Apple-Cinnamon Muffins and Gingery Apple Quinoa

UPDATE: I recently updated this recipe to make it super "appley" and extra nutty. Check it out here!

It's time for another SOS Kitchen Challenge entry! This month's (very season-friendly) ingredient is the juicy and versatile forbidden fruit! Bananas! Oh no, wait... *looks up this month's ingredient* Apples! Ricki and Kim have chosen apples for this month's SOS Kitchen Challenge!

What to make? What to make? I wanted to make something with an apple and cinnamon combo - that's all I knew! After much internal debating, I decided to go with Apple Cinnamon Muffins with a crunchy, nutty topping. The original idea was to make them with oat bran, and the first batch did indeedy have oat bran.

Airhead Apple Muffins with Nutty Topping
Airhead Apple Cinnamon Muffins.
It was so hard to get a decent picture of this muffin! Son of a batch!

The second batch? Nope. Mr. Wing-It and I were having a FRIENDS marathon, and I was making these muffins while we were watching The One With Ross' Tan. Not a good idea because I am not a good multi-tasker! I totally forgot to add the oat bran to the second batch, so when I was going to pour the batter into the muffin pan it was way too runny. Soup muffins? No, thanks. So I added another 1/4 cup of flour which was oddly enough the amount of bran that I left out. *I has the dumbz*

Airhead Apple Muffins with Nutty Topping
Crunchy nutty topping

I did remember the oat bran for the third batch - I'm not totally dumb, just a little bit occasionally. Here's the Airhead version with no bran, and the bran variation is below... maybe... if I remember...

UPDATE: I recently updated this recipe to make it super "appley" and extra nutty. Check it out here!

Airhead Apple Cinnamon Muffins With Nutty Topping

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown rice milk*
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp almond extract, optional
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch squares

For the topping:

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp maple syrup, optional

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and lightly spray each one with cooking spray.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, flax seeds, baking powder, cinnamon, turmeric, and salt. (Thanks for the heads up about the baking powder, Applescosity!)

3. In a small size mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, almond extract, and brown sugar.

4. Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients, throw in the diced apple and gently fold until all ingredients are just incorporated. The batter should be fairly thick, but not dry and crumbly. You can add a tablespoon or two of milk if it looks crumbly. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each three-quarter full or all the way full if you like big muffin tops.

5. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts evenly on each muffin top and gingerly press the nutty bits down just a little so that they won't fall off the muffins after they're baked. Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle all over the muffin tops. I like to drizzle the tops with just a few drops of maple syrup to get them nice and glossy, but that's totally optional. Just use a measuring spoon to gently drizzle the maple syrup all over the nutty tops. One teaspoon per three muffins is plenty.

6. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Makes 6 muffins.

Non-airhead variation: Replace 1/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup of ground oat bran. They will need a few more minutes in the oven, about 25 to 28 minutes.


* I used my homemade brown rice milk for this, but you can use any type of milk.

* I like using golden flax seeds for light colored baked goods, but you can definitely use regular flax seeds instead.

* I make my own brown sugar by mixing 1 cup of ground turbinado sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses.

Airhead Apple Muffins with Nutty Topping
Turmeric gives them a lovely golden color

Muffin Top
My favorite muffin top! Via

For the savory part of the challenge, I went with a Gingery Granny Smith Quinoa With Slivered Almonds.
Granny Smith Quinoa
Granny Smith Quinoa with Veganomicon BBQ Tofu splurge

Gingery Granny Smith Quinoa With Slivered Almonds

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch squares
1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp slivered or sliced almonds
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup water
1 tsp prepared yellow mustard

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about five minutes or until soft. Stir in the mushrooms and the apple and saute two more minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute for just about 30 seconds.

2. Add the parsley salt, black pepper, ginger, almonds, and quinoa. Add the water and stir in the mustard. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft and fluffy. If the quinoa is still crunchy you can add more water and simmer it for a few more minutes. Serves 2.


* If you want it to be really appley you can use a whole apple. One half is plenty for my wimpy taste buds. And if ginger scares you, you can start with 1/4 tsp which makes it way milder.

* The slivered almonds give this dish a nice crunch, but you can skip them if you're not into finding crunchy bits in your quinoa.

