Teachers Love Apples?

I don’t know where the whole tradition of giving your teacher an apple as a sign of respect and dedication to absorbing the lessons one might recieve, but it has still managed to carry over into modern times, slightly twisted in my case. The school year is winding down, meaning a number of things, the top two for me being: 1) FINAL EXAMS ARE COMING UP OH SHIT I’M GOING TO FAIL, and 2) I need to find a way to thank those who put up with my daily nonsense in their classrooms. A decent amount of time still spans between now and my school’s imminent summer release – June 27, can you believe it?! – But my mother also works in the school system, and happens to get out earlier than me! As a gift of appreciation to her side of the whole ‘learning equasion’, I wanted to bake her something nice to bring in for a thank-you-for-not-killing-the-kids breakfast for her diligent coworkers. Trust me, it’s been a long year, and this is the least I could do.

Although I had been starting to get skeptical about the apples available at the grocery store recently, I happen to pick up a particularly flavorful bunch just two days ago. What luck! They’re pretty much out of season now, but come on, when have you ever seen a market not stock apples these days? Doesn’t mean they’ll taste any better than soggy cardboard though.

Anyway, I knew I wanted to make something sort of like coffee cake, but there didn’t seem to be anything that was quite right. Idly flipping through In the Garden of Vegan while waiting for a pot of water to boil, I almost instantly turned to the page bearing a recipe for apple streusel muffins. It was clearly a sign – They were meant to be!

As I spooned them out into their little paper cups, I worried that there might not be enough struesel to top them all, but my concern was groundless; There was more than enough, and each one got a generous helping. Oh, and I might add that the recipe claims to make 6 muffins, but they must have made them as big as your head! I got an even dozen in medium muffin pans, and each one baked up with a lovely, full top.

It’s also worth mentioning that since the ingredients simply list the sugar as “dry sweetener,” I decided to play around with it a bit and use regular white sugar in the muffin base, but then brown sugar for the topping. I really love the dark, rounded taste of brown sugar, so I usually try to use atleast half when it doesn’t specify in the recipe. In addition, I had no oat bran flour, so I simply substituted whole wheat. Other than that, I pretty much followed the instructions to the letter.

Let me tell you, those hard working teachers are finally in for a treat that is perhaps a bit less healthy than that traditional apple, but undoubtedly far more appealing.