(apple pie muffins not pictured; these are other delicious baked goods from the Spoon. photo by Tori Silvera)

Wondering why apples (and grapes, and peaches, and everything else) are so pricey this year? Well, if you were in Canada this past spring, you would have noticed a very strange early spring that found us all biking in shorts during the early days of March. Temperatures soared, the sun shone, and all the fruit trees’ little buds popped out, thinking that it was spring. This was soon followed by a raging frost in April that ravaged the buds before they opened into blossoms, resulting in 80% losses in some areas. Out of all these crops, apples were especially heavily hit, which is why it is now much more costly to enjoy your apple a day.

So if you’re wondering why a half-bushel of apples now costs $20 at your Saturday Farmers’ Market, there’s your plain and simple answer! Farmers are suffering the loss and must adjust prices accordingly. We pay more, which we should and we do, because the ones that survived are that much more precious and tasty. Don’t balk at high prices. You are paying more for a quality product, and to support the folks who worked so hard to grow your healthy delicious food. Enjoy an apple with peanut butter, in a sandwich with a thick slice of old cheddar, or as an apple-barbeque sauce with tempeh. The latter two choices can be devoured on a regular basis at the Seasoned Spoon, and we would totally serve the first if we could but we like to consider those of you with peanut allergies.

Apples also feature regularly in our ever-changing roster of delectable baked goods, which range from being rich and buttery, moist and chewy, gloriously gluten free, rich chocolaty vegan, or tasty-healthy-breakfasty. (Plus, they are half priced every Friday!) Here is a Spoon-worthy recipe featuring Ontario’s favourite fruit.

Apple Pie Muffins

Muffin Batter:

1 tbsp. lemon juice OR vinegar

1 cup milk

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups of diced apples

11/2 cup brown sugar

21/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda.

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cloves.

“Pie” Topping: 

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

6 tbsp. flour

1/4 cup melted butter

1 tsp. cinnamon

Pre-heat your oven to 325oC and grease your muffin tray – they say this recipe makes about 15 muffins, but you can also do 12 and bake the rest in a separate baking dish (a small cast iron pan is my favourite receptacle for extra batter).

For your next step, look into your fridge for buttermilk. If it’s there, you are a rare soul. Unless you really love its thick creaminess, improvise your own by adding 1 tbsp. lemon juice OR vinegar to 1 cup milk. Let it sit while you make up your muffins, and chop up 2 cups of diced apples.

Combine ingredients for your “pie” topping: 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 6 tbsp. flour, 1/4 cup melted butter, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Stir until crumbly, and set aside. Then…

In a large bowl, combine 11/2 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg and 1 tsp. vanilla and set aside. Sift together 21/2 cups flour and 1 tsp. baking soda.  I always add 1 tsp. each cinnamon and cloves. Mix your dry ingredients into the wet, alternating with your “buttermilk”. Add your diced apple and mix until just combined. Don’t over-mix!

Spoon your mix into the muffin tins and sprinkle with your topping. (That is the best and most delicious part, so don’t be shy with it!) Bake for 30 minutes, and don’t be surprised if they make a same-day disappearance.

To learn how to make this recipe gluten free, you should have been at our gluten-free baking workshop! But if you like beer, fermenting cabbage will be right up your alley. Join us as we make sauerkraut, Tuesday November 13 at 4:30pm.