Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein

Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein
Sonja_For The Pleasure Of Eating

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Lovely to meet you!

I’m Sonja and “For The Pleasure Of Eating” is my food blog.

Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds or discover new recipes, my blog is the perfect place to find ideas that impress your family and friends while creating a party in your mouth!

More about me and how I lost weight here.

 

A moist and crunchy fall treat, these Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein have it all: Lots of soft and juicy apples, that get pre-cooked and smothered in cinnamon spiked sourdough-pumpkin puree mix. The Protein powder adds nutrition and sweetness, replacing part of the flour. A cinnamon sugar sprinkling gives an extra crunchy top in contrast to the soft insides.

Why You Want to Make These

In Autumn, we want apples and pumpkin for sure. But why choose one when you can have both, right? Right.
I’m greedy, so I always want both. Why would I have to choose?

While watching yet another great Claire Saffitz Video I remembered an apple cake very similar to hers I kept making when I was in my 20s. Unfortunately the recipe was lost, but it had pre-cooked apples and a very similar batter to the one in the video. So of course I had to make something similar.

But, having evolved to incorporating sourdough and protein into pretty much everything sweet I bake, I made a few modifications, to be able to do both. And pumpkin Puree. Because more veggies are always a plus!

Sourdough

I’m using sourdough discard here, as we are not needing its rising power here and we don’t want to let it ferment either, since that would develop the gluten and lead to tougher muffins. Instead we are looking for light and tender. So the sourdough is mainly for adding tangy flavour, to contrast with the sweet pumpkin puree.
And a way to use up sourdough discard, which is always welcome. If you prefer to make it without, replace with ½ cup liquid (more of the apple cooking liquid would be great) and 1/2 cup flour of your choice.

Apples

These Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein have loads of apples. Layers of tender, cinnamon tasting pieces all throughout the dough, in every single bite.
I achieved that by pre-cooking them with cinnamon in the oven, until they are really soft.
I don’t want them to fall apart though, so I’m using Pink Lady apples, which keep their shape nicely and I leave the skin on. That will also keep the nutrition from the skin, which holds most of it.

I quite enjoy a bit of acidity in my apples, hence the Pink Lady. They are easy to find in supermarkets and have just the right balance of sweet, intense apple flavour and fresh acidity with a firm flesh.
If you enjoy a different type of apple, feel free to use it.

One note: Even though Bramley apples or cooking apples are usually great for cooking, I wouldn’t use them here, as they just fall apart into a mush. And we want slices that hold their shape.

Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein_Ingredients

Pumpkin Puree

Its gentle sweetness and lovely orange colour makes pumpkin puree a great inclusion for many baked goods. These fluffy Sourdough Pumpkin Pancakes with Protein for example or my Sourdough Pumpkin Soda Bread with Protein. With the added sweetness I need less refined sugar and get an extra dose of fibre instead.

Since I live in Ireland, Fallon & Byrne seems to be the only shop that has Pumpkin Puree.
And occasionally one American food shop online.
If you live in the US: Lucky you! I hear you get it pretty much everywhere.

And while I usually think most things are better from scratch, I don’t think I want to go through the effort of chopping, peeling, cooking, and de-watering a whole pumpkin to get this. So cans are just fine.

Protein Powder

As with so many of my recipes, I’m adding my favourite Protein Powder here. In this case “Cinnamon Danish” from “MyProtein”.
This is neither affiliated nor sponsored. Just the powder I found to taste best after trying a fair few. If you never found one you actually enjoy, give this one a try.

I’m replacing up to ¼ of the white flour with it, to up my protein intake and be able to lower the added sugar even more. So if you’d like to make the Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins without protein, replace 1:1 with flour and add some sugar. I’d say about 1 tbsp.

Why Protein?

If you read a few of my baked or breakfast recipes, you can skip this part. For those of you who haven’t:
Personally I found, while tracking my macros during my weight loss journey, I’m not even close to eating enough of it every day, as I’m not the biggest fan of meat and pulses. And while nuts for example are a great source for protein, they also have a lot of calories, so I can add them only sparingly, if I want to keep my weight.

Considering protein can help you keep your bones strong, help with building muscle, and help with feeling fuller for longer, I find it pretty important to get enough of it. And Protein powder is a very practical way for me to do so.

Now of course I could just drink a protein shake or two per day, but I’d rather not drink my calories, and instead prefer to find ways to include it into my food.
How do I do that? I replace up to ¼ of the flour and sugar in a recipe with it. Which, in my mind is a win/win situation.

