These Apple Spice Streusel Muffins are the first muffin recipe on the blog and I'm excited to share it with you. These muffins are full of my favorite spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; chunks of Granny Smith apples and my special ingredient - orange zest. Read on to learn how to make these delicious muffins and if you want to get updates on new recipes sign up for my baking newsletter.
Why This Recipe Works
This recipe is made flavorful by the addition of whole wheat flour, which adds a nutty taste to the muffin and plenty of spices and orange creates a nice flavor profile. Granny Smith apples add a nice tart flavor to the muffin with moist chunks of fruit. Finally, I made an pecan crisp topping of toasted pecans, cinnamon and brown sugar.
Basic Muffin Recipe Ingredients
The great things about homemade muffins is that they are easy to make and can be made by hand. Once you've learned how to make the basic muffin recipe it's incredibly easy to adjust according to your tastes. These are the ingredients for the basic muffin recipe:
- All-Purpose Flour. The all-purpose flour provides the structure for the muffin.
- Whole Wheat Flour. The whole wheat flour provides a nice nutty taste to the muffin.
- Baking Powder. Chemical leavening is needed to provide the lift to the muffin. The general rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour. In this case I used 3 teaspoons because of the weight of the chopped apples.
- Brown Sugar and Granulated Sugar. The sugar provides sweetness and moisture. The brown sugar adds a slight molasses flavor.
- Sour Cream. I love the tang of sour cream. If you don't have sour cream, you can use buttermilk.
- Whole Eggs. Eggs are needed for moisture and structure.
- Ground Spices. The ground spices are a major flavor component but can be easily adjusted (more or less) to suit your tastes.
- Orange Zest. Orange zest is my secret ingredient and goes really well with the apples. You only need a little
- Add-Ins. Add-ins should be 1-1/2 to 2 cups and can be fruit, nuts, and chocolate. Chopped apples are added to this recipe. I left them unpeeled, but you can peel them if you like.
The add-ins in total should be between 1 to 2 cups in order to keep the batter from being too heavy. If there is too much add-ins the muffins may not rise properly.
For instance, you can add 2 cups of blueberries, but if you're adding nuts I would recommend something like 1-1/4 cups of blueberries and 3/4 of chopped nuts.
Pecan Streusel Ingredients
This streusel topping is the basic recipe I use for most of my streusel topping needs. I use it for these muffins, but also for fruit crisps, like my Pear Crisp and Blueberry Crumble Pie; or any recipe where I want a crunchy topping. The ingredients are:
- All-Purpose Flour
- Light Brown Sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Ground Cinnamon
- Unsalted Butter
- Chopped Toasted Pecans
How to Make the Muffins
The method for making the muffins is called the Muffin Method. The muffin method is simple. The dry ingredients are mixed in one bowl and the wet ingredients are mixed in another bowl and then the dry ingredients are added to wet ingredients and gently mixed together. Sugar is considered a wet ingredient.
Start the recipe by measuring out all your ingredients - this is called mise en place. The French translation is setting up and in terms of cooking it means everything in its place. This step ensures that you don't accidentally forget an ingredient.
Start by making the cinnamon streusel topping. The topping can be made up to 30 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until it is ready to use. If making it several days in advance don't add the nuts until you're ready to use the streusel.
Place the granulated sugar in a bowl. zest the orange into the sugar and rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers. This ensures that you capture the orange oil and zest and maximize the flavor.
Chop the apples and then mix them with a 1/4 cup of the all-purpose flour. Coating the fruit with flour will keep the fruit suspended in the batter so it doesn't sink to the bottom of muffins.
Combine the remaining dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk for 30 seconds to ensure everything is well combined and the baking powder is evenly distributed.
Place the eggs in a large bowl and beat them with a whisk. Add the sour cream and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the brown and white sugars and whisk until the sugars are dissolved and no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the melted butter and vanilla.
