Maybe I'm basic, maybe I'm a typical "white girl," or maybe there's just something incredibly infectious about indulging in the beauty of an apple orchard and pumpkin patch on a sunny fall day.
There's no question about it, the number of photo ops at a pumpkin patch are abundant, but more than just finding the perfect Instagram shot to smack a filter onto before anxiously awaiting "likes" from the masses, I love my family's annual tradition of going to St. Andrews Scenic Acres for apple and pumpkin picking because it's just that, a tradition. My mom and I have been visiting the Milton farm for as long as I can remember, and each year as the first Fall chill permeates the air, I feel that same familiar stir to escape the bustle of the busy city and head into the country to appreciate the most striking season that our beautiful province has to offer.
With a large bounty of Cortland apples in our bags, and a successful day of farm-photo-ops behind us, inspiration for Fall apple recipes was running high. For weeks those farm-fresh apples found their way into pies, salads, tarts, and what has been my favourite, Guilt-Reduced Apple Pie Muffins.
You may recall in July of 2012 when I first made my Guilt-Reduced Apple Pie Muffins as a compromise to making apple pie, something I had never had much success with. I adapted a recipe for dessert-worthy muffins, giving it a healthier twist with the addition of whole wheat flour and apple sauce and reducing the amount of sugar. Though these muffins are still reminiscent of a moist apple cake, with their doughy interior and crispy crumble topping, their healthy spin make these babies perfect for a quick breakfast or snack on the go!
With a new fancy camera slung around my neck, I couldn't help but want to capture a new shot of the muffins to show how much I've learned and grown as a photographer in these past few years. I still have so much to learn and lots of practice to take part in, but I'm so incredibly proud of how far I've come, so much so that I couldn't help but take it personally when I recently brought my new camera out with me as I joined a group of girls for an afternoon get together. The moment I pulled out my camera (that still feels like a foreign object in my hand as I continue to learn its many intricacies) I heard a chorus of "oh so that's how she get's such good photos." Ouch. After nearly a year of working hard (yes, working) on perfecting my food photos, immersing myself in research, experimentation, note taking, and lots and lots of practice, I found it pretty offensive to have people credit my art to being a result of having an expensive piece of technology in my hand. Yes, my new camera has done wonders for my photography already, but guess what, for all these years I have been using a point and shoot and have gotten nearly the same results. I'm sure it wasn't meant as a dig, for all I know that could have been their way of complimenting me, but it felt pretty crappy.
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup + 2 Tbsp loosely-packed brown sugar
2/3 cup apple sauce
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups shredded firm and tart apples
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Make the muffin topping by stirring together brown sugar with flour, rolled oats, melted butter, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together brown sugar, apple sauce, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
- In a separate large bowl whisk together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Some of the whole grains may get caught in the sifter so just toss the remnants in with the rest of the flour after.
- Stir wet mixture into dry mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Fold in shredded apples, until just combined.
- Evenly scoop batter into a prepared muffin tin (greased or lined with paper muffin liners) so that the batter reaches 3/4 of the way up the cup. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.