We are all aware that certain things get better with age: cheese, wine, certain male actors… but muffins are not usually included in this category. Muffins are notoriously delicious the day they are baked, and while they will technically “keep” for a few days, they tend to dry out and change texture with each passing hour. Until now. I am excited to have discovered a recipe which not only withstands the passing of time, but actually benefits from it. Because of the olive oil in the batter, these muffins don’t dry out like their butter-based cousins, and actually taste better the next day. Over time the apples soften, the flavors meld, and the consistency improves, making these the perfect bake-ahead brunch or breakfast treat. Now, if only I could learn to age with such grace!
Olive oil and Apple Muffins
- 1 1/4 cup (160 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (120 g) whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup / 120 ml olive oil
- 3/4 cup / 150 g sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/8-inch / 1-cm dice
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 egg whites
For 12-14 muffins
Preheat the oven to 325°F / 170°C. Line muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
Sift together the flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
Beat together the oil and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a whisk). Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well until the batter is thick and smooth. Stir in the diced apples and lemon zest, then lightly fold in the dry ingredients.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl, either by hand or with a mixer, until they hold soft peaks. Fold them very gently into the batter, careful not to over-mix.
Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring the muffins to a rack or plate to cool completely.
These muffins are best the day after they are baked. Keep them in a covered container or an unsealed plastic bag, but don’t wrap them in direct contact with plastic wrap, which will stick to the muffins and turn into a big mess.