Loaded Apple Cider Oatmeal Muffins

Make these sometime soon. Your mouth will high-five you and your stomach will thank you.

Mmmm...muffins!Please don’t judge me, but I’m not a breakfast person. Well, let me clarify – I’m not a weekday breakfast person. During the late 80’s/early 90’s, you could find me Monday through Friday mornings in the midst of a war of attrition with my breakfast. I would stare down at that bowl of cereal through my coke bottle glasses…knowing full and well its contents would only get soggier…and that my mom would make me eat every mushy bite before the bus came. Thanks, Mom!

Now that I’m on my own, I do breakfast on my terms. I’ve found that the quickest, most convenient option for me is to make a protein shake in the morning so that I can grab it and get out the door. Is it the sexiest breakfast in the world? No. Does it get the job done? Each and every time.

The best part is that my protein shake holds me over for a few hours, but when snack time rolls around, I’m ready for something with a little more substance.

I switch my snacks up all the time – sometimes, my decisions are based on what I’m craving or what I’ve already got in the house. Other times, I’m inspired by something I see on another food blog, which is the category into which these muffins fall. I’ve only slightly modified this recipe from Jessica over at How Sweet It Is. This girl is brilliant – everything I’ve tried off her site goes on repeat in my culinary repertoire and these muffins are no exception. They’re hearty without being heavy – and while the cider adds a hint of sweetness, the tart apples keep that sugar in check.

And for those of you wondering…no, muffins aren’t just for breakfast. They are the perfect snack option for non-breakfast folks like myself.

Loaded Apple Cider Oatmeal Muffins

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:
2 granny smith apples, diced
3 tablespoons apple cider
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 large egg
1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons butter, browned, melted and cooled
1/3 cup apple cider

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons butter. Watch carefully and wait for butter to bubble and then brown, about 3-5 minutes. Pour brown butter from pan into a little bowl and set aside. Return skillet to burner over medium-low heat and add diced apples with 3 tablespoons apple cider, and a pinch of cinnamon and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 8-10 minutes. In a bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside. Line a muffin tin with liners.

In a large bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar together until smooth and no lumps remain. Add in vanilla extract, butter, apple sauce and apple cider, whisking again until smooth. Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in diced apples. Do not over mix! Fill each muffin liner 2/3 of the way full with batter (I use a cookie scoop to get the muffins to be of equal size).

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until tops are no longer wet and become slightly golden.

If you’re like me and you have a giant muffin pan, which makes six at a time instead of the standard twelve, you’ll want to increase the baking time to about 30 minutes.

Then, congratulate yourself for only eating one mega-muffin instead of two (or three) inferior ones.

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