Flour

For once I’m not mixing white and whole wheat flour but using only fine whole wheat flour, since it goes just so well with the apples with its nutty flavour. Plus, with these muffins being incredibly moist and juicy, it can soak up more of it.

Olive Oil

While butter could work here if melted, oil (you could also use coconut oil, if you don’t mine the flavour it adds) adds even more to the moist character. Batter with oil tends to be very tender and soft, which is the aim here.

Spices

You could use 2 tsp ready made pumpkin spice or make your own using the separate spices stated in the ingredients. If you are planning to make more pumpkin based recipes, it might pay out to prepare a bigger batch and keep it in an airtight container in your cupboard. It’ll last as long as the spices on their own would. Though if you do, use 1 tsp cinnamon, rather than ½ on the same amount of the other spices. Maybe add some clove if you like. Just a tiny amount, it can be overpowering.

The Remaining Ingredients

The raising agents are needed, because we won’t let the sourdough ferment and with that it won’t act as raising agent. But a bit of fluffiness is required. And since the apples and whole wheat would make this dough pretty heavy, there is a decent amount needed here.

Apple Cider Vinegar activates the baking soda and gives a nice tang to these otherwise rather sweet muffins.

The honey is used to sweeten the apples while pre-roasting and lends fantastic flavour to the dough later. Some brown sugar for sweetness, chewiness, and structure.

Vanilla essence. How could I not? It just belongs into muffins or pretty much any sweet dough.

Eggs of course. We are making muffins after all. And a hint of salt for balance.

The Paper Muffin Cases

I feel most of the time it doesn’t matter much, if you bake muffins with or without the little paper forms, but for these Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein I would urge you to line your muffin tin with them, as they are just so juicy, they might stick too much to get them out or fall apart.

The Process

Pre-heat your oven to 175°C (350°F)

Apples

Slice the apples first. I just cut them straight down around the core, then sliced them thinly.
If you have an apple corer, that will work really well, as you could just use a mandolin to slice after. Alas, I don’t own one, as I always found it leaves too much of the core in my apple. And that, to me, feels similar to surprisingly found fish bones. But then, I might just be weird.

Now lay some baking parchment into an oven proof large dish that will hold all your sliced apples. We will stack them alternating apples with drizzles of honey. Finish with honey and a little bit of olive oil drizzled over, to keep them moist.

Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein_Process

Bake for about 1h-1h15min, turning the apples every 15minutes, so the top doesn’t dry out and all bake evenly.

Take them out to let them cool a while. Whatever you do: Do NOT throw out the liquid. The juices from the baking with all the flavour of apples and honey will provide the fluid content of the muffins. That was my favourite part from Claire’s Apple cake. It’s such a good use for them and adds so much flavour!

Once they are cooled to room temperature, while holding back the apples, pour the liquid that has formed into a cup. Measure out ¼ cup.

The Protein Powder

If you read some of my recipes, you know what I’ll tell you and can skip ahead. If you haven’t, here is the secret to the protein powder being integrated into the batter without any lumps and floury texture: Pre-mix well with the wet ingredients.

I often use my Nutribullet (again, neither affiliated, nor sponsored), add eggs, olive oil, the ¼ cup liquid from the apples, vanilla, pumpkin puree, apple cider vinegar, the protein powder and, if it fits the sugar and sourdough. Give it a 1 minute mix and admire the super creamy, fluffy mixture you just created.

If you have no Nutribullet, any high speed blender will work. No blender or just a slow one? That or a bowl and a hand mixer or whisk are fine too. Without high speed blender however, add everything above except the olive oil. Mix until you have a creamy mixture, then, slowly, similar to making mayonnaise, first drizzle, then, once half is incorporated, stream in the olive all, while mixing. This will emulsify it instead of creating greasiness.

Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein_Process

Mix the wet with the dry

Mix the baking powder, spices, salt and flour in a large bowl. Add the creamy protein mix and stir until the four is just incorporated. Don’t overmix, to avoid tough muffins.

Now take out some of the non-broken apple slices from the cooked apples and set aside for the top of the muffins. Carefully fold the rest into the batter.

Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein_Process

Filling the Muffin Cases

Line your muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
If you don’t have any, grease your muffin tin really well, using melted butter and a pastry brush. Then dust some flour over them and shake, so the moulds are all well coated. I still wouldn’t guarantee you get all the muffins out perfectly, but this will give you the best chance.

Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein_Process

Using either an ice/cookie scoop or 2 tablespoons, spoon your batter into the muffin cases. You can either make about 15-16 smaller muffins or 12 really large ones. I filled most of mine about 2/3, not wanting them to overflow. Then made 3 pretty full, to have the top puff up. Those 3 were my favourites in the end. But use your preferred shape.

Top with the remaining apple slices and some brown sugar with cinnamon. About 2 tbsp with ½ tsp cinnamon works well. I used demerara sugar for this, as it gives the best crunch.

Bake

Bake at 175°C (350°F) for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Let them cool a little, as they will be very soft straight from the oven and firm up a bit while cooling.

Serve as they are or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein
Meal Prep

These Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein freeze really well. I keep them in portions of 3-4 in small freezer bags and whenever I want them, I pop them into the air fryer or oven for about 8 minutes, for a juicy and crunchy treat. They are great for breakfast or dessert, and will keep you satisfied for a while.

Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein

Looking for a warming fall dinner? Try my Black Garlic Pork Ramen. If you meal prep the Cuban Air Fryer Pork for it, you can also make Pork Banh Mi buns with nearly the same ingredients.

Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share. It helps me a lot.

Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein

Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein

A moist and crunchy fall treat, these Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein have it all: Lots of soft and juicy apples, that get pre-cooked and smothered in cinnamon spiked sourdough-pumpkin puree mix. The Protein powder adds nutrition and sweetness, replacing part of the flour. A cinnamon sugar sprinkling gives an extra crunchy top in contrast to the soft insides.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 189 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound firm sweet-tart apples about 5 medium – Roast, take out ¼ cup of the liquid
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sourdough starter unfed/discard
  • ½ cup protein powder
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cups fine whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon divided, 1 tsp used for cinnamon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons demerara sugar 2 tbsp used for cinnamon sugar

Instructions
 

Start by preparing the roasted apples:

  • Slice the apples thinly, removing the core.
  • Lay baking parchment in an ovenproof dish and stack the sliced apples, drizzling honey between layers.
  • Finish with honey and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Bake for 1 to 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning the apples every 15 minutes to prevent drying.
  • Once baked, let the apples cool, but do not discard the liquid.
  • When the roasted apples are at room temperature, pour the liquid that has formed into a cup, measuring out ¼ cup.
  • Pick out a few of the slices that look good and put aside, to top the muffins later.

Prepare the protein powder mixture:

  • In a blender (Nutribullet or similar), combine the eggs, ¼ cup of liquid from the apples, olive oil, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree, apple cider vinegar, protein powder, and, if desired, the sugar and sourdough starter.
  • Blend for about 1 minute until you have a creamy, fluffy mixture.
  • If you don't have a high-speed blender, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil. Mix until creamy, and then slowly drizzle in the olive oil while mixing to emulsify.
  • In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients:
  • Mix the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.

Mix the wet with the dry:

  • Add the creamy protein mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until the flour is just incorporated. Avoid overmixing to prevent tough muffins.
  • Fold the apple slices from the roasted apples into the batter.

Filling the Muffin Cases:

  • Line your muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
  • If you don't have any, grease the muffin tin with melted butter and a pastry brush, then dust with flour.
  • Use an ice cream scoop or two spoons to fill the muffin cases, about 2/3 full.
  • Top with the remaining apple slices and sprinkle with a mixture of demerara sugar and cinnamon (about 2 tablespoons of sugar with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon).
  • Bake at 175°C (350°F) for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Let the muffins cool slightly as they will firm up a bit while cooling.
  • Serve the Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein as they are or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Notes

Meal Prep
These Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein freeze really well. I keep them in portions of 3-4 in small freezer bags and whenever I want them, I pop them into the air fryer or oven for about 8 minutes, for a juicy and crunchy treat.
Calories per Portion: Approximately 189 calories
Protein per Portion: Approximately 4 grams
Carbohydrates per Portion: Approximately 27 grams
Fat per Portion: Approximately 8 grams
Fiber per Portion: Approximately 2 grams
Sugar per Portion: Approximately 14 grams
Sodium per Portion: Approximately 297 milligrams

Nutrition

Calories: 189kcal
Nutrition Facts
Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein
Amount per Serving
Calories
189
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword Breakfast, Easy, fruit, Healthy, Protein, sourdough, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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