Allergy Friendly Apple Muffins: Fall Flavors and Back to School Treats

The beginning of fall will hopefully bring with it cooler temperatures, lightly falling leaves and plenty of beautiful apples. It also makes a month since schools started back here in South Carolina.  Schools can be a stressful location for families of children with food allergies. Imagine sending your little one off to learn only to be riddled with worry that they could have food allergy exposure.

Data collected between 2009-2010 in the United States estimated food allergy prevalence at 8%, which translates to roughly 2 children in every classroom of 25 students. Eight types of food account for 90% of food allergies: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. Cow’s milk allergy is the most common food allergy occurring in young children, affecting around 3% of kids followed by egg allergy in approximately 2% of young children. It’s estimated that 80-90% of milk, egg, soy and wheat allergic patients will develop tolerance by the time they are 5 years old. However, only 1 in 5 of young peanut-allergic patients will develop tolerance.

One of my children’s favorite recipes is apple cinnamon muffins. The recipe was first introduced to them by my mother from a Junior League cookbook. I typically make these muffins, as mini muffins, once per week and my children are full of delight when they wake up to the smell. They have also proven to be a popular treat at school. While the tops are dusted with cinnamon and sugar, there is no messy frosting to worry about. The muffins are nut-free and soy-free in their most basic form. However, I have tried using alternative ingredients to also make them milk-free and egg-free.  The nurses in the office loved the nut-free, soy-free, milk-free and egg-free version so much that they were begging for the recipe before I left the office.

The recipe below is the original recipe, but see the notes below about substitutions to make them allergen-friendly for your family, children’s class or colleagues:

Apple Cinnamon Muffins Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 egg*
  • ¼ cup milk**
  • 1 large apple, peeled (Fuji recommended)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup melted butter for topping***
  • 1/3 cup sugar for topping
  • 1 tsp cinnamon for topping

1. Grate the peeled apple using a coarse grater into mixing bowl.

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2. Mix shortening, egg, milk and apple in bowl with fork trying to work in the shortening with other ingredients.

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3. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg into the wet ingredients.

Charlotte mixing

4. Stir just until well-combined. Scoop into mini muffin pan (makes approximately 20 mini muffins), donut pan or standard muffin pan. Bake at 350 F until muffin top bounces back to light touch.

charlotte mixing 3

4. Allow to cool enough to remove muffins from pan. Melt butter in microwave-safe dish. Mix additional sugar with cinnamon in separate dish. Dip mini muffins in butter then cinnamon sugar mix. Serve warm or store for a few days.

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Substitutions for Allergies:

*Egg substitute: tested the use of 1 tbsp vinegar (tried apple cider vinegar and white vinegar) and 1 tsp baking soda. While applesauce can be used, this recipe already has grated apple.

**Milk substitute: tested with both Ripple pea milk and Oatmilk with food results.

***Butter substitute: tested with soy-free Earth Balance.

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