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Jewish cooking with kids: Apple Honey Muffins

When I think about cooking and baking, I think about the garden, the orchard and the fields, as much as I think about any particular holiday. We celebrate and eat with the seasons. No matter what, the world keeps spinning, the sun keeps rising and summer turns to fall.

As the cooking teacher at Congregation Tikvat Jacob in Manhattan Beach, I’ve taught our 3rd – 6th graders for nine years. Now I gather online with the kids and their families and together we learn about the seasons, the holidays and food in a new way.

The classes I teach cover everything from how to wash hands (now more important than ever) to how to make challah. We look at the seasons, and how Judaism celebrates harvests and foods in a very special, interconnected way.

For now, as the days grow cooler, our recipes turn to apples, honey, figs, grapes, and my favorite, the majestic pomegranate.

At this time of new beginnings, we always start with the most wonderful treat, apples and honey. This recipe for apple-honey muffins comes out the most autumnal shade of golden brown and tastes exactly like what you want it to. Not overly sweet, but bright, rich and comforting. If comfort were a flavor, this would be it.

When cooking with kids, being organized is key. First, everyone should read the recipe. I know, it’s radical. But it really helps. I promise. Have the kids go through it and see what words they understand. Gather your ingredients, tools and equipment before beginning and of course, clean as you go!

This recipe takes about an hour from start to finish, including time to clean up. Your kitchen will smell wonderful the whole time.

Apple Honey Muffins

מאפין דבש תפוח

Makes 12 muffins <
Takes 45 minutes
Vegetarian, dairy, has gluten, sugar and optional nuts

2 cups all-purpose flour (or ½ and ½ AP and whole wheat)

1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup honey
½ cup white sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 apples
1/2 cup walnut pieces (optional)
For the topping:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons brown sugar
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a 12-well muffin tin with 12 paper liners and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

3. In another bowl, using a fork, beat together the egg, honey, sugar, milk, juice and vegetable oil.

4. Make the topping in a small bowl by combining the butter, sugar, flour, spice mix and a pinch of salt. Smash together with a fork or your fingers until it is crumbly. Set aside.

5. Using the large holes on a box grater, carefully grate the apples down to the core. Gather the grated apple into your hands and squeeze the liquid into the bowl with the milk and egg. Set the apple aside.

6. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then stir in the apples and walnuts (if using).*

7. Spoon the muffin batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle each muffin with a heaping tablespoon of topping.

8. Bake the muffins until they’re golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.

9. Remove the muffins from the oven, carefully take each one out of the pan, and let them cool on a rack.

10. Store the muffins, well wrapped, at room temperature for 3 days; freeze for up to a month.

*At this step, you can refrigerate the batter for up to an hour, if you want to bake the muffins later

Variations: Add a teaspoon of ground ginger, cardamom or cinnamon to the dry ingredients. Try using toasted pecans or almonds. You can also stir in the grated zest of a lemon or orange to the batter.


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