Rosh Hashanah arrives Sunday night, just as it seems the world could use a critical dose of sweetness. The Jewish new year, symbolized by the sweetest of foods, is a time for renewal, for family, for matters of the soul and for rivers of honey.
And if something as simple as honey-dipped apples can beckon happiness, imagine those ingredients baked into warm, heady muffins.
If you celebrate Rosh Hashanah, here’s a recipe for some exquisite apple and honey muffins. It comes from “Our Table,” a new kosher cookbook by author and food stylist Renee Muller, published by Artscroll ($34.99).
The recipe’s use of brewed tea exalts the apple and honey flavors. It’s a holiday winner: Fragrant with cinnamon, the apples and the muffin batter hint of fall.
APPLE AND HONEY ROSH HASHANAH MUFFINS
This recipe is reprinted with permission from “Our Table: Time-Tested Recipes, Memorable Meals,” by Renee Muller (Artscroll/October 2016). It’s freezer-friendly, dairy/pareve.
“At our house, Rosh Hashanah cannot happen without honey muffins. At least, that’s the way my kids see it. It’s a family project, and by now, a family tradition, too.
“This recipe was given to me by a relative in Israel who bakes them all the time and claims that no matter how many batches she bakes, there are never enough.
“She’s absolutely right. We once baked a quadruple batch of these (sans the apples) for a bake sale on our block and we were left without a crumb!”
Makes about 48 muffins
For the apples
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 Granny Smith apples, diced
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the muffins
2 cups prepared tea, lukewarm
2 cups sugar
2 cups oil
2 cups honey
6 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 heaping tablespoons cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. Prepare the apples: In a saucepan, melt butter over a medium-low flame. Add apples, sugar, and cinnamon; cook until apples are fragrant and soften a bit, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Prepare the muffins: In the bowl of a stand mixer, on medium speed, combine tea, sugar, oil, honey, and eggs. Mix until smooth. Reduce speed; gradually add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
4. Fill each muffin cup halfway with batter. (I like to use a cupcake pen for this; I find it very helpful.) Top with a teaspoon of prepared apples. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out almost dry with some moist crumbs attached.
Author’s note: “The apples are optional; I find that some children prefer the muffins plain. We add the apple for Rosh Hashanah (very loudly singing, ‘Dip the apple in the hooooneeeyy’ as we do so) but throughout the year, we bake them plain.”
Kitchen tip: “I recently discovered an amazing gadget called ‘The Cupcake (or Muffin) Pen.’ It really removes the whole messy aspect of filling cupcake pans with batter. Look for it in specialty equipment stores.”