The Naturally Sweet Ingredient For Incredibly Soft Muffins

Homemade muffins in paper cups
Homemade muffins in paper cups - Nightanddayimages/Getty Images

Muffins are an ideal project for a budding baker. The batter is forgiving, most recipes require relatively few ingredients, and you don't need to bust out your stand mixer. Nevertheless, even the most experienced bakers among us have likely turned out a batch of muffins that don't quite hit. Much like the oft-maligned scone, muffins can sometimes come out tough or dry for seemingly inexplicable reasons.

To ensure a perfect crumb every time, reach for the applesauce. Not only will it keep your muffins moist, but it will also add a subtle sweetness that, rest assured, won't taste overwhelmingly of apples. Plus, thanks to that built-in sweetness, applesauce muffins don't require a whole lot of added sugar or fat, which means you can rightfully call them healthy. Here's how to incorporate the mushy ingredient into your next batch of muffins.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

A Workhorse Ingredient

Bowl of applesauce alongside whole apples
Bowl of applesauce alongside whole apples - Adao/Shutterstock

When making muffins with applesauce, it's best to stick to the unsweetened kind. If you're working with homemade applesauce (we're proud of you), make sure it's nice and smooth before incorporating it into your batter. These particularities are important; thanks to its magical properties, the right kind of applesauce will cut down on the ingredients you'd typically need to load up on in muffins, including milk and oil.

A recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction calls for applesauce, melted coconut oil, whole wheat flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract, plus maple syrup for a little sweetness and optional add-ins like chopped apples and raisins. Sally combines the dry and wet ingredients separately, combines them, and divides the batter equally into a muffin tin. For a crunchy-on-the-outside, pillowy-on-the-inside texture, she sprinkles them with raw sugar and bakes them for five minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, then reduces the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for the final 15 minutes.

Once you master these muffins, a world of baking possibilities awaits; applesauce can be used to soften up all sorts of baked goods.

Bread And Beyond

Applesauce cake on wooden board
Applesauce cake on wooden board - July Prokopiv/Shutterstock

Applesauce muffins might sound like a modern invention, but the ingredient has been used in sweets for longer than you might think. Some recipes for applesauce cake, for example, are said to date all the way back to 1800s New England. Unlike potted meat, pepper cake, and the boozy whipped cream concoction syllabub, however, the dessert has stood the test of time. It even makes an appearance in the 1945 edition of The Cookbook of the United States Navy. (According to Naval History and Heritage, preserved fruits made quick work of comforting treats for soldiers at sea.)

In addition to cake, applesauce plays well in all kinds of quick breads, whether it's the main ingredient or a supporting role for banana, zucchini, or pumpkin. Essentially, if you're following a baked good recipe that calls for oil, you can use applesauce instead for healthier, fluffier results. Happy experimenting!

Read the original article on Daily Meal.