I love weekend breakfasts. They are the two times during the week when the hubs and I can sit down together and enjoy a hot, fresh breakfast. Our all-time favorite is fried eggs, peppered bacon and a fresh pastry. And it is very likely one of yours, too. It's the perfect morning mix of savory and sweet to jive with your java. We swap in various pastries every weekend, but one of our all-time favorites are fresh apple muffins. Every time I make them, the hubs cannot stop gushing about how good they are. And sometimes I can even stop shoveling them in my mouth long enough to grunt back in agreement.
This muffin is not like any other I've had. The original recipe that inspired this dish was a fresh apple cake at a work carry-in. Traditionally, I am not a big fan of cakes. I prefer the texture and sweetness of a quick-bread, and the frosting typically gives me a terrible stomach ache. So when given the choice, I always opt for a muffin over a cake. However, this cake was different. It was absolutely stuffed with fresh apples, and little bits of apple permeated every bite. The cake had an unbelievably tender, incredibly moist consistency, very similar to a bread pudding. One bite and I was in apple heaven.
Now as much as the hubs and I love apples, there is no way that the two of us want/need (take your pick) to eat an entire cake in a week. So I began playing around with the recipe to transform it into something that worked better in our two-person household. I cut back on the sugar, left off the frosting, tweaked a few other things and voila, an amazing muffin was born. It still has the decadent pudding-like consistency of the original cake thanks to the oodles of fresh apples packed into the batter, but with a milder, muffin-like sweetness.
Now when I say oodles of apples, I mean it. This is one of the funkiest batters that you've ever seen in your life...because it looks like there isn't any! Before moving the batter into your muffin tins, it seems dubious that any baked good could come out of this apple laden mess. But that's all part of the magic of this muffin. As the apples cook, they release all their delicious juices and shrink down. These juices are absorbed by the batter, which rises up to create a truly lovely flavor that is to die for. And the texture....well, we've covered that pretty well by now.
And of course, we can't forget the streusel topping. It is literally the pièce de résistance. The crisp topping is absolutely perfect paired with the gooey muffin below, creating a brunch-party in your mouth. The crisp sweetness is absolutely perfect with a cup of black coffee. We always make four big muffins in our Pyrex bowls or ramekins with this recipe. It eliminates the need to trek back to the kitchen for seconds (and by trek, I do mean the 2 feet across our tiny dining room). But if you can definitely make standard-size muffins if you prefer. Just be sure to enjoy them with loved ones over coffee in your pajamas. Then you'll know the weekend has officially begun.
Fresh Apple Streusel Muffins (4 large muffins or 6 standard muffins)
- 10 oz Gala apples, peeled and diced (you could also use Fuji, Braeburn or Granny Smith)
- 1/2 c walnuts (you could also use pecans)
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 1/3 c sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 c whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the streusel:
- 1 tsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbs packed brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp whole wheat flour
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbs chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and place in the heated oven. Roast for 4-5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until nuts are fragrant. Remove pan from oven and transfer the nuts to a cutting board. Roughly chop the nuts and set aside. Two tablespoons will go into the streusel topping while the rest go directly into the batter.
Place the 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium glass mixing bowl, then melt the butter in the microwave (it takes about a minute in ours). Let cool for about a minute, then add the sugar, egg white and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth and set bowl aside.
In a small glass mixing bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Transfer the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture, then stir until just combined. Add the chopped apples and all but two tablespoons of the chopped nuts. Mix until well blended. The batter will be very thinly dispersed between the pieces of apple.
To make your streusel topping, place the teaspoon of butter in the small glass mixing bowl you used for your dry ingredients and microwave until the butter is melted. Add the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and reserved walnuts and stir together well.
Spray four pyrex bowls (or 6-8 muffin tins) with non-stick spray and divide batter evenly amongst the bowls. Sprinkle with the streusel topping. Bake for 25-30 minutes (15-20 minutes for muffin tins) until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffin. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the bowls. Remove and serve hot.