Fall!

It finally feels like fall!  Remarkably we’ve had cooler weather all week (rather than days on end of 95 degree heat).  Dare I say it for fear it will go away?  But I’ve even worn jeans, sweaters, and boots  in the last few days because of the refreshing and quite lovely drop in temperature.

There’s a chill in the air (or at least a cool breeze).  Leaves have started to drop or turn to those wonderfully warm oranges, reds, and yellows.  The soft, golden autumn light is unmistakable.  And I am currently wrapped up in a blanket (even though I don’t really need it, but blankets just make ya cozy, know what I mean?) on the couch while screaming football fans cheer loudly on the TV.  Doesn’t it all just sound so glowy and romantic?

Now, I do realize that all of my friends in Seattle, Montana, and Ireland are laughing their arses off at me as they have true fall weather in their areas (not the low 70’s we have right now).  However, I’m gonna take any kind of non-95 degree weather/non-sweaty (and when I say “sweaty” I mean “sweaty”, not “glistening”) days I can get.

In celebration of autumn, I wanted to make something with quintessential fall flavors.  Apples and cinnamon immediately came to mind.  These were so easy (seriously, so easy), and filled the house with the amazing aroma of sweet warmth.  I do have just a couple of notes for you that are totally optional…

  • I decided that I wanted to incorporate more of a cinnamon flavor throughout the muffin, so I simply doubled the strudel part of the recipe.  As I filled the muffin tin, I only dropped a small amount of dough to cover the bottom of the cup to begin.  Then I sprinkled a bit of strudel in each cup, dropped the rest of the dough in, and finally covered each muffin with the rest of the strudel.  I was worried that the extra flavor might overwhelm the muffin but it ended up being a delicious change.  The cinnamon enhanced the apple flavor, so be bold and go for it!
  • The dough was seriously thick, like crazy thick.  I ended up adding just a touch of milk to loosen it up a bit.
  • Next time I might add some toasted walnuts to the dough.  Not too many, but that nutty flavor would be yummy with the apples and cinnamon.

Apple Strudel Muffins (care of allrecipes.com)

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

INGREDIENTS:  2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup white sugar, 2 eggs, 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla, 1 1/2 cups chopped apples

Strudel:  1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon butter

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Stir in apples, and gradually blend in the flour mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.  In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.  Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack.

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