Monday, October 22, 2012

Apple Allspice Muffins #MuffinMonday

If you have Liked my blog page on Facebook  – and thank you so much if you have – then you know that I was traveling in Egypt last weekend.  I have finally gotten straight that Upper Egypt is south and Lower Egypt is north and I am sad to be leaving this place just as I get the hang of it!  It’s all to do with the Nile, you see.  This ancient, mighty river flows north all the way through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea.  Most of its path is pure desert and, yet, along the banks and into the adjoining land, amazing vegetation grows in an astounding manner.  Flying into Luxor from Cairo, we saw acres and acres and acres of green.  As we traveled by van and bus to temples and tombs, all impressive testimonies to the ingenuity and wealth of ancient Egypt, we saw those lands being worked (mostly by hand with the occasional tractor) by modern-day Egyptians no less ingenious, providing food for the nation.  We passed fields of banana trees, corn, sugar cane and trucks and wheelbarrows piled high with ripe red tomatoes and shiny purple eggplant sand green cabbages more than a foot and a half across.  No kidding!   I will include a few photos of our trip after the regularly scheduled Muffin Monday muffin recipe for those who might be interested.

This week’s muffin comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours.  It is a simple recipe made beautiful by a generous streusel topping.  My only two alterations were the addition of one green apple chopped finely (and some lemon juice to stop it going brown) and a teaspoon of cinnamon, because I think allspice, apples and cinnamon are very good friends.  I hope you all agree.


For the streusel:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

5 tablespoons or 70g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the muffins:

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large green apple
2 cups or 250g all-purpose flour

1/2 cup or 115g granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed or 50g dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 115g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C and grease your muffin tin or line it with paper liners.

First we will make the streusel topping.  Put the flour, brown sugar and allspice in a small bowl and stir with a fork, mashing out the lumps in the brown sugar.

Add in the cold butter, cut into chunks and combine with a pastry blender or your fingers.  I tend to start out with the pastry blender and then use my fingers to get rid of the final large stubborn lumps of butter.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

On to the muffins!  Measure out two tablespoons of lemon juice into a small bowl big enough to hold your chopped apple.  Peel, core then chop the apple and add it to the lemon juice, stirring well to make sure all the little pieces of the apple are covered.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon and salt.  Mash the brown sugar lumps out with a fork.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla extract.

Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.

Fold in the chopped apple.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Heap some streusel topping on each muffin.  This makes a lot of topping so don’t be shy.  Dorie’s instructions say to lightly press the topping down into the batter but I completely forgot this step.  I didn’t lose any topping while baking so don’t stress out if you do too.

Bake in the preheated oven about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for a few minutes and then remove the muffins to cool completely.


~ ~ ~
And, now, some photos from our trip.

A tomb in the Worker's Village  - these are the folks that dug the enormous tombs
for the Valley of the Kings, where, sadly, photo taking is no longer allowed. 

Some of the beautiful decorations from inside the tomb. 

The Habu Temple in Luxor.

Amazing that color still remains.

Going to market?

The streets were filled with these little trucks and even motorbikes loaded with old corn stalks to be used for roofing.

The desert highway from Luxor to Abydos, away from the Nile, obviously. 

Donkeys are a typical mode of transportation.  We must have seen at least one hundred. 

Washing day!  I love the way they paint their balconies. Some even had curtains to keep out the dust and sun. 

Full load of bananas.

Not sure you can tell how large these cabbages were but they are ENORMOUS.

Tractors and camels (and donkeys and mules and water buffalo) all worked the fields and plied the roads. 

The temple in Abydos. 

This is the ceiling of the Abydos Temple.  It was lived in during past centuries and the fires that
were built to cook and heat the enormous stone structure had discolored the original painted carvings.
They left part dark after restoration so we could see the work that was done. 

Carvings in the temple of Dendera

Empty sarcophagi outside the temple of Dendera.  

Beautiful town streets that have an irrigation system.  And a street cleaner. 

More painted balconies and laundry. 

We passed this lovely mosque on our way home.

Thanks for traveling along with me!


  1. First off, for someone with no sense of direction, that whole north/lower/south/upper thing would result in a great deal of confusion.

    Second, those muffins look freakin' amazing.

    Third, I want to go to Egypt. (Your photos have convinced me!)

  2. I loved seeing your pictures! Thanks for sharing. I also love these muffins this week. Happy Monday!

  3. I don't get how this whole Dubai thing managed to get by me - I've been really wrapped up with Son#2's school play (3 shows last weekend plus cast party, now over, thank God!) so that must have been the reason. Clicked through to FB and then back to see the new digs in Dubai - lovely! The muffins sound delicious and look do-able for an amateur like myself - let's see if I get as much adoration with these as I did with the caramel mocha/macchiato batch!

  4. I wish I could be here longer because I would be thrilled to have you visit. But regardless, you should come. It's an amazing place.

  5. Thanks, Kate! I am never sure if I should add on personal photos but I know I enjoy them when other people do, so I did. Happy Monday to you too!

  6. Ah, the school play again! Did you manage to recruit a few newbies this time? I am not sure a humble apple crumb muffin could ever beat something with coffee and caramel but I can assure you it was tasty. :) Thanks for your kind words!

  7. Love that the liners match the apple in the muffins. :) What beautiful photos. I can't even imagine what it must be like there, but clearly it's amazing. The painted balconies are something else!

  8. Thanks for noticing! I bought them ages ago and have just been waiting for an apple opportunity to use them. :) The painted balconies are my favorite part. The apartments in Cairo are the same. Sandy brown buildings, many of them unfinished and tumbledown looking, but with painted balconies that are bright and friendly and you just know the folks inside are proud of them.


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