If I had to survive on only one breakfast treat for the rest of my life (oh, what a world) it might be muffins. Cinnamon rolls are too much work and biscotti might as well be stale bread. Muffins give you that fresh baked bread smell without all the kneading and rising. They can also be customized a million different ways, and I’m always on the lookout for the next big muffin thing.
Enter apple spice muffins. A simple and straightforward muffin that is perfect for those who might not like soft chunks of fruit or decadent chocolate in their morning meal. These are made with applesauce rather than whole apples, so the apple flavor couldn’t be any easier to achieve.
I’m not usually one to advocate for browning butter (who has the time??) but I think it pairs up with the whole wheat flour and the pecans to add to the nice nutty flavor here. The sweet earthy flavors of cinnamon and allspice are perfect for a breakfast treat while brown sugar keeps things soft and apple-pie like.
These muffins are true muffin top glory. The top is crispy and sweet, almost cookie-like. I love the big pecans studded throughout. If you decide to top them with some coarse sugar it will really add nicely to the crunch factor.
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Raw or coarse sugar (optional)
Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Keep an eye on it, allowing it to cook down until the butter foams, crackles, and begins to brown. Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar until well combined. Add the slightly cooled butter, a little at a time, until creamy. Stir in applesauce. Fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until just moistened, then gently fold in the nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and top with raw or coarse sugar if desired.
Bake in the preheated oven until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely. These are best eaten the day they are made.
Adapted from Amandeleine