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Apricot Filled Pretzel Crunch Muffins

March 26, 2010

By Mae from OhhMay 

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

Filling

  • 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)

  • 1/4 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 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

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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.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2010 8:31 pm

    I vote for YOU Mae! Yum!

  2. March 26, 2010 10:49 pm

    I checked out all the entries and I HAVE to vote for you, Mae!! Your muffins just blew me away!!! 😀

  3. Sarah permalink
    March 27, 2010 5:27 pm

    VOTE!
    I have been on a biiiiig muffin making kick this week and these sound absolutely delicious. Plus I think the crushed pretzels is a deliciously creative topping. Yum!

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