over $100 – not because of the quality of the burgers.) But really, having experienced the stunning beauty of this amazing country, how could I complain?

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I’d love to travel back there one day… perhaps this time equipped with a list of restaurants to visit in the capital.  But I wouldn’t order puffin again.  I promise.

But perhaps a muffin?

(Sorry for Icelandic wander during the muffin post. No actually, I’m not sorry.  That was fun.)

This recipe is adapted from a wonderful apple spice cake recipe found in The New Basics by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukin.  It’s been a favorite recipe for years… for good reason.
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Enjoy one with a cup of coffee, and reminisce about one of your old adventures… or better yet, plot a new one.

Come to think of it, as soon as I publish this post I’m going on an Internet wander to plot a new adventure… any ideas where I should go?

Apple Spice Muffins with Walnuts and Raisins

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 12 teaspoons (1 1/2 cups) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 1/2 cups grated tart apples (such as Granny Smith or Ginger Gold)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup raisins

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, and eggs, and mix on medium speed until well combined, scraping down the sides a few times.  Add the yogurt.

Mix in the flour mixture until just combined.  Then add the grated apples, walnuts and raisins, being careful not to overmix.

Scoop the batter into lined cupcake tins. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Note:  I lined my cupcake tins with parchment paper, and made the cupcakes a bit oversized, so the batter made just a dozen. You make them smaller, and should get closer to 18 muffins…. but check them at 20 minutes for doneness.

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