Coffee Break Muffins with Mosto Cotto Apples

These breakfast or anytime muffins, redolent with a deep dark coffee flavor, need no adornment, but since Fall is officially here today, I served my muffins with an chunky applesauce cooked in a red grape syrup called a mosto cotto. Traditionally, a true mosto cotto is made from wine grapes and while mine isn’t authentic, it tastes pretty good. This recipe comes from Carol Field’s book, “Italy in Small Bites”, a cookbook I use constantly. Rhiani from  Chocoholic Anonymous chose the coffee break muffins for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie baking group.

Mosto Cotto

2 pounds, plus 2 ounces red grapes
1 cinnamon stick, optional
2 cloves, optional
Zest of of 1/2 lemon, optional

Wash grapes and remove stems. Mash them in a bowl with a pestle or use a food processor with a shredding disk attached. Drain and press through a sieve to extract the juices. Add the juice to a large saucepan-you should have around 5 cups of grape juice. Add cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon zest if desired. Set the saucepan over low heat and slowly simmer for about an hour. Stir occasionally to redistribute the juices. Remove any froth that forms. Then, bring to a full boil and cook down to a thick syrup, about 1-1/2 cups. Remove cinnamon stick, cloves and zest. Set aside to cool before either freezing or placed in sterilized jars. Makes about 1 -1/2.

Chunky Applesauce

4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup mosto cotto

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, add apples and lemon juice. Cook on medium heat until apples are tender, not mushy and water is nearly cooked out. Add mosto cotto and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; serve at room temperature or chill. Makes about 2 cups. You can also make this with pears.


  1. Tia
    September 21, 2010 / 4:28 pm

    I'm intrigued by the mosto cotto! your muffins look yummy too. I made mine into coffee cake with chopped chocolate bars on top! Tia @ Buttercreambarbie

  2. Jessica of My Baking Heart
    September 21, 2010 / 5:29 pm

    Love the applesauce you added! Gorgeous photos, as always! 🙂

  3. Jeannette
    September 22, 2010 / 4:34 pm

    yum, what delicious photos!

  4. Flourchild
    September 22, 2010 / 9:24 pm

    YOur pictures are so nice!! I love them! Im glad you loved the recipe and I like the AS idea too! I think AS makes everything moist!

  5. Carolyn Jung
    September 23, 2010 / 12:16 am

    You're inspiring me with all your great grape recipes, especially because I see so many clusters in the farmers market now, nudging out the disappearing summer stone fruit. Ah, fall is here for sure.

  6. Rhiani
    September 23, 2010 / 4:14 am

    Thanks for baking along, I love your pictures and the mosto cotto sounds very interesting.

  7. Beth
    September 23, 2010 / 7:59 am

    I can't wait to try these muffins. They look fantastic!

  8. Paula
    September 23, 2010 / 11:04 am

    Mosto cotto? Never heard of it but sounds wonderful. What texture is it? Like juice? or does it get thick? Beautiful pictures, as usual.p.s. You inspired me to try taking some food pics with my iPhone when I had nothing else. Turned out better than I expected.

  9. Pamela
    September 24, 2010 / 8:02 pm

    I've never heard of Mosto Cotto either, but it looks quite good. Nice muffins, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.