I recently stopped in at a local cafe and ordered a tasty looking apple muffin to go with a cup of coffee. That muffin only had about two pieces of apple in the entire thing, and was pretty disappointing overall. Naturally, this set me on a mission to make a simple, tasty apple muffin.
Apple and cinnamon is always a great pairing, so I started with that as the flavor base for this muffin. There is cinnamon in the muffin batter, and the muffins are also topped with a cinnamon sugar mixture. While I do like a streusel topping for apple muffins as well, adding a simple sugar topping saves a lot of work and still gives them a nice little crunch and finishing flavor. I used plenty of diced apples in the batter, but these are high-rising muffins and there is enough batter around the apples that you won’t mistake these muffins for a miniature apple crisp or crumble.
The muffins are moist and tender – thanks in large part to the apples, but also because they include oil in addition to butter. Oil not only mixes in to a quick bread easily, but it helps the muffin to retain moisture, even if you end up storing these for a day or two before finishing the batch. The melted butter adds a lot of flavor that oil alone wouldn’t provide. These mix up quickly and are much more satisfying than the apple-less “apple” muffins from the coffee shop, if I do say so myself!
Apple Cinnamon Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups diced apple
3 tbsp coarse sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices.
In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and egg. Whisk in melted butter, vegetable oil and vanilla. Working in two or three additions, alternately stir in flour mixture and buttermilk, ending with an addition of flour and mixing only until no streaks of flour remain visible in the batter. Stir in diced apple.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups filling each to the top, or slightly over.
In a small bowl, stir together coarse sugar and additional 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon. Sprinkle generously over muffins.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool muffins on a wire rack.