Slowly, slowly, slowly, the days are changing. Mornings stay dark for a little longer every day, and the sunset comes earlier. And one of these days, I’m going to need a sweater when I walk outside. And these changes outside are reflected in what I’m baking. Apples have become a new seasonal favorite in the kitchen, and pumpkin is bound to make its debut sometime soon. I’m craving richly spiced, warm, and comforting food, like this first fall baked good, apple cinnamon muffins. These muffins, featuring the classic combination of tart apples and warm cinnamon, are kept moist from the applesauce and are deeply spiced with cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. A cinnamon-sugar topping sweetens the deal. A warm muffin on a chilly morning is fall perfection.
Instead of a loaf pan like the original recipe suggests, I made muffins. I doubled the recipe below to get about 20 muffins. I think a little whole-wheat flour would be great subbed for some of the all-purpose (1/2 cup whole-wheat plus 1 cup all-purpose, perhaps).
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups apples, peeled and roughly chopped into about 1/2 inch pieces (about 1 1/2 to 2 apples)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease with cooking spray or butter and flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice, and cloves.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer or whisk, beat the eggs on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add in the oil, applesauce, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Next, add the sugar and mix until well-combined.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture, mixing until the flour is just barely combined. Gently fold in the apples with a rubber spatula. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the tops of the muffins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Cool the muffins in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on a cooling rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers at room temperature for up to 2 days, or frozen, well-wrapped, for up to a month.