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I’ve been craving baked goods. Soft, buttery baked goods…oh man. I generally don’t love fruit in my sweets, but I couldn’t decide between sweet and savory, so for this muffin recipe I went for a combination as delightful as cookies and milk, bacon and eggs, or peanut butter and jelly: apples and cheese.
Maybe you haven’t gotten into the apples and cheese combo yet. Don’t be ashamed. Let me tell you though, it’s good stuff. It works hot or cold. In New England (and many old-school diners) they even sell apple pies with slices of cheddar.
Way back in ancient times the wealthy ate fruit, cheese, and nuts at the end of a meal because these things were thought to aid digestion. Eventually these items became slightly more accessible, and the theory is that since the colonists had brought both apples and cheese-making with them, they subsequently ended up combining the two in the same dish.
As for me, I took a less revolutionary, but no less delicious approach: I decided to bake them both into muffins. I shredded the apples so that the increased surface area would create more moisture and a more pervasive apple flavor throughout. This also alleviates the slimy surprise issue that can occur with chunks of apples in muffins.
Apple and Gouda Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
• 1/2 c butter, melted and cooled
• 2 c all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp nutmeg
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp baking soda
• 5.3 oz Greek-style yogurt in vanilla or plain (standard single-serving container)
• 2 eggs, room temperature
• 1 c packed brown sugar
• 1/4 c milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/4 lb gouda, cubed
• 4 small apples
Note: I chose pink lady apples because they have a nice tart edge but finish sweet. If you don’t have pink ladies in your area, I suggest granny smiths for a brighter apple flavor.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.
2. Melt the butter in the microwave (approximately 20 seconds depending on your microwave settings) and set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
4. In a separate large bowl, combine yogurt, eggs, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla. This can be done by hand if you prefer not to break out the hand mixer.
5. Slowly stir the melted butter into the liquid mixture and whisk vigorously to incorporate.
6. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
7. Peel the apples and use a cheese grater to shred the apple into the bowl. Once all apples are shredded, add the cubed gouda into the bowl as well and fold into the batter until mixed throughout.
Tip: Cubed gouda provides the perfect savory contrast to the apples. Go with larger pieces if you want the gouda to be more pronounced, or smaller cubes if you prefer to balance out sweet and savory flavors.
8. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. The batter will be very thick and the muffin cups should be filled to the top.
9. Bake for 25 to 27 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
The Apple and Gouda Muffins are best served warm, but they will keep in an airtight container for two days.
My taste-testers grudgingly agreed to the departure in my recent sugar-heavy offerings, and ended up giving the muffins multiple thumbs ups. Nothing makes a baker more satisfied than seeing someone reach for seconds!
Slather these babies with butter while warm out of the oven and you’ll forget you ever doubted the glorious apple and cheese combo.
we heartsters – What are your favorite fruit and cheese combinations?
photos: Heather for we heart this
Heather is a midwesterner living in Los Angeles and enjoys concocting weird flavor combinations and exploring delicious ethnic foods. She blogs at foodforfunandpleasure and knows her way around the spice cabinet like nobody’s business.