You guys already know the story of how I learned to cook: from my dear mother.
She’s never liked cooking but boy! can she make a heart-warming pot of Sunday Spaghetti, a melt-in-your-mouth Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake, and the most delectable Homemade Honey Wheat Bread. I’ve attempted to re-create her recipes and apparently cannot reach the Yoda level that my mother has mastered…
Growing up, my sister and I made homemade candies for our teachers, either at the end of the school year or during Christmas. We’d find recipes for homemade mints, fudge and cookies. And during these times, my momma introduced us to the method of making candy. It may or may not have also been inspired by our love for Laura Ingalls Wilder, more specifically when she made maple candy by pouring boiling maple syrup onto the snow in her backyard.
Anyway, while walking us through recipes, my mom introduced us to the handy, dandy Candy Thermometer and the terms Soft Ball Stage and Hard Ball Stage. (You can read the link I’ve provided to learn about them — super fascinating!) At the same time, my mom taught me that when making caramel or hard candy you 1) never, ever use a wooden spoon that’s been used with oil (such as to toss a dressed salad or to cook meat) and 2) never, ever dip the spoon in the mixture while it’s increasing in temperature.
You probably can’t tell in the photo above, but I actually ruined my caramel for this recipe. I wasn’t patient enough and stirred my caramel ten minutes after using the same spoon to dissolve the sugar at the beginning. That mistake created a gritty (crystallized) caramel. Tasted more like buttery browned sugar.
So you see, I knew this but I had to test it to make sure, today being my first attempt at making caramel … ;-)
Now, apparently while researching for writing this post, I learned that you CAN indeed redissolve crystallized sugar with more water. Guess I’ll keep that in mind for next time!
Now, if you DO happen to try making caramel for this recipe, follow this video. It’s super helpful!
- 1 cup oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 1/2 cups wheat flour
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 2 TBS flaxseed
- 1 TBS cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 granny smith apples, diced into small cubes
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 muffin pans.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and brown sugar.
- In a medium bowl, sift or whisk the rest of the ingredients. Toss the apples throughout these dry ingredients.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients (medium bowl) to the wet ingredients (large bowl), mixing well to incorporate the flour. Not overmixing!
- Pour about 1/2 cup of mixture into each muffin cup. You'll probably only fill 18-20 cups.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until tops are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle of the muffins comes out clean.
- While muffins are baking, make the caramel. Follow the video I provided in the "notes" section below to help you. Since I haven't mastered the technique, I don't want to share any step by steps. ;-)
- As soon as the muffins come out of the oven you can drizzle them with caramel. Or you can wait about 10 minutes, pop the muffins out onto a cooling rack and drizzle away!
- These muffins don't store well, meaning they really only taste good fresh. So eat them up! Or you can refrigerate them if you happen to have leftovers and heat them up briefly each time you eat one.