Here’s the story behind these Dutch Apple Pie Muffins.
They were supposed to be banana. I’d been working on a banana muffin recipe and there were a couple of really ripe bananas left that I publicly claimed for that purpose. Then we all came home from the gym that night and my husband made smoothies… before I could remind him that I needed those bananas.
So, no banana muffins for us today :( But I still wanted to play around with a muffin recipe, and I had some apples, so I thought, “Let’s make apple crisp muffins!” The whole idea was to make an applesauce muffin, throw a bunch of fresh cut apples on top then pile on the crisp topping. I wasn’t sure if it would work, considering my muffin pan was towering with batter, then apples, then topping. I put a pan underneath it when I baked them, half expecting they would all explode over the sides.
On the other hand, I also thought the weight of piling up apples and butter and brown sugar and oats, etc on top of muffin batter might not allow the muffins to rise properly and thus, cause an implosion. Maybe I should have just folded the apples into the batter…Maybe I should have not put so much of everything on top…Or, maybe I should just trust my gut and wait for the darn things to come out of the oven and then all my questions would be answered…
I gave a silent cheer inside as I removed them from the oven. Yes! They rose quite nicely. No explosions, no sink holes, but I wasn’t sure what kind of texture I would end up with after all those towering toppings. I had reduced the liquid by a bit so that it might hold up to the heavy load. The apples had time to get tender; the muffin batter was flavorful and moist with a nice open crumb. The topping was not in the oven long enough to actually get crisp, as it would have normally with apple crisp which bakes for longer. Instead, it turned out more like a crumb topping. Umm, so I can’t really call them apple crisp muffins, but they turned out really well, so a quick name change to Dutch Apple Pie Muffins and we’re good to go.
I love that the apples are all piled on the top instead of folded into the batter; it makes the muffin more pie-like because you get lots of apples in one bite. And crumb topping? Well, that’s always a good thing, even if it was supposed to be crisp topping.
So, I wasn’t planning an apple recipe today. That’s fine. It’s February, not September, but it’s been hitting single digits out there and these Dutch Apple Pie Muffins look pretty cozy to me.
We’ll do the banana thing some other day.
Dutch Apple Pie Muffins
For the crumb topping:
- 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
For the muffins:
- 2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt I used kosher
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice or cinnamon
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup fat free evaporated milk you can use low fat or full fat
- 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups peeled diced apples (about 2 medium apples)
- lemon juice
- ground apple pie spice or cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups.
Make the crumb topping. Combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, oats and butter in a small mixing bowl. Work the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, a fork or your fingers until the mixture holds together in a clump if you press it together with your fingers. You should have no dry ingredients still powdery in the bowl. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Your apples should be diced, sprinkled and tossed with a few squeezes of some fresh lemon juice (to keep them from browning) before starting to make the muffin batter.
To make the muffin batter, in a large bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and apple pie spice.
In a separate bowl, whisk brown sugar, eggs, applesauce, milk and oil until well combined.
Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir only until combined.
Scoop into prepared muffin pan. The cups will be almost full.
Carefully pile diced apples on top of the batter. Lightly sprinkle with apple pie spice or cinnamon.
Pile crumb topping on top of the apples. I found using a spoon to place the topping, guided by my fingers helped to accomplish this best. You can scoop up any stray topping that lands on the pan and put it back onto the top of the muffin.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 5 minutes, then immediately lower the heat to 375 degrees F, without opening the oven. Bake for an additional 14-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Don't over bake or you'll risk dry muffins.
Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from pan and finish cooling on a rack.
*These muffins are best on the first day, but can be stored, covered at room temperature up to 3 days. A few seconds of reheating in the microwave will help bring back some moisture.
*You can use all purpose flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour. If you want to use regular whole wheat flour, use half of that and half all purpose.
*You may use sweetened applesauce with no other adjustments; your muffin will be sweeter, but I don't think it will be too sweet. If you're worried about it, you could reduce the brown sugar in the muffin batter by a tablespoon, but I'd try it with no changes first.
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