Oh Nigella, how I do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

I was so excited for Nigella Lawson’s new cookbook, “Nigella Kitchen.” I was even more excited when my friend and fellow Nigella follower, Sunny asked me to go to Williams-Sonoma with her for a “Nigella Kitchen” book signing! She is hands down my favorite celebrity chef. As I have said before, I love the way she writes her recipes. I how charmingly homemade they are. She is all about cooking as an act of love and is the total opposite of cooking snobbery. I feel the romance of cooking and baking through her words. And, of course, every recipe I have ever made from one Nigella’s cookbooks is wonderful. All of her recipes are what I refer to as “make again recipes.” Some new recipes are good, but not so good that I would bother to make them a second time. Nigella’s are always second-timers, and third, and fourth, and so on. This makes me happy, because I am always looking for new dishes and desserts to add to my repertoire.

So, lucky us, we made it through the line and got to meet The Domestic Goddess with my 6 1/2 month old and Sunny’s 6 week old baby! We even got bumped up because my little LoveBug was getting hungry and ticked off and wanted everyone to know it! Thanks Buggie! Meeting her was surreal! It’s kind of fog now and I have since thought of a plethora of things I coulda woulda shoulda said to her. But, what an awesome experience! Nigella is beautiful, kind, and sweet. True to her charming way with words, when she saw little 6 week old Sasha she declared, “This one is freshly hatched!” Ok, I think I am done gushing. Oh no, just kidding. One more thing, the cookbook is great! Beautiful photos, beautiful words, and beautiful food.

These muffins are perfect for breakfast and of course go wonderful with a cup of coffee. I ate 3 the day I made them. Yup. One fresh out of the oven, one with my coffee, and one when I got home from work. As Nigella suggests, they are a perfect way to make use of apples that are starting to go bad. And that is exactly why I settled on making them as my first baked item from “Nigella Kitchen.”

Nigella talking with Elijah! His first celebrity meeting!

 

I was sooooOooOoooo... excited!

And finally, the recipe. I adapted it slightly. Nigella can do no wrong, but I subbed half whole wheat flour,  added nutmeg, left out the almonds, and subbed my dairy-free version of buttermilk for the yogurt

Nigella’s Apple and Cinnamon Muffins
Slightly adapted

Ingredients

2 apples
1 cup  whole wheat flour
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1 more tsp. for sprinkling
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar plus 4 tsp. for sprinkling
½ cup honey
¼ cup plain yogurt or ¼ cup rice milk with 1 tbs. apple cider vinegar (my dairy free buttermilk)
½ cup flavorless vegetable oil
2 eggs
½ cup raw (unblanched almonds)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line muffin tin with paper cups.

Peel, core, and cut apples into small pieces, about ¼” (as Nigella points out, please don’t measure!) and put them aside.

Measure flour, baking powder, one tsp. of the cinnamon, and the nutmeg into a bowl

Whisk together the 2/3 cup brown sugar, the honey, yogurt (or dairy-free substitute), vegetable oil, and eggs in another bowl

If you are adding the almonds give them a rough chop and add half of them to the flour mixture.

Put the other half of almonds in a small bowl with the other tsp. of cinnamon and 4 tsp. of brown sugar, mix together to make the topping. I just used the cinnamon and brown sugar and it was quite yummy.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Add the chopped apple. Do not over mix! Lumpy is good! Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle the topping over them.

Place in preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until muffins are risen and golden. Take pan out of oven and let muffins sit in the pan for about 5 minutes before taking out and placing on a cooling rack.

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