Monday, October 29, 2018

Healthy Apple Cider Muffins for #MuffinMonday

Healthy Apple Cider Muffins for #MuffinMonday

Apple cider and nutmeg-spiced whole grain baked treats covered with cinnamon sugar are a lightened-up version of the popular fall donut.

photo of a plate of healthy apple cider donut muffins, brushed with melted butter and swirled in cinnamon sugar

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Eating with the seasons means that change is constant. Come to think of it, being a military spouse means the same thing. Being a parent means the same thing--once you get a handle on one age, growth and development means your newfound knowledge is sorely lacking. Again. Heck, I guess being human means that change is constant. I'm getting off track.

image of preparing wet ingredients for healthy apple cider donut muffins--pouring vegetable oil into bowl with eggs and reduced apple cider

This website focuses on using seasonal produce, and it's Fall, so we're talking apples, apple cider, buttercup and butternut squash, and that's just the start of the alphabet. As the seasons change so does the offerings in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share and at the farmer's market. Just like my dogs warmly greet me even if I just ran upstairs for a pair of socks, I warmly greet the arrival of each new season (although with considerably less tail wagging).

Apple cider and nutmeg-spiced whole grain baked treats covered with cinnamon sugar are a lightened-up version of the popular fall donut.

One of my favorite fall delights is an apple cider donut. I'll pick up a few at the farmer's market. I'll buy some at an orchard farm stand. I'll even get a box at Super Target if I see 'em, because I love the flavor so much. For this month's Muffin Monday, I decided to challenge myself to make this at home. Muffin style.

photo of mini muffin pan with 8 healthy apple cider donuts in pan

These little gems are a healthy homemade version of the popular Fall treat--apple cider donuts. Using white whole wheat flour, cutting the fat and sugar in half, and baking instead of frying are all ways I've lightened up this autumn delicacy while preserving the cake-like interior and sugary exterior.

image of apple cider being reduced on a stove top

I checked out a number of recipes online, and the first thing they had in common was to reduce fresh apple cider into syrup by boiling it gently on the stove top. So I did that. In fact, I did that about a week before I finally made the muffins--so if you've got some time on your hands and some apple cider--knock that task out.  To make it easier to know how your apple cider reduction is progressing, keep a glass (pyrex) measuring cup handy by the stove. That way, you can measure the hot cider and determine if you're done boiling or need to simmer a bit more.

photo of finishing healthy apple cider donut muffins by brushing with melted butter and swirling in cinnamon sugar

I used this apple cider donut recipe as my inspiration. I chose to bake these in a mini muffin pan for 2 reasons--first, to give the bite-sized donut hole sensation as I ate it, and second because my spouse would be taking most of them to the detachment to share with cadre and cadets. Although I lightened up the batter, I kept the finishing touches of melted butter and a whirl in cinnamon sugar so that the initial bite really reminded me of an apple cider donut hole.

image of a plate of healthy apple cider donut muffins

I also made a video, since I am a visual learner, to show you how to mix up the batter, how quick it is to prepare a pan of muffins, and how to finish them after baking.

Notes:  Start early--you'll need to reduce the apple cider and then cool it before mixing up the muffin batter. I recommend doing this on a separate day, up to a week before you're ready to bake. These muffins will freeze just fine after baking. Once thawed, complete the finishing step with the melted butter and cinnamon sugar. This recipe is easily doubled.

Apple cider and nutmeg-spiced whole grain baked treats covered with cinnamon sugar are a lightened-up version of the popular fall donut.

For more recipes using apples or apple cider, please see my Apples and Apple Cider Recipes Collection. This collection is part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

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Muffin Monday

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Now for a Behind the Scenes. I'm still finding the best lighting for photos in my new home--and the best set up to record a video as the kitchen, while lovely and spacious, is kinda dark. For this recipe I relied on my pilates machine as a workspace. I also forgot how to operate the camera, and took this photo while I was trying to start the recording button.

a picture of behind the scenes while photographing the muffins, with the plate of muffins on a pilates machine, camera and tripod visible in the mirror


  1. More work than most muffins but they sure look absolutely worth the effort. YUM

  2. Hahaha, Kirsten! I love the candid shot. My giggle of the morning - thank you! And that cider syrup?! I could eat that with a spoon. Great idea for adding flavor.

  3. Great sounding muffins! Love the video too!

  4. I had a craving for something like this on Saturday. Alas, I had no apple cider (and can't find it here). I'll have to make do with something dusted in cinnamon sugar.

  5. I'd like to see some of your tail wagging. :)