This recipe also makes a great Acorn Squash stuffing! It's enough to fill two halves.

Granny Smith Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Well, that's all the appley news I have. In other news, I've been working on some Halloweegan goodies and I'm getting all worked up here! Is it October yet? Only a few more days! Are you planning on getting a little crazy for Halloweegan this year? :)


  1. Both of your creations look delicious! I adore the apple-cinnamon combination. I eat apples all year round, but I am still excited that it's officially apple season.

  2. Those muffins look AMAZING!!! Oh my goodness, I want one now! My mom used to make apple pancakes and muffins a lot growing up.

  3. Hee hee... muffin top kitty!

    I am having a Gilmore Girl's marathon and rewatch, I thought you would approve. ;) Currently watching Rory and Dean kiss on a bench (season 1).

  4. The muffins look fabulous :D It's about time I made some more muffins I think.

    I love your blog :) I just started following it.

  5. Apple and cinnamon, the perfect combination to welcome the season.

    Happy first day of Autumn!! :D

    The muffins look really good, I may have to make some nut-free versions myself very soon. And I love muffin top kitty! LOL!

  6. dennyroni-the san francisco treatSeptember 22, 2010 at 7:37 AM

    young lady, that's against the law! muffin overload!

    i nominate myself to help you polish them off...hear ye! hear ye!

  7. Oh my god, yum. Those muffin pictures. YUM. Small-batch too, which is nice.

  8. River, I know that quinoa's probably really nice and all, but seriously, I just can't past those pix of the muffin, the muffin!!!

  9. Uh, YUM! I am so making those muffins this week! - if I remember :) Seriously, those look like what we need in this house, now! I only have granny smiths on hand right now, so hopefully they aren't too tart for the muffin.

  10. I almost forgot, LOVE that muffin top photo, so cute. I love cats :)

  11. MUFFINS!! I gotta use up all these apples, and I am so not a pie person (much to my husband's dismay). You've sold me with the crumb topping!

  12. Such amazing appley goodness! I am betting that both batches of muffins tasted wonderful! (son of a batch! hee hee--you are TOO funny!) ;) I love the quinoa, too.

    Thank you so much for these stellar entries, River! Your recipes are always yummy and photos look divine (And I just want to clarify--you don't *have* to make both sweet AND savory dishes--just one or the other. But I am thrilled that you chose to do one of each!) :D

  13. I love this! Those muffins look so perfect in texture and I never thought of using apple with quinoa, but I bet it's delicious!

  14. They look absolutely delicious. I love anything that has cinnamon in it.The pictures are really fabulous too.:)

  15. I love your squash stuffing idea. Perfect fall flavours. :)

  16. I hope you didn't catch the "leave-an-ingredient-out-of-your-muffin disease from me. At least you managed to add your missing ingredient back in before the muffins went into the oven, and they turned out beautifully. I'm impressed that the apples are distributed so perfectly throughout the muffins instead of falling to the bottom! The savory stuffing looks great, too!

  17. Omigoodness! All of this makes me want to curl up with my dogs and read a book. Those muffins look most excellent!

  18. Thanks for all the lovely comments guys! You rock! I let the comments sneak up on me again, so here go a few quick answers:

    - The muffin batter is quite thick, so it keeps the apple pieces from sinking to the bottom. YAY!

    - As Ricki said, you don't have to make both savory and sweet dishes to participate in the SOS challenge, but that just happens to be my favorite part of this *game!*

    - Granny Smith apples *might* be too tart for this, but who knows, maybe it would work in its own tarty way!

    - Yes, I think we all agree that Muffin Top Kitteh is the cutest! :D

    HAPPY AUTUMN!!! <3

  19. Just like that? Shouldn't you take me out to dinner or something first? :P

  20. Those muffins look so awesome! I love the crumb topping! I forget to add ingredients very often. last time i forgot the oil and my muffins came out, well, a bit spongy.

  21. I literally started salivating upon looking at these pictures. Also awesome is the fact that I have everything on hand I need to make not just one, but BOTH of these recipes right now. Gingery apple quinoa for dinner sounds just amazing. Thank you!

