Pecan-Coconut-Applesauce Muffins

Yield as shown in photo. You may choose a different mix of pans. (ex: all muffins or muffins plus a bundt pan, etc.)

Tip:  Julia Child had a kitchen rule…“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”  Julia’s rules are definitely good enough for me! 😉

I made a batch of chunky applesauce last week using mainly Opal apples. It was a learning…while great to eat raw, they made a dry and somewhat mealy batch of applesauce. The flavor was good; it was just a texture thing. Into the fridge it went (I needed think-time) and a new batch was cooked the following day using apples more conducive to sauce.  I had 3 cups of Opal applesauce, which is quite a lot for baking, but after checking through my recipes, I found one that was adaptable if I made the batch large enough overall. Failure averted. Muffin anyone?

1 ½ cups (12 oz) butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
3 cups unsweetened applesauce (preferably chunky)
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cake spice, baking spice or pumpkin pie spice (I use Penzeys)
1 cup shredded coconut
¼ cup minced candied ginger (optional)
1 ½ cups pecan pieces
Turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Soften butter at room temperature.
Bring milk and eggs to room temperature.
Toast pecans on a sheet pan in 350 oven for 5 minutes; cool nuts on cloth or paper toweling.
In a medium-large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices.
Prepare your choice of baking pans.*

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing briefly after each one. Stir in applesauce, milk, vanilla and salt. NOTE: I mixed the “liquid” ingredients to this point in my KitchenAid mixer, then transferred it to a very large mixing bowl to complete the recipe by hand.

Stir flour mixture into creamed ingredients. Fold in coconut, pecans and ginger pieces (if using). *You will have a large amount of batter that can be baked in muffin tins, bread pans, cake pans or a bundt pan, as you prefer. In this session, I baked 12 paper-lined muffin cups (filled ¾ full), 2 bread pans (filled just over half full) and one 9-inch round cake pan (about ½ full). If desired, muffins or bread can be sprinkled with a little turbinado sugar or you can make a crumb topping to sprinkle on the tops.

Bake at 350 degrees F. following the guidelines below and remember that ovens can vary in true temperature. Test with a toothpick in the early part of the time range for each item to avoid overbaking. The toothpick should come out clean.
Muffins: 17-20 minutes
9-inch cake pan: 16-21 minutes
Bread pans: 40-50 minutes
Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

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