Delicious Day 3: Applesauce Muffins

I have to give credit to my friend, Kelsey, for introducing these delicious mini muffins to me back in high school. They're the easiest thing to bake, I swear.

You only need three ingredients: plain muffin mix (or, if you're not as lazy as I am, you could make a basic muffin recipe from scratch), applesauce and cinnamon (and food coloring, if you're making Christmas muffins like I did). You don't even need to measure the ingredients. This really is a recipe for us lazy bakers who love freshly baked goods, but aren't so good with the precision measurements and instructions.
Pour half your muffin mix into a bowl (or whatever the package says for one batch. Or the whole thing for a really big batch, up to you) and use a whisk to stir it up and get rid of lumps.

Be sure to have a Christmas movie on while you make your Christmas treats! I chose the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
If you're fortunate enough to have a big strong man around while you're baking, get him to open the jar of applesauce for you. Or, if you're all alone like me, be prepared to use your guns.
Dump a bunch of applesauce into the bowl and mix it up. You want it to be a consistency somewhere between cake batter and regular muffin batter. These aren't going to be light and fluffy muffins, they're going to be soft and mushy and delicious. I ended up using about 3/4 of that jar, if that gives you an idea of how much to use.
And then dump a bunch of cinnamon in. Taste as you go, to see how you like it and keep adding more if you wish.

Trade your whisk for a spatula and divide your batter into two bowls. (If you don't want to color them, skip this part.)
Add red food coloring to one bowl and green to the other. A little tip about red food coloring: it's so hard to get stuff really red. It's always pink. That's really just because we think of light red as pink, it's own color. Whereas something light green is still green, light blue is still blue, etc. To counteract the pinkness, I always add a little bit of yellow food coloring in with the red.

You could make these full-sized muffins (I did once, and added apple chunks, mmm!) but because these are somewhat mushy muffins, it's better to keep them small. And this way they make addictive little bite-sized snacks!
I filled my muffin cups all the way to the top thinking that they wouldn't rise at all because I didn't remember them rising in the past. But then they did. Which is fine, but you might not want to fill them as full as I did. You can also sprinkle cinnamon on the tops before baking. (I forgot to on my first batch, so I did that after they were baked.)
For my second batch, I mixed the colors. This can be a little tricky as you need to have a spoonful of each color in each hand and plop them in at the same time. If this proves to be too difficult or messy for you, you can do one color on the bottom and the other color on top to get bi-colored muffins.

Bake for 10-15 minutes at 400*C. They should be soft, but not still gooey to touch. If you do the toothpick test, they won't come out clean, they should have a few moist crumbs stuck on.

Put the tray on your cooling rack to cool. Once the tray is cool enough to touch, you can take out your muffins. They should be easy enough to pop out by hand (careful not to squish them, they won't bounce back). If they're a little stuck, just use a knife to go around the sides, separating the muffin from the pan. I don't suggest putting the muffin on a cooling rack to finish cooling, because they are so soft that they will sink into the rack a bit. I put mine on paper towel instead.

If your muffins end up with crispy bits like this, the easiest way to fix them is scissors. Do not underestimate the usefulness of scissors in your kitchen. Just snip, snip, and you have nice clean muffin edges.

Now, just try not to eat them all before you take them to work (like I did) or your friends come over. They are addictive, delicious, soft little bites of apple and cinnamon goodness!

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