The Harbinger Online

Baking Bad: Applesauce Walnut Muffins

As any stereotypical mom, and I myself, would say, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And I fully believe in that statement. It’s probably even my main motto, besides “ovaries before bro-varies”. In short, I love breakfast like nothing else.
This being a baking blog, however, limits my breakfast-baking options. Besides muffins and doughnuts, I’m left with very little. So when I was deciding what to bake for this week’s blog, I muttered my usual “QuĂ© sera, sera” and flipped to the muffin section in my cookbook.
After assessing the contents of my kitchen to see what ingredients I had, I decided to go with a simple applesauce walnut muffin recipe. The muffins seemed easy enough; so without further ado I set out on my quest to conquer yet another type of muffin.
I began by mixing together all of the wet ingredients (minus the applesauce, which would go in with the walnuts at the end) with sugar. Once that was done, I sifted together the dry ingredients. Being one of the clumsiest people I know, my plan to sift together the ingredients was pretty much an abject failure. After scooping half of the dry mix off of my counter and back into the bowl, I was ready to combine.
Along with the flour, salt, baking powder, etc. mixture, I was also supposed to mix in a couple of different spices with the wet ingredients: cinnamon and nutmeg. Looking in the spice cabinet, the cinnamon was easy enough to find. The nutmeg, however, was a bit more of a challenge.
At one point in her life, my mom labelled 20 or so different jars and filled them with different spices, which now rest in our spice cabinet. But the years have taken their toll on the poorly Sharpie-ed labeling system my mom had going, leaving about half of them unreadable. Which led me to my predicament: where the hell was the nutmeg?
I spent long enough looking for the nutmeg to consider bashing some of the jars into my head. Eventually, as per usual when it comes to me, I gave up and just threw a teaspoon of a brown-ish looking spice into the mixture. When the mixture was completely combined, I threw in half a bag of walnuts (even though the recipe said only a half cup. YOLO, am I right?) and measured out a cup of applesauce to pour in.
Once I’d mixed everything together, I began to doubt how much applesauce was actually necessary in the recipe. Its purpose was to add both moisture and flavor, but at that point the muffin batter had the consistency of dinosaur egg oatmeal. Faced with the decision of whether or not to add more flour to make it thicker or to keep going, I decided to do what had become a pattern in making the muffins: say “whatever” and hope it worked out.
Once I’d poured all of the soup-batter into two separate muffin tins (and, if I’m going to be honest, ate about a half cup of it), I set them in the oven and waited. And waited. After 15 minutes I took them out, and, no surprise, they weren’t done. So, I continued waiting and re-testing the muffins every five minutes until after 30, they were satisfactory.
After letting them cool, I decided to take my first bite. As I’d feared, they were too moist, but thankfully I’d let them bake long enough so that they weren’t still batter-filled. The taste, however, was still extremely pleasant. The outer crust was golden and had just enough of a crunch, although the inside was somewhere between batter and muffin. The walnuts and apple complemented each other well, and even though they were practically melt-in-your-mouth, all around the muffins were a success.
As I’m considering what sort of lesson I learned from making applesauce walnut muffins, a pretty bad one comes to mind: if you just half-ass something and roll with the punches, it’ll turn out pretty okay. Okay, actually, scratch that first part. I think the second part will work just fine.
Roll with the punches, and everything will turn out okay.
Yes. I like that.

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