Apple fritters are one of my favorite fall treats. A good apple fritter consists of a lot of apples that are barely held together with a tasty, eggy batter and deep fried until they are golden and crisp. The finished fritter could be glazed, dipped in maple syrup or sprinkled with powdered sugar. Any way you serve them up, they’re delicious. Apple fritters can be a little bit of a pain to make, and can make a real mess in the kitchen. It’s still fun to do once in a while, but my Baked Apple Fritter Muffins are a much better option if you want to have apple fritters on a regular basis.
These muffins are packed with diced fresh apples and capture all of that apple fritter flavor in a package that is easier to make and easier to eat. The batter is lightly sweetened and flavored with a hint of nutmeg and vanilla. It is fairly thick and has a slight tang to it, thanks to a generous amount of sour cream (plain greek-style yogurt can also be used), that helps to keep the muffins moist and tender after baking, in addition to giving the apples a nice background flavor. The fun part of making these muffins comes in right after they have baked. When they are fresh out of the oven and are still hot, the muffins should be brushed with or dipped in melted butter then quickly rolled in a spiced sugar mixture before being allowed to cool on a wire rack. This finishing process gives them a crisp sweet crust that mimics the finish you get on a “real” apple fritter.
The muffins are are a variation on my Sugar Donut Muffins, but the use of apples and changing up some of the ingredients and spices gives them a flavor that is deep and perfectly reminiscent of an apple fritter. They need to be baked without muffin wrappers so that they are easier to coat with butter and sugar after baking, so I recommend using a nonstick pan or greasing your baking tin well with butter or vegetable oil. These are sure to be a hit at any fall brunch, and you could scale them down to a bite size “donut hole” form by baking them in mini muffin tins and repeating the same finishing process. You’ll probably still want to spring for a deep fried fritter from time to time, but these are a very, very worthy stand in!!
Baked Apple Fritters
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking power
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream or greek-style yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups diced fresh apples (approx 2 med apples, peeled)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or vegetable oil.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Stir half of the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, followed by the vegetable oil, sour cream and vanilla extract. Add in remaining flour mixture and stir until batter comes together, then fold in apples until they are well distributed.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
While muffins are baking, prepare the topping. In a small, deep bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
When muffins are done, carefully pop them out of the pan one at a time, brush the top and sides with melted butter, and roll in the sugar mixture. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and repeat the process with the remaining muffins.
Makes 12 muffins.