This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.
Yesterday, I showed you how to make the Maple Applesauce from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products. Flavored with a hint of cinnamon and sweetened with earthy maple syrup, it’s good eaten straight from the jar or used as an ingredient in all manner of baked goods.
I love using applesauce in baking. It has a near-magical ability to bring both needed moisture and welcome lightness to cakes, muffins, quick breads, and breakfast bars. I often use it to replace up to half the butter or oil in recipes and typically find myself preferring the versions made with applesauce. Just know that replacing more than half of the fat with applesauce undoes the balance of the recipe and will push it over the edge to rubbery. Consider yourself warned!
The ingredients for these muffins are pretty simple. You start by beating sugar and softened butter together until it gets creamy and you don’t see too many individual sugar granules. I like to do this in a stand mixer, but you can also opt for an electric hand mixer. Once the first two ingredients are well-incorporated, you beat in eggs, the applesauce, and some vanilla extract.
While the wet ingredients are combining themselves, you whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (don’t worry if the cocoa is still a little clumpy. It will work itself out). I made this batch with unbleached all-purpose flour, but I’ve also made these muffins with whole wheat pastry flour for a bit more fiber. For a gluten-free version, just swap in one cup of your favorite GF baking blend.
Add the dry ingredients one-third at a time, until they are completely incorporated and the batter looks like glossy milk chocolate pudding. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or butter it well. Carefully divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffins.
Bake the muffins for 18 to 22 minutes at 350°F/177°C, until a toothpick inserted in one of the center muffins comes out mostly clean (a few damp crumbs are fine, wet batter is not). Turn the muffins out of the tin and let them cool on a wire rack. Once they are completely cool, store them in a zip top bag or airtight container. They’ll keep well on the counter for three to four days. For longer storage, wrap them well and freeze them.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Newell Brands as part of a compensated partnership. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.