Apricot Filled Pretzel Crunch Muffins
So I’m an idiot. I’m such an advocate for in-season eating and local food, and what do I go ahead and choose for the first Cook’s Mission Challenge? Apricots. My heart was in the right place- last weekend, Upstate NY was in the high 70’s and I was feeling Spring! I associate spring with apricots, so I thought ‘perfect, I’ll make apricots the secret ingredient!’. Are apricots at any farmers markets? No. How about in any grocery stores? No. So was this a poor choice for the tail end of winter? Probably.
So that means dried fruit, which I’m okay with. Actually I’m more than okay with it. I hated dried fruit when I was younger, but when I tasted fruit that wasn’t soaked is sulfur (in my mind, sulfur=egg water) I grew to love dates, apricots, plums and even raisins.
The thing with dried fruit is: less water means a more intense taste, a more intense sweetness and yes, more calories. Fresh fruit will always have my heart, but I do love the occasional candy-like chew, and caramel-esque flavor of dried fruit.
I was thinking the mystery basket ingredients (pretzels and apricots) would be fun in a savory dish, but I hadn’t baked everything in a while so I decided to go for a muffin recipe.
The filling of these muffins is a gooey sweet apricot fudge. It keeps them so moist and is better than any icing!
The actual muffin is a hybrid apricot banana bread with crunchy pretzels as a topping. They’re vegan to accommodate more people!
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 tsp salt
Process all ingredients in a blender or food processor until creamy and smooth.
Apricot Stuffed Apricot Muffins
- 1/4 cup apple sauce
- 1 tbsp flaxseed, milled
- 1/4 cup almond milk (or soymilk)
- 1 banana, mashed
- 1/4 cup honey or brown rice syrup
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1 batch of apricot walnut filling, above
- 1/2 cup chopped pretzels
- 3 tbsp chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350*
Combine the apple sauce, flaxseed, almond milk and honey. Let mixture sit for fifteen minutes.
Why? Flaxseed has thickening properties that can increase the viscosity of the batter. I believe it’s the soluble fiber in the seed that binds water molecules. Have you ever added Metamucil (soluble fiber) to water and let it sit? It turns into goop! The properties of flax and chia seeds are similar and keep the muffins from falling apart. I let this sit for 15 minutes to give the seeds time to thicken the liquid.
Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, leavening and apricots. Pour the wet ingredients and mashed banana onto the dry ingredients and let sit for 5 minutes.
Why? Pouring the wet onto the dry lets the starch molecules in the flour swell before agitating them and producing gluten. Gluten is a protein structure that will be chewy or tough, so you want to avoid that. ‘
Fold together the wet and dry just until the powder disappears.
Why? The more you mix, the more gluten structure is created.
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup (or disher) distribute batter into 9-10 holes in a greased muffin tin. Add 1 tbsp of filling to each muffin, then cover with another tsp of batter. Top all muffins with crushed pretzels and walnuts, if desired.
Bake for 7 minutes in the oven. Because the cooking time is so short, there’s no need to open the oven and rotate the pan unless you’re sure your oven has hot spots. Opening the door will actually increase the chances of uneven cooking.
Cool the muffins and then enjoy! They’re awesome with coconut butter, or Coconut cream cheese.
Nutrition: (per muffin) 174 calories, 5 grams fat (1.6 grams saturated fat), 30 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber) (12.7 grams sugar) and 3.7 grams protein. Provides 7% recommended daily value of Vitamin A, 6% Vitamin C, 6% Iron and 3% Calcium.
Head over to the Cook’s Mission site to vote for your favorite recipe! Just leave a comment to place your vote.
The winner will pick the ingredients for the next week! 🙂
So my posts have become more involved lately. It takes several hours to put together a post, with baking/cooking several attempts, taking pictures, editing ingredient photos, researching the science and typing up the recipes. Though I love doing it, right now I’ve been having trouble putting out 6+ posts per week with school and work to tend to. I won’t take offence, but would you guys rather see more frequents posts or less frequent (4-5 posts/week) more detailed posts?
I can’t express how grateful I am for your comments and feedback. I just makes my day to see them. 🙂
THANK YOU everyone who participated in the first Cook’s Mission: Mystery Basket Competition challenge! It means so much to me.
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