  22. That is really unique...sweet and savory with the quinoa. Genius! Meanwhile, they're taking apps for the next season of Next Food Network Star....:)

  23. both your apple cinnamon muffins and the gingery appley quinoa look (and sound) sooo super delicious and just perfect for fall, River. yay! "son of a batch!" made me laugh out loud! ah ha ha! and i get a case of the dumbz sometimes, too - it happens to all of us, it just happens to me while i'm in the kitchen cooking more than i'd like it to. but what can ya do, you know?! hooray for fall and some apple goodnesses to go along with it. thanks for sharing more of your fantastical recipes, River! :)

  24. I just wanted to say THANK YOU! Your blog is amazing! Check out my latest post! I tried this, and it was amazing! Thanks for the inspiration! -Amanda

  25. Thank you, guys! I'm glad you have accepted my appley offerings! :D

    YAY, Amanda! Thank you so much for letting me know! I'm so glad you liked the quinoa! Checking out your post now...

    Jessy come back!! Come back now, we miss you! :)

  26. Yum to both recipes! Ahhhhh! It's almost Halloweegan! I am so excited. I think my two-year-old will be too when she sees your ideas!

  27. Here is the link:

    So good! Enjoy :-)

  28. I baked the muffins this morning River; they were great!

    I made a few little modifications - such as adjusting for high altitude. I didn't get the texture spot on yet, otherwise I would include a high altitude recommendation. Vegan baked goodies are tough up here! But they still came out nice and yummy!!

  29. I had a huge Halloweegan *FAIL* today, Cindy, but hopefully tomorrow will be better. I'm collecting Halloweegan goodies early so October isn't too crazy!

    That pesky high altitude! It must be so annoying to have to modify every recipe! Oy! I'm so glad the muffins came out yummy anyway! Thank you so much for letting me know, Alisa! :)

  30. Oh, these both look fantastic. You are too funny, I love your oat bran mix ups :) Great use of apples in two totally unique ways! And the quinoa dish in the acorn squash is making my mouth water. Nice!
    Thanks for your great entries, and for participating so I could discover your totally awesome blog!!! xox Kim |

  31. Thank you, and Ricki, for this awesome challenge! I'm loving it! :D

  32. Those muffins look amazing! I used to dislike muffins when I was a kid, I thought they were boring but now I know that vegan muffins can be awesome, yours are a perfect example!

  33. Does anyone have an idea on what to use instead of the walnuts? I'm serving these at my school and wouldn't want to kill anyone allergic to nuts, haha.
    I'm thinking sesame seeds.
    Am I totally off base here or could this work?

  34. You can actually leave out the nuts and just top them with sugar and cinnamon, and maple syrup if you want them extra glossy. I hope that helps! :)

  35. to be completely honest, i typed in "apple cinnamon muffins" into google because im in the mood for some autumn-flavored carbs and found your blog. just made them and they turned out great! i am especially happy that this recipe yields 6 muffins so i don't have to bake all day just to use up the batter. my boyfriend hates anything sweet so now i won't feel guilty with a mound of muffins around me trying to eat my way out. 6 muffins is a delightful amount. topping is very yummy. thanks!

  36. YAY! I'm glad you liked them, Laura! Thank you for letting me know! Yep. Sometimes a full batch of 12 muffins is way too much. I get bored of eating the same type of muffin half way through a batch! :D

  37. The muffins are delicious! They just came out of the oven, and I'm now sad that I only made 6!

    The walnut topping really made it. The batter was super thick and I was worried I had forgotten something. I used regular flour because I didn't have pastry flour.. My apple was a bit big too, so I think they were overfilled with that, making the muffins a bit wet at spots. I think this is why I had to bake them for at least 6 minutes more. Other than that these were super successful! Thanks a lot!

  38. These look delicious - I think I will try them tomorrow!

  39. The recipe instructions do not indicate where to add the baking powder. Sure, they're added with the dry ingredients (and you listed each one being added EXCEPT baking powder), but I'm sure there are some folks who follow a new recipe to the letter to determine future use. My muffins did not turn out well because apparently airheadness is contagious & the baking powder did not get added because of the recipe oversight. :(

  40. i just made the apple muffins!! they came out delicious! :) i just replaced the brown rice milk with almond milk.. my whole (non vegan) family loved them!

    1. YAY! I'm so glad you liked them! Thank you for letting me know! :)


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