Let me tell you a story about my dog.
I have a beautiful dog. She’s sweet, tender, kind, and… famous. Friday comes from a pedigree of outstanding Weimaraner dogs and Weimaraner people. When she was a puppy, William Wegman photographed her for the cover of the Weimaraner Puppies Calendar. At six months old, she obtained her Junior Hunter title. And now, I’m working with her to add “Champion” to her list of accomplishments.
So over the weekend I packed up my Volvo, and with my good friend and dog mentor, Anne, we drove Friday three and a half hours to the middle of nowhere. To prepare for the Black Mountain Kennel Club AKC Dog Show, we clipped her nails, brushed her teeth, bribed her with treats and rubbed her ears. Then we prayed like hell she’d win.
Unfortunately, Friday had a different plan. When it came time to getting in the ring, she pulled a big fat, “I don’t wanna!!!” In dog speak, she practically begged us to get her out of there. When we didn’t, she sulked. Then she pouted in front of the judge. Not unlike a four-year-old child when you pull her out of the sandbox and tell her it’s time to go home.
Friday didn’t win.
Now here’s the part where I should have been upset, disappointed, cross, etc. “How could she not win?! She’s gorgeous, can’t you see she’s the best dog there?!”
No. She was not the best dog in the ring that weekend. And that’s okay, because we can’t all be winners all the time, right?! Mr. RGBistro laughed when I called home and said, “Friday came in third… out of three dogs.” He then added “you know they also give out trophies for tenth place, right?”
Yep. Me and my last-place-trophy-dog had a spankin’ terrific weekend… and we’ll go get ‘em next time!
Apples are like dogs or anything else; they’re not all going to be winners. Some are bruised. Some have scratches; others are dented. Maybe they’re old. Maybe they fell. No matter why, they can still serve a purpose. Cut ‘em up and make a batch of muffins. When they hook up with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, no one will care. And after your first bite, you’ll think they were perfect all along.
Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel
Autumn apples diced and added into a cinnamon scented batter, then topped with a brown sugar and cinnamon streusel.
~ Makes 12 ~
~ Ingredients ~
- 2 small or 1 large apple, yield 1 ½ cups diced
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1tablespoon cold unsalted butter
~ Preparation ~
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
- Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper cups.
- Cut and chop enough apples (¼-inch cubes) to yield no more than 1 ½ cups diced apples. Eat the extra apple while you’re prepping the batter; too many apples will overfill the muffin pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon.
- In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and eggs with a fork until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract. With a silicon spatula, stir in apples, and gradually fold in the flour mixture. Be careful not to over mix. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.
- In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.
- Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack.
Source: Adapted from www.allrecipes.com (modified to add cinnamon to batter and provide additional instructions).