Apple and cheddar is a classic pairing. These muffins are similar to an apple pie with a slice of cheese – sweet and apple-y with savoury cheddar baked inside and on top.
I use McIntosh apples as they are a little bit sweeter and their flavour bakes nicely into the muffins. Feel free, however, to substitute varieties (just keep in mind that it changes the flavour). If you are a cheese lover you can increase the cheese factor by being generous with the grated cheddar on top. It’s more effective than adding extra cheese to the batter, plus there is something irresistible about a cap of cheese baked onto a muffin. They are delicious fresh, thrown into a lunch box the next day or reheated for breakfast with a smear of butter.
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1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (140 grams) whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup (115 grams) sugar
1 cup buttermilk (or one cup milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar stirred in)
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 lightly packed cup (85 grams) grated old/sharp cheddar plus extra for sprinkling on top
2 McIntosh apples, peeled and cut into small pieces (about two heaping cups)
Preheat oven to 375
Stir together the dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and sugar) in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg into the buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk mixture and the melted butter onto the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. (The secret to getting a nice fluffy muffin is not overmixing the batter).
Fold in the apple pieces and 1 cup of grated cheese.
Divide the batter among 18 muffin papers or greased and floured muffin tins. Top generously with grated cheddar.
Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a rack. Store any leftovers in a large Ziplock bag or airtight container. Makes 18 muffins.