Sunday, June 8, 2008

It's Apricot Season, So That Means Fresh Apricot Muffins

apricot muffins tin angle

Do you know what happens when you buy a quart size container of fresh apricots? You get about 14 apricots that ripen at the same time (and about two that don't). As much as I love fresh apricots, eating 14 of them within a day or two isn't practical or appealing. Apricot muffins, however, are enormously appealing.

Apricot season runs from May-August, so now is the time to buy them. Unlike hardier peaches or nectarines, apricots are finicky. They like mild temperatures and dislike intense heat, which is why they grow so well in California. When selecting fresh apricots look for somewhat firm (not hard) fruit that is brightly colored (they range from light yellow to a deeper orange-yellow). The skin should be velvety smooth without wrinkles or blemishes, and they should yield slightly when squeezed. If you're still in doubt, then take a good whiff -- a ripe apricot emits a sweet fragrance. After all, it is a member of the rose family.

apricots and cherries

Apricots should be stored on the counter top until ripe then refrigerated if not eaten with a day or two. For the fullest flavor, it's best to allow the fruit to come to room temperature before eating.

A fresh, ripe apricot is sublime--its creamy, perfumed flesh is subtly sweet with hints of tartness. Since I don't have the heart to toss apricots that are slightly bruised or mushy, I decided to bake with them. I had success with some fresh strawberry muffins, so I thought I'd try another fresh fruit muffin recipe.

These low-fat fresh apricot muffins are moist and cake-y with little juicy bits of apricot and crunchy nuts in each bite. Of course, with redolent cinnamon, nutmeg, and fresh ginger, you'll be enticed by them long before you even take a bite.

apricot muffins yellow dish

Fresh Apricot Muffins (low-fat)

Makes 12 regular size muffins.
Print recipe only here.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup light brown sugar
5 tablespoons smart balance butter substitute, melted
1 large egg and 2 egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup fresh diced apricots
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 apricot, thinly sliced for the tops of the muffins

Place rack in center of oven, and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray a 12 mold regular size muffin pan with cooking spray.

Combine flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl, and stir well.

In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, honey, sugar, smart balance, eggs, ginger, and vanilla, and whisk well. Add to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in apricots and almonds.

Spoon the batter evenly into the into 12 muffin cups. Add an apricot slice to the top of each muffin. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffin and placing on a wire rack to cool.

Here are more deliciously sweet recipes featuring fresh apricots:
Anna's Apricot Jam
Clotilde's Apricot Coffee Cake
Elise's Rustic Apricot Tart

You might also like these baked goods:

Banana Coconut Almond Bread

Fresh Strawberry, Almond, and Coconut Muffins

Honeyed Orange Ginger Muffins (Quat, Optional)

Save This Page on