Applesauce can be a surprisingly good ingredient to use in baked goods when fall baking season rolls around. Like mashed bananas and pumpkin puree, applesauce is easy to incorporate into baked goods and generally yields treats that are both moist and flavorful. These Applesauce Spice Muffins with Pecans and Raisins are a wonderful fall recipe that uses applesauce both for texture and for flavor. The sauce is enhanced with the addition of cinnamon, allspice and vanilla, which go well with apple in just about every recipe you could imagine, from muffins to pie.
This muffin recipe is exceptionally easy to make because it can be mixed up with nothing more than a spatula. The “dry” ingredients, including the spices, are combined in one bowl, while the “wet” ingredients are combined in another. The two components of the muffins are brought together with raisins and pecans, then the batter is poured into a muffin tin and baked. The prep time is only about five minutes – and that includes the time to pull the ingredients out of your pantry!
The finished muffins have a nicely domed muffin top and a fluffy, tender interior. They are spicy enough to feel perfect for fall, without the spices overpowering the other flavors in the muffins. The toasted pecans add a pleasant crunch and the raisins add chew, both contrasting well with the soft crumb of the muffin. Applesauce brings in a lovely apple flavor and plenty of moisture, so the muffins will keep well for a couple of days after baking.
Some applesauces have sweeteners and spices added to them, but I always use unsweetened applesauce in baking so I can have complete control over the flavor of the finished baked goods I’m making. The muffins will still turn out if you use a cinnamon flavored applesauce (for instance), but it’s safer to stick with unsweetened applesauce when it comes to baking for any recipe.
Applesauce Spice Muffins with Walnuts and Raisins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins (pref. golden)
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice.
In a medium bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, egg, applesauce, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Pour applesauce mix into the dry ingredients and whisk until well-combined. Stir in raisins and pecans. Divide mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12 muffins.