By Rose McAvoy
I’m fairly confident you are familiar with the oft quoted saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” However, you may be less familiar with the equally wise words, “when life gives you apples make applesauce – then bake with it.” Simple words made easier to live by now that I have finally finished peeling, simmering, and sealing all of our apple bounty into shiny mason jars. The last push meant staying up far past my bedtime but by the time the final metal lid sealed with a pronounced pop! I took a moment to relish the satisfaction of a job well done. The threat of dozens of apples rotting in our garage had been averted and if the zombie apocalypse hits we have quart upon quart of rations to sustain us (or negotiate with). So until the unlikely hordes of flesh eating monsters descend upon us, I get to find other ways to enjoy all this homemade applesauce.
Unsweetened applesauce (homemade or store bought) is a handy baking ingredient. I use it to sneakily reduce both fat and sugar in baked goodies. Apples, like many things, are sweet enough all on their own and unsweetened doesn’t mean the sweetness has been removed only that no sugar has been added to the apples. Both of these cornmeal muffins have applesauce in them. They are not apple muffins but using applesauce enabled me to use less fat and sugar in each recipe.
First we have a fairly traditional cornbread. A few weeks back I substituted in the preschool kitchen and had the pleasure of making 12 dozen of these cuties. The regular cook left me her recipe and it looked simple enough. Nosing around in the refrigerator I found a container of leftover homemade applesauce. I couldn’t just leave it there, so I reinterpreted the recipe details and included the applesauce.
Cornbread for a Crowd
This recipe makes 12 dozen muffins. You may reduce the amounts provided to make a smaller batch or save it for your next chili cook-off or community soup supper.
Partner these savory and crumbly cornbread muffins with a hearty bowl of chili or stew. Instead of muffins this can be made in cake pans but the final cornbread is quite crumbly and may not hold its shape when cut.
10 cups cornmeal
10 cups rice flour
2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons baking powder
3 tablespoons salt
2 cups vegetable oil
8 cups rice milk
9 whole eggs
5 egg whites
3 1/2 cups applesauce
In a very large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a second very large bowl whisk together the wet ingredients.
Add the dry to the wet 1/3 at a time. Once fully combined, let batter rest for 5 minutes, it will be fairly loose.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin tins with paper liners.
Fill muffin liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake in preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Muffins are finished when a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.
Approximate Nutrition Per Muffin: 123 calories, 4 g. fat, 20 g. carbohydrates, 1 g. fiber, 2 g. protein, PP = 3; Allergy guide: gluten free, dairy free, soy free
This second muffin is a distant cousin of the first. The recipe also features cornmeal and applesauce but unlike cornbread they are moist, springy, and cake like in texture. I grabbed a jar of star anise and vanilla bean infused applesauce to make these. The resulting muffins had a hint of licorice that was very pleasing. There are no spices in the recipe but adding a dash of cinnamon, cardamom, or all spice along with a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract would be excellent additions.
I may have thrown you a curve ball choosing coconut cream for the fat. It is not lower in fat than butter but it offers a lighter flavor and slightly different texture. When I say coconut cream what I am talking about is the thick white solid that you find in a can of full fat coconut milk. Let the can of coconut milk sit in the refrigerator so the cream is very firm, a day or so. Do not shake the can before opening. Remove the lid and scoop out the thick cream, save it in a container in the refrigerator. Use the coconut cream in place of butter for cooking. The remaining thin coconut water can be used in a soup, smoothie, or whatever sounds good. Have questions about cooking with coconut fat? Check out this blog post.
Makes a very civilized dozen of indulgent tasting cake-like muffins. Tip: make these in a muffin tin prepared with non-stick spray, they stick to paper liners.
1/2 cup cornmeal
2/3 cups King Arthur All Purpose Gluten free flour
1/3 cup millet flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flax meal
3 packets of Stevia (or 6 teaspoons of sugar – more for a sweeter muffin)
1/4 cup coconut cream at room temperature
1 egg white
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup 1 percent milk
In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs and coconut cream before blending in the applesauce and milk.
Add the dry ingredients in the the wet and stir to combine. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare your muffin tin with non-stick spray or use a paper towel to wipe each cup with a bit of oil.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Muffins are baked when the tops have darkened slightly and a toothpick comes out clean.
Approximate Nutrition Per Muffin: 93 calories, 2 g. fat, 16 carbohydrates, 1.4 g. fiber, 2.8 g. protein, PP = 3; Allergy guide: Gluten and Soy free.
Standard flour alternative: Use 1 cup of all purpose flour in place of the gluten free and millet flours. Omit the xanthan gum.
For a sweet muffin: Increase the sugar to 1/4 cup. Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Read more from Rose McAvoy at Our Lady of Second Helpings.