Add flour mixture all at once and gently work it in with a silicone spatula until most of the flour is mixed in. Next add the apples and gently fold them in and the remaining flour until not bits of flour remain.
Baking the Apple Muffins
Line the muffin pan with the muffin cup paper liners. If you don't have muffin cup liners, melt butter and use a pastry brush to brush each muffin tin making sure to get the corners.
Evenly divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups. Top the batter with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pecan streusel. Lightly press the streusel into the muffin tops.
Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes until the center of the muffins registers at 200-205°F. I use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. Use can also use a cake skewer to test for doneness.
Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes in the muffin tins and then place the muffins on a cooling rack to continue cooling. Serve the muffins warm or later when they have completely cooled.
Storing the Muffins
The muffins can sit at room temperate for one (1) day and stored in the refrigerator in a container or wrapped individually in plastic wrap for up to seven (7) days.
You can also freeze the muffins after they have completely cooled by wrapping each one in plastic wrap and then storing in a freezer bag. Thaw the muffins in the refrigerator or take them straight from the freezer to the oven and warm up at 300°F.
Yes, you can make the batter the night before and bake them first thing in the morning. Add the fruit to the batter right before you bake them.
No, you do not have to use Granny Smith apples. You can use your favorite baking apple. Other options include Fuji, Honey Crisp, and Gala to name a few.
Yes, you can use other spices like cardamom or even five spice powder.
More Breakfast Treats
The blog has plenty of options, both savory and sweet, for breakfast. Here are a few suggestions:
- Cardamom Brown Sugar Scones
- Easy Baked Eggs Florentine
- Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
- Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts
These muffins are really good and family approved. I hope you try this recipe and let me know what you think by leaving a Comment here at the blog or tagging me on Instagram @bakesbybrownsugar. If you post a picture of your bake on Instagram tag me @bakesbybrownsugar and #bakesbybrownsugar.
Apple Spice Streusel Muffins
- 12-cup Muffin Pan
- Muffin Pan Liners
- 6 tablespoons (54 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 cups (200 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour divided
- 1/2 cup (56 grams) whole wheat flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 large eggs (100 grams) room temperature
- 1 cup (240 grams) sour cream room temperature
- 1/2 cup (114 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups (227 grams) chopped apples Granny Smith
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
- Place the all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, granulated sugar and kosher salt and use a fork to mix together. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces, add to the dry ingredients and then use your fingers or a fork to mix in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add the chopped pecans and mix in.
Apple Muffin Batter
- Cut and core the apples and cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss them with 1/4 cup of the all-purpose flour.
- Place the remaining all-purpose flour in a medium size bowl. Add the whole wheat flour, baking powder and cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt to remaining flour. Whisk for about 30 seconds to thoroughly combine.
- Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl and zest the orange directly onto the sugar. You’ll need to eyeball the amount. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until it is fragrant and the sugar turns orange.
- In a large bowl whisk the 2 eggs. Add the sour cream and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the brown sugar and the granulated sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and no lumps of brown sugar remain. Whisk in the melted butter and the vanilla extract.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and use a large spatula to gently mix in the dry ingredients until most of it is mixed it. The batter will be lumpy and you may still see a few streaks of the flour mixture. Add the apples and use the spatula to mix them in. There should be no visible bits of flour. The batter will be a little stiff.
Baking the Muffins
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Place about 2 tablespoons of streusel topping on the top of each unbaked muffin and lightly press it into the batter.
- Place the muffins in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the halfway through the baking. Use a cake skewer to test for doneness after 18 minutes. If you have an instant read thermometer the internal temperature should be about 200 - 205°F.
- Remove the muffins and allow them to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin, them remove them from the muffin tin and place them on a cooling rack. The muffins are best in eaten the same day.
- The muffins can be refrigerated for up to 7 days in container or individually wrapped in plastic. You can also freeze the muffins. Individually wrap each muffin in plastic wrap, and then store them in a freezer bag for t
- Reheat the muffins in the oven or in the microwave before serving.