Happy Fall! Or so says the calendar. In reality it’s a very non-autumnal 88º F where I am today but are we going to let that stop us from cooking for the new season?!! No siree! And what screams Fall more than apples? So first up are these seriously delicious Apple Crisp Muffins.
There’s just so much to love about them—so many layers of flavor and texture. Look at all those nubby crags! Don’t you want one (or two) right now? Here’s how to make that happen:
You start by making an easy batter that’s enhanced with buttermilk so you know the baked crumb will be light and moist.
And into that batter, you fold a generous amount of juicy, sweet apples.
Then, once you’ve spooned the batter into the muffin cups, you add a layer of chopped apples on top of the muffins for even more apple-y flavor and texture.
Next, comes the layer you’ll find yourself most conflicted about—the buttery, sweet, cinnamon-y streusel topping. Should you dive in and eat that muffin top first or gobble down the cakey part and save that glorious crumble for last? What a dilemma!!
Now you may have just noticed that I said “cakey”—folks, that was no accident. You know how some muffins are entirely justifiable for a healthy breakfast? These are not those. Nope, these definitely fall more into the muffin-for-dessert category (although no judgement here if you eat them for a decadent little fall breakfast—I certainly won’t tell!)
What I will tell you is that whether you visit the farm or just make a trip to the supermarket, these absolutely must go on your fall baking list!
More apple goodies to come…
Apple Crisp Muffins
Makes about 18 muffins
No mixer needed!
Prep Time: 20 minutes; Bake Time: About 30 minutes
For the streusel
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the muffins
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup safflower oil (or whatever vegetable oil you prefer)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
4 cups peeled and diced cooking apples, divided (I used Gala but it would be great with Granny Smith, Honeycrisp or other firm baking apple—my apples were from the farm so they were small and I used about 8—if you’re buying from the supermarket, you can probably be safe with 5 medium-large apples)
1. To make the streusel: Whisk together the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and stir together until crumbly. Set aside.
2. To make the muffins: Make sure oven rack is centered. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack or a sheet of aluminum foil, just to catch any drips. You’ll thank me later! Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray 2 standard muffin tin cups with nonstick vegetable spray and line with paper liners. Set aside.
3. Place the brown sugar, oil, egg and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk together well until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add about 1/3 of the mixture to the liquid ingredients and stir together, just until the flour is no longer visible. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and stir in. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture and stir again. Pour in the rest of the buttermilk and mix. Then add the remaining flour and mix just until no flour is visible. You don’t want to overmix. Now fold in 2 cups (half of the chopped apples).
5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups and top with the remaining chopped apples. Then sprinkle the streusel on tops of all the muffins.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning them back to front once during the process (I baked one pan at a time but you could do both if they fit side by side). Muffins are done when they are golden brown, the top springs back and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, free of batter—if they have a little apple sticking to them that’s ok—you just don’t want any batter or they will be gummy. If so, bake for another 5-10 minutes and check again.
7. Cool muffins in pans on a wire rack until almost completely cool. These are delicate when still warm. These are best on the same day they’re made but pretty yummy for 2-3 days afterwards—you can always warm them up in a low oven. Store in an airtight container.
Note: Recipe adapted from Food.com. I doubled the topping because we all need more crumbly sweet streusel and I also added chopped apples to the tops of the muffins so they’d be extra apple-y, like an apple crisp.