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Insisting that the world keep turning our way

March 25, 2011

Growing up in a family of six, vacations inevitably meant a road trip. My dad, the brave man, took the helm of our conversion van and had strict rules about stopping (as in, he didn’t stop. Ever.). A cooler of food would be packed, the television/nintendo/vcr would be hooked up (powered through the cigarette lighter, how?!), everyone would buckle in and mark their upholstered territory (don’t cross my line!), and we’d hit the open road.

Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again became the anthem for our family vacations. Every one of our trips began with my dad hitting play on the cassette deck as he backed out the driveway, and like a band of gypsies, we’d go down the highway.

Tomorrow my family; my husband, son, and myself, embark on our first road trip together. We’re headed to Colorado to visit my sister and brother in law (or, as my husband refers to him, Super Brother). As I type this, my husband is packing up the snow gear, my son is gathering the necessary items to entertain himself in the car, and I realized I couldn’t leave you an entire week without a post! A brief one though, because I still have some packing to do myself.

I’m taking a lesson from my father and planning for a non-stop drive. I have a super-secret-bag-of-fun loaded with activities, a totally new playlist on my iPod, a Nook full of books, and most importantly, a cooler stocked with PB&J, fruit, crackers, homemade cookies, and these fantastic muffins. Fantastic muffins.

You see, we are planning on leaving Minnesota at 6 am. And morning people, we are not. These muffins, and a thermos of hot, black coffee, are my attempt to get us out of bed and into the car EARLY tomorrow.

I know what you’re thinking! Whole wheat and apples again? It’s not autumn, I know. But I wanted something hearty yet portable for the trip, and these fit the bill perfectly. With lots of apple and equal parts all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and buttermilk, they’re wonderfully balanced – light, nutty, sweet, and tart.

Make them, and enjoy them! When I return from vacation: a break from baked goods is in order. In fact, my husband recently told me that if I don’t post my pizza recipe soon, he’s going to stop reading my blog. What a sweetheart! (hi, honey!)

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

Adapted from SmittenKitchen

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, plus additional for topping
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large apples (I used Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and cut into pieces roughly 1/2 inch square

Grease a muffin tin with olive oil, and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk flours, baking soda and powder, salt and cinnamon together. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Mix in egg until combined. Scrape sides of bowl. Slowly add buttermilk, mixing at low speed. Mixture may not combine entirely (in fact, it might look kinda soupy and lumpy). That is entirely OK; don’t panic!

Add flour mixture in two parts, mixing until just combined and scraping bowl in between. Fold in apples.

Heap batter into muffin tin. You can fill the tins quite full, as the apples will shrink a bit (even as the batter rises). Sprinkle with additional brown sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes; turn oven down to 400 degrees, and bake for another 10 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean). Cool for a few minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack for an additional 30-plus minutes until completely cooled.

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