By Integrative Nutrition

Autumn is here and so is apple-picking season. If you’re wondering what to do with all of the fresh apples tumbling out of your crisper drawer, give this recipe a try. A tender, lightly-spiced muffin, packed with juicy apple chunks, is the perfect companion to a steaming mug of coffee on a chilly fall morning.Since these muffins are dairy-free and gluten-free (two of the most common allergens), they’re the perfect allergy-friendly treat to bring to school functions and potlucks as well. Don’t think that you have to have food allergies to make them, however. They’re delicious enough for any occasion and any dietary preference.

And since they’re packed with oats (in the form of oat flour), coconut oil, fruit, and healing spices, they’re as healthy as they are tasty.

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One of the cheapest and most accessible ways to make your baked goods both gluten-free AND more nutritious is using oat flour instead of white flour. If you’ve never baked with oat flour, you’re missing out. It offers much the same taste and consistency as white flour, but it’s a whole grain, full of fiber and protein that will promote satiety and stabilize your blood sugar. I actually prefer its subtly sweet, wholesome taste in baked goods like these muffins, nutrition aside. See the notes after the recipe to find out how to make oat flour at home for yourself.

When you make your own baked goods, you can control portion sizes and ingredient quantity and quality. Many of the muffins available at bakeries and restaurants are three to four sizes bigger than a muffin prepared in a standard muffin pan, and they’re often no different than cake – packed with refined sugar, hydrogenated oils, and white flour.

When homemade, however, muffins can be one of the most nutritious baked goods available. They’re portable, individually-portioned, and appropriate for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.

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In this recipe, half of the fat is replaced with applesauce and for the other half coconut oil is used. Coconut oil is a plant-based oil that promotes brain and metabolism health. Apple cider vinegar combined with cashew milk creates a plant-based “buttermilk”. Blood sugar stabilizing cinnamon and real vanilla extract add cozy, comforting flavors.

The resulting treat is nourishing, kid-friendly, and festive enough for autumn celebrations of any kind. Don’t shortchange your health – do your own baking this fall and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your nutrition goals. This recipe is kid-friendly since its made by hand without a mixer.

Apple Oat Spice Muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 apple, finely diced

1 3/4 cups oat flour (see Notes)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

1: Preheat oven to 375º F. Line two muffin pans with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together nut milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.

2: In a large bowl, stir together coconut oil, applesauce, coconut sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add cashew milk mixture, salt, and apple and stir again.

3: Sift dry ingredients over wet ingredient mixture. Stir batter until just combined. It will be slightly thin but thicken upon standing.

4: Using a 1/4 cup measure or a cookie scoop, divide batter among 14 lined muffin cups. They will be about three-quarters full. Bake muffins for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and set in the centers (a toothpick will come out clean when muffins are done).

5: Cool muffins in pans for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to two months.

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Notes:

-You can buy ready-made oat flour (Bob’s Red Mill is a great brand) or make it yourself. Simply blend old-fashioned oats in a high-speed food processor or blender until they reach a flour-like consistency.

-These muffins reheat well from the freezer for busy school or workday mornings. Simply microwave frozen muffins for 30-40 seconds.

-For an even more autumnal treat, try using pumpkin puree in place of the applesauce.

-Peanut butter is the perfect topping for your muffins, although they’re great on their own or with butter too.

 

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Integrative Nutrition is the world’s largest nutrition school and Health Coach Training Program. Through our innovative, one-year online course, students learn the principles of health coaching, business skills, and over 100 different dietary theories with lectures by the world’s leading experts.

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