Delicious muffins incorporate the great flavours of autumn!
Autumn, aka apple season, is one of my favourite times of year. I have fond memories of apple picking as a child and enjoyed sharing that traditional activity with my own kids when they were younger. These days, I head to my nearby farmers’ market to pick up baskets of freshly-picked apples throughout the fall. I love to make litres of pink-hued applesauce to tuck into the freezer, and I also love baking with apples. Pies and crisps are always devoured in my house but I got to thinking the other day that it was time to add a new apple dish to the repertoire. Now that Hallowe’en is almost here, I was reflecting on the decadent, delightful flavour of caramel apples and decided that recreating that taste in muffin form would be a delicious experiment. I was right. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) white sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) water
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) butter
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) heavy cream
Note: if you don’t wish to make the caramels yourself, you can use 12 – 15 purchased caramels, unwrapped and cut into thirds.
- 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) salt
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla
- 3/4 cup (185 mL) peeled, cored and coarsely chopped apples (about 2 medium apples)
For streusel topping:
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) quick cooking oats
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) cinnamon
- Place sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed pot.
- Over medium heat, warm sugar until it melts.
- Swirl pot occasionally to ensure even heat distribution. The sugar will turn golden brown as it melts and caramelizes.
- When sugar is completely melted and golden, add butter. The mixture may foam up as the butter melts. Stir well.
- When butter is melted, add cream and stir well. Pour into a shallow baking dish (a loaf pan lined with parchment paper is good) and cool in the refrigerator until the sauce is solid enough to cut into one centimetre (1/3-inch) squares.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line muffin tins with paper baking cups. Use the parchment ones if you can find them – they are fantastic and much easier to peel off the muffins than the plain paper ones.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl or glass measure, melt butter over low heat. Cool slightly in fridge for 2 minutes then add egg, buttermilk and vanilla to butter in bowl. Stir to combine.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Fold in chopped apple and caramels.
- Fill baking cups 3/4 full with batter.
- Sprinkle topping evenly over batter in cups.
- Bake 18 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove tins from oven and let muffins cool in pan 5 minutes before removing.
- Let cool at least 5 more minutes before serving – if you can’t wait that long, just be careful of the hot, melted caramel inside the muffins.
Makes 12 muffins that freeze well.