12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 3: Upside-Down Caramel Apple Muffins

I’m going to have to make this a quick post, because I need to pack for a trip!

While I’ve had many successes with cake, I can’t say the same for muffins. I’ve had more misses than hits in the muffin department, and I think it’s because of the way the ingredients are combined. No creaming, just mixing wet ingredients into the dry and baking. I don’t think I have the lightest hand when combining muffin batter, and it results in strange aftertastes.

I once made an atrocious muffin from How To Be A Domestic Goddess, and it had a harsh baking soda aftertaste. So, for the next muffin recipe I tried from HTBADG,  I halved the amount of baking powder and soda. And I got a disgusting, claggy, underdone, flat muffin.

So I learned my lesson: follow the recipe. Which is what I did with these upside-down caramel apple muffins. The recipe is from NYT’s Melissa Clark, a writer I adore. She elevates the everyday with a twist in technique or by adding an unusual element, and her laidback style (in front of the camera and on paper) makes the recipe easy to follow. In this recipe, she’s added fruit and baked it under dollops of muffin batter, so the apple slices get a lovely caramelization. Plus, they look pretty cute.

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The only substitute I used was yogurt in lieu of sour cream. The original recipe is over at the NYT cooking page. 

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Le Crunch: What Goes Into Breeding An Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

I was purchasing apples earlier this week, from my neighbourhood grocer, and I was alarmed at the cost. I picked up the red apple, and asked him if it was imported, because I saw a sticker on it. I thought it must have been a Washington Red or Red Delicious sticker…on closer inspection, it just read:

Le crunch harmonie royal gala 4173

I thought, this must be one phancy foreign apple! My grocer told me, “Madam, woh toh hum aise hi laga dete hain. Accha lagta hain!” Translated, that means he just stuck it there for fun. I thought it was funny. And bizarre.

I came home and looked it up online, and there are apples named Royal Gala Le Crunch 4173, but none named Le crunch harmonie royal gala 4173. Dressing up apples with stickers that had wannabe French words printed on them!

And that tiny apple certainly didn’t look like it came from foreign shores. Oh well. I guessed my fruitseller was aiming to impress. (I actually peeled off the sticker at first, but then stuck it back on for this post.) Is there a variety of apple named Le crunch harmonie royal gala 4173?

Anyway, as I was reading random stuff about global and Indian apple cultivation + different varieties of apples, and I came across this video on The New Yorker online. It seems, it takes more than a sticker to make an apple really famous. It takes years for an apple to become worthy of a nametag. This video documents what it takes to breed a new variety of apple called the SweeTango.

You can view the original video here.

Pretty interesting stuff!