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Apricot Filled Pretzel Crunch Muffins

March 27, 2010

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!

apple sauce dried apricots walnuts toasted


  • 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.

whole wheat flour almond milkapple sauceflaxseedripe banananas dried apricotswalnuts toasted pretzels chopped

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.

IMG_0137 IMG_0138 IMG_0141


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.

Check out:

Christina’s Rosemary Apricot Stuffed Pretzels

Jessica’s Pretzel and Apricot Crusted Tuna with Apricot Quinoa

Heather’s Crunchy Pretzel Apricot Glaze Chicken

Caronae’s White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels Coated in Chopped Apricots

Jessica’s Apricot Chickpea Patties

Meg’s Gluten Free Apricot Pretzel Snack Mix

Jessie’s Secret Apricot Passion Pudding

Katie’s Pretzels with Apricot Mustard

*Links will bring you to the individual blogs. Go to CooksMission.Wordpress.Com to cast your vote.

Make sure you VOTE

26 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2010 3:30 am

    YUM!!!! Girl, those look SO amazingly good!!! I don’t know how you do it. I really don’t.
    And I think that you shouldn’t feel PRESSURE to post. If you are busy, do blog when you have time. We understand 🙂 And I don’t think anyone wants to add anymore stress to your shoulders dear!

    By the way, so sorry I never responded to your e-mail! it was a HUGE help though!!! I actually don’t have a cast but there were tons and tons of great tips, thank you SO MUCH!!!!!
    Love ya!!

  2. From Party To Hearty permalink
    March 27, 2010 3:33 am

    I like to see a post each day, but if ever interferes with school/work don’t worry about it! Just do what you can and that’s all anyone expects! Trust me, you will not lose your readers because they are awesome! 🙂

  3. March 27, 2010 3:33 am

    Gooey sweet apricot fudge?!? Again, you’re amazing Mae. 🙂

  4. March 27, 2010 4:00 am

    wow! those look great! i love that they are vegan. that means i can make them without any substitutions.

    i also really like these super-involved posts, though i can imagine that they must be time and labor intensive to put together. don’t worry about not posting as often if it would interfere with school and the rest of your life! like clay said, you won’t lose any readers with posts like this.

  5. March 27, 2010 4:44 am

    Girl, you just blow. me. away. Your talent with food is AMAZING!!! I think you chose the PERFECT ingredients – and now I wish I had participated!!! 😉

    Off to check out those posts and vote!!! 😀

    Great job!!!


  6. March 27, 2010 5:05 am

    Girl, that just looks incredibly amazing! My week was a little crazy, but I hope to participate next time!

  7. March 27, 2010 5:07 am

    Those muffins have to be the most creative and delicious looking muffins I’ve ever seen! I love pretzels and I love apricots!! Brilliant combination! 🙂

  8. March 27, 2010 5:35 am

    Mae, those Crunch Muffins look heavenly. Wow! I can understand how much work goes into all your posts – and you’re an extremely busy girl, especially managing the Cook’s Mission website, too! I’d say if you really love doing the more detailed posts, and the shorter ones don’t cut it for you, do them less frequently – I’ll read them all! Do what you’re most comfortable with 🙂

  9. March 27, 2010 6:01 am

    Thanks for the cook’s mission recap and link! This muffin recipes is one of my faves. Now I have to go vote 🙂

  10. March 27, 2010 6:10 am

    I don’t understand how u can be so smart and time-efficient…what is wrong with me …?

  11. March 27, 2010 6:47 am

    I was so going to make muffins with these ingredients! I am really really glad that you did! and since I just happen to have those ingredients on hand… 😀

  12. March 27, 2010 6:53 am

    Ack, you’re killing me – these look KILLER! I need to try to whip some up 🙂 (orrrrr, we could ust have like, a baking day or something 😛 ) So in love with this challenge. I can’t wait for the next!
    And I say – post whatever and whenever works for you and makes you happy! Regardless – I will ALWAYS read them and be in awe, that’s a given 🙂

  13. March 27, 2010 9:29 am

    You are too cute! Whatever works best for you! It is YOUR blog after all! If you have time and feel like posting, then go for it! if you are stressed and busy, then take a break!
    We will all still be here when you come back! Go with what feels right for you!

  14. March 27, 2010 10:14 am

    These look awesome. I don’t know how you do it! It must be so labor intensive to photograph every ingredient…even though the finished result is terrific.

    I MUST make these muffins. They look so good. Thanks for the fab recipe. 🙂

  15. March 27, 2010 7:02 pm

    Wow, how creative!! I’ll bet the sweet + salty tastes AMAZING. I want to participate in the next one!!

  16. March 27, 2010 9:10 pm

    I getcha on the occasional desire for dried fruit. Of course, I’ll never forget when I was 12 and ate a big bowl of dried apricots, then went on a walk with my mom and fell on the side of the road with stomach pain. Gross!

    Sorry to dishonor your beautiful muffin post. How crass of me!

  17. March 27, 2010 10:15 pm

    I did not get time to enter the challenge – my appologizes!

    but…on the other hand these Muffins look out of this world and I keep dreaming about your sundae from last week – its going to be on my dinner menu soon!

    Have a good weekend!

  18. March 27, 2010 10:54 pm

    I am LOVING the visuals of the recipe ingredients! I love the little measuring spoons and cups decorating the page, indicating what and how much is used. I also LOVE the in-depth posts–I learn so much from you. I think a fun update post now and again is great too, but the posts you do now really highlight all of your strengths with the researching, science, baking, photography, writing, etc. Keep it up!

    BTW, have you decided yet where to go to school?? I’ve accepted Clemson’s offer so I’m pretty excited 🙂

  19. Kelly Michelle permalink
    April 17, 2010 1:36 am

    hmmmmm you have a banana in the picture but it’s not in the ingredients or directions? they look delicious and I wanted to make them!

    • April 17, 2010 2:05 am

      Ohhh my bad! I’ll fix that right now! 🙂

  20. Kelly Michelle permalink
    April 17, 2010 2:15 am

    yay, I also just tried the coconut cream cream cheese and chocolate euphoria. The chocolate= love, I am currently undecided on cream cheese 🙂 but you are a culinary genius either way. If you had never invented anything other than humnut pizza I would probably still think this though- that stuff has changed my life.

  21. Kelly Michelle permalink
    April 18, 2010 4:49 am

    Ok so I just made these and they are delicious BUT I did take some liberties with the recipe 🙂

    I eliminated the walnuts and pretzels on top. I reduced the honey to 3 tbsp. I substituted dried figs for the apricots and just took the dried fruit out of the muffin part (just in the filling).

    They are a little more calories friendly at 125 each. You could also take the walnuts out for an even 100cals each (made ten muffins). but I like the crunch, might be good with the pretzels in the filling?

    Basically I ended up with banana muffins with figgy filling and they were better than any fig newton I ever had!

    Thanks for the great idea

  22. Kelly Michelle permalink
    April 18, 2010 4:50 am

    Oh I also forgot to mention that I bet a dab of nut butter in the very center of the filling would be AMAZING, then they would be triple layer muffins 🙂

  23. Michelle permalink
    August 24, 2010 7:30 am

    THESE AND EVERYTHING ELSE LOOK SOO GOOD. you are soo cute, i cant wait to read this more in depth!

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