The culinary world is one traditionally dominated by men. In most families, however, it is the women who take charge of nourishing their families. Growing up, I guess I had the best of both worlds. I have fond memories of both my grandma and my uncle cooking away in the kitchen. My grandma never cooked with a recipe. To this day, I still have no idea how she made her gingerbread and sadly, she is no longer around to ask. My uncle, however, is still around and has passed on some recipes to me. One such recipe is his apple praline bread. I’m not sure where this recipe comes from but I know he adapted it from its original form. When I went to make this, I made a few changes of my own. For one, I decided to make it into muffins. For another, I replaced the sour cream with plain yogurt. I also played around with the amount of apples and pecans. My uncle also cuts his apples into rather large pieces. I wanted smaller pieces. Partly because they needed to be smaller since they wouldn’t bake as long as a muffin and partly because I wanted them more evenly distributed within the muffin.
The result is a moist, if a bit dense (though not unpleasantly so), muffin. Although there is definitely a difference in texture between the muffins and the apples, the apple all but disappeared in the muffin. I don’t, however, find this a bad attribute. On the contrary, it seems to work, although next time I will probably add more apple. I topped each muffin with a sugar-coated pecan (I told you they’d turn up again!) but I think next time I will mix pecan pieces right in with the glaze. I think this will give it a more praline taste to them. As for the glaze itself, I used the same amounts for the bread but found I needed a bit more. I will give the amounts I used, but I would add an extra half of the amounts if I were to make it again. The glaze really makes the muffins — so no skimping!
I really liked this bread as a muffin. They are a very pleasant treat. Despite the apple they don’t have a particular fall feel to them, making them good year-around. The yogurt gives it some nutrition and boosts it up to a snack you can feel pretty good about. It was delicious with milk for breakfast. I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to last around here much longer.
That’s okay though…there’s always another muffin to be baked.
Apple Praline Muffins
1 cup white sugar
1 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups tart apple, peeled and chopped (I used granny smith and will probably use 2 cups next time)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons brown sugar
14 pecan halves (preferably sugar-coated)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray 14 muffin cups.
In a mixing bowl, beat together white sugar, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla on low until combined. Turn the mixer up to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir this into the yogurt mixture until just barely mixed. Add in the apples and pecan pieces and gently stir in.
Divide batter among the 14 prepared muffin cups and bake for about 2o minutes. When they are done, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes. After that, remove muffins from the cups and rest on the rack.
While the muffins continue to cool, melt the butter and brown sugar in a small sauce pan over low-medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat and let come to a boil. Boil for one minute. After a minute, spoon the mixture over each muffin. Top with a pecan half.
Alternately, you can add another 1/4-1/2 cup of pecans to the butter-brown sugar mixture before pouring over muffins.
If you’d like to make this in as one loaf, bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.