Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spiced Apple Cider Muffins

You’ve heard it time and again: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s also the most neglected. Eating a healthy breakfast helps kids and adults maintain a healthy weight and have lower blood cholesterol. Finding time in your family’s busy schedule will make both you and your kids happier, smarter and healthier. Here’s a breakfast meal you won’t want to skip.

Spiced Apple Cider Muffins
Yields 1 dozen

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons whole-wheat flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup apple butter, such as Smucker's
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 400°. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

To prepare streusel: Mix brown sugar, whole-wheat flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts, if using.

To prepare muffins: Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.

Whisk egg and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in apple butter, syrup, cider, yogurt and oil. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they'll be quite full). Sprinkle with the streusel.

Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

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