Baking really is magic. It's not just that otherwise good ingredients come together to make something great (Sugar? Good. Butter? Gooood.) It's that ingredients like buttermilk can be transformed into superlatively moist muffins. The first time I saw buttermilk in a recipe, I thought Martha Stewart was pulling my leg. (You know Martha, always such a jokester.) I was hard-pressed to believe that the thick, sour smelling goop in my measuring glass was going into my pancakes. Yet the resulting pancakes were undeniably fluffy and delicious, and I settled on my Julia Child-esque cooking mantra of "It doesn't matter how you got there, so long as the results are good."
I've learned since that many people around the world drink buttermilk or similar fermented milk drinks. I begrudge no one their filmjölk or kefir. But drinking buttermilk straight is just not for me, which means I'm constantly finding myself with half a carton of buttermilk in the fridge. Buttermilk biscuits are always a winning way to use up the extras, but these apple buttermilk muffins aren't far behind.
As you might guess if you're familiar with baking with buttermilk, these muffins are extremely moist and tender. The crumb is flecked with brown thanks to the hefty quantity of nutmeg and cinnamon that spices the muffins. Before anyone peeks at the recipe, let me say that I could call these Apple Spice Buttermilk Muffins, as you are free to do, if you feel the need to perfectly describe what you're eating. Either way, the moist, pillowy crumb, pieces of tart apple, and cinnamon-nutmeg perfume makes these some of my favorite muffins to date.
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About the author: Carrie Vasios is the Community Manager of Serious Eats and writes the Wake and Bake, Cookie Monster, and Serious Entertaining columns. She likes perusing her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar.