Tender and flavorful bakery style cinnamon streusel apple muffins loaded with tart bites of fresh apple and spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla. They aren’t complete without the delicious brown sugar cinnamon streusel crumb topping and an easy vanilla glaze.
Are you ready for Fall? Or still clinging to these last languid days of Summer?
I’m somewhere in the middle, excited to finally have a kitchen to get back to (and in turn start baking again), but also loving all the late-season produce still beaming from produce bins at the market. Peaches, plums, tomatoes, sweet corn… it’s all still calling my name.
…But apples – spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla, and folded into a buttery muffin batter and generously topped with a crumbly brown sugar streusel – sound pretty great too.
When I first baked these apple muffins, years ago now, the leaves were just beginning to change in the middle of Georgia; the fall foliage creeping in with vibrant bursts of crimson and golden yellow. Autumn beginning in fits and starts, flirting between the mid-eighties one day, and a full twenty degrees cooler the next. Summer’s last gasps in late-September.
I was however, quite stubbornly set to autumn, our little apartment kitchen filled with the aromas of fall baking, slow-braised stews, and hearty, simmering soups.
Inspired by the start of apple season, and tempted by the many lovely varieties, beautifully-stacked and practically glowing on display, I’d over-indulged at the market, and needed a new recipe to feature my hoard.
A few of the tart varieties made their way into these simple, but flavorful muffins, elevated beyond their humble appearance with a bevy of spices, an irresistible streusel crumb topping, and an optional (but recommended) vanilla glaze.
We were fortunate in Washington to have incredible apples nearly year round, and spoiled via the wonders of cold-storage, it’s easy to forget that apples have a season. But they are sweeter, fresher, crisper during the actual fall harvest season, beginning as early as August.
There was a community apple orchard in our first neighborhood in Tacoma, and I used to love to stop by this time of year in the early morning and pick a handful of different varieties of apples – bright, tart greens, and rosy pinks, and dainty, dark purple beauties – a few for snacking, but most destined to make their way into sweet muffins, or classic apple pie, apple cider cinnamon rolls, or gooey caramel crumb bars.
Because that classic combination of apples with cinnamon and sugar is hands-down my very favorite and just too hard to resist.
And decked with a chunky cinnamon streusel topping and bursting with apple flavor, these indulgent little apple muffins, somewhere between breakfast and dessert, are an especially sweet way to start the day.
Originally published on September 27, 2012. Updated with recipe photos by Laura Kasavan, of the lovely desserts blog Tutti Dolci.