Monday, November 24, 2008

Cocoa Applesauce Muffins

I wanted to make a sweet treat to go with our romantic dinner on Saturday (more on that to come). In thinking about what I had on hand - no chocolate chips but some cocoa powder, as well as lots of old apples going brown and waiting for me to get off my lazy butt and make applesauce - I concocted what I thought was a recipe for fudgy brownies with applesauce.

To make applesauce, I diced the apples, put them in a saucepan covered with a little water, honey, and cinnamon, and simmered for about 30 minutes until tender. Then I mashed the apples with a fork, until they had the consistency of chunky applesauce, and set it aside to cool.

I'm lacking in the baking apparatus (the roommate who recently moved out took her useful bread and cake pans with her), so I poured the batter into muffin tins, thinking they would come out like rich brownie cupcakes. However, I must have used too much flour and baking powder because they rose up instead as moist, hearty muffins, with just a touch of cocoa and spice. The chocolate flavor was very subtle, better serving as a morning treat or afternoon snack than a decadent dessert. For a heightened chocolate flavor, I think you'd have to double the cocoa powder and/or melt in some chocolate. Despite that, these muffins were addictive enough in their own right, and only one was left by the weekend's end.

Cocoa Applesauce Muffins

6 tbsp of butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder

Bring 1/3 cup water to simmer in a saucepan. Melt butter in a large bowl over saucepan. Set bowl aside to cool.

Then pour 1/4 of the hot water into a small bowl of cocoa powder, and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool.

While ingredients cool, preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two muffin tins.

Once cooled, whisk sugar, honey, eggs, applesauce, and cocoa mixture into the melted butter until smooth. Pour flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder into the bowl and stir to combine.

Scoop batter into muffin tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean. Makes 24 small muffins - or 15 regular muffins (make sure to grease any muffin tins you leave empty).

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