Apple and Rosemary brown butter muffins

I carry around this little moleskin notebook that my friend Nicole gave for my birthday. On one side it says “Recipes Imagined,” and on the other side there is a blue sticker that says “I saw a whale!” I can write down any old recipe idea and then test it, work on it, before I put it in the official book. The book I will guard tooth and nail into senility and then leave to someone when I die. You may remember “White Zucchini Pizza.” It came from Recipes Imagined. So does this muffin recipe. I got five wee little local apples from the Root Cellar; if you are using average-sized apples then you only need two or three. Cut them in half, core them, and bake in a glass pan at 350 for about an hour, until they are fully cooked, perhaps even slightly mushy. Let cool. If you have a blender puree the apples, skin and all. Pour into a mixing bowl. If you don’t have a blender, like I didn’t that particular night, then remove the skins and smush the apple flesh with a fork until relatively smooth. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients: 2 cups all purpose flour (for delicious and colon-appreciating muffins, use whole wheat flour), 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, a pinch of salt, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Now we get to the brown butter. Melt a stick of butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. After the butter is melted, skim the foamy off the top with a spoon. If you don’t get it all off it’s not a big deal. Add ½-1 teaspoon dried rosemary. Fresh rosemary would be lovely, but there isn’t much of that here in Missouri at the end of January. Let the butter cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until it starts to get brown. Combine the butter with the apple smoosh, an egg, a cup of milk, and 1-teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients. Bake in a greased muffin tin at 350 for 20-25 minutes. To test if they are done, stick a toothpick in the middle of a muffin and if it comes out clean, they are done.

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