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Apple cheddar muffins: A grab-and-go breakfast

Matt Brooks

THE WASHINGTON POST – “There is something special and sacred about mornings … when we slow down long enough to enjoy them,” Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky write in their latest cookbook, Rise & Run: Recipes, Rituals, and Runs to Fuel Your Day.

Former cross-country teammates – and my fellow alumni – from their days at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the pair knows all about morning routines and the importance of a nourishing breakfast. Flanagan is New York City Marathon champion, an Olympic silver medallist and one of the most accomplished American distance runners ever. And Kopecky is a food writer, nutrition coach and fellow marathoner.

Rise & Run, their fourth co-authored cookbook, is filled with breakfast and brunch recipes packed with whole grains, healthy fats, vegetables and fruit – plus training tips, meal planning guides and more.

The book is changing the way I approach weekday breakfasts. I’ve relied on my morning running routine more than ever during the pandemic, to get fresh air, move my body and feel restored before sitting down for long days of working from home. But rather than simply settling for a piece of toast or a mug of tea, I’m now trying to treat myself to a better breakfast by preparing the book’s apple butter oatmeal bake or one of two dozen Superhero Muffin variations – riffs on Flanagan and Kopecky’s most popular recipe from their debut book, Run Fast. Eat Slow – the night before or on the weekend.

These Apple Cheddar Muffins are a new favourite: fluffy and hearty, a little savoury, a little sweet and packed with whole grains, sweet potato and apples. They make an ideal grab-and-go or post-workout breakfast option, and it’s easy to make (and bake) ahead.

Top them with an aged or extra-sharp cheddar cheese for a bonus pop of flavour. In our testing, a mix of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples helped the natural sweetness of the fruit stand up to the salty, savoury flavours of the muffins.

Baked with hardy spelt flour, the muffins are a handy breakfast to fuel or refuel you for whatever the day may bring.

Apple cheddar muffins. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Active time: 30 mins
Total time: One hour
Servings: 12

Make Ahead: The batter can be prepared the night before baking and refrigerated in a sealed container.

Storage Notes: Leftover muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, microwave the muffins on LOW for about 30 seconds or reheat in a 300-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Two cups spelt flour or whole-wheat flour
One-and-a-half teaspoons baking soda
Three-quarters teaspoon fine sea salt
Three large eggs
One-and-a-half cups coarsely shredded aged or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
One cup coarsely grated peeled sweet potato
Half plain whole-milk yoghurt
One stick unsalted butter, melted
Two large firm, tart apples such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, peeled and cored

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350oF. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or grease with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, one cup of the cheese, the sweet potato, yoghurt and butter.

Use the large holes of a box grater to grate one of the apples. Chop the second apple into small pieces. Stir both apples into the wet ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until combined.

Use a spoon to scoop the batter into each muffin cup, filling to the brim. Sprinkle the remaining half cup of cheese on top of the muffins.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the muffins are nicely browned on top, the cheese is melted and crisped and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let cool to the touch before unmolding. Eat warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 225 | Total Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 387mg | Carbohydrates: 22g | Dietary Fibre: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Protein: 8g.

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