These Sparkly Applesauce Muffins are so easy and so good! They’re a perfect treat for transitioning from summer to fall, before everything is truly all pumpkin spice all the time…which will be next week on this website and also everywhere.
The batter is made with ingredients you likely already have at your disposal and comes together in a flash. Divide it into a muffin tin, filling each well up to the top, and then sprinkle on a thick (thick!) layer of sugar and pie spices before sliding them into the oven.
While baking, the muffins will dome dramatically. This is because of the baking powder and baking soda, of course, but also because the oven time begins with a blast of 425F heat that jumpstarts the rise. After five minutes, the temperature is reduced to 375F for the remaining time, yielding tender muffins with the most glorious sparkly, crackled tops!
Once the muffins are cool enough to handle, dig in! You’ll love the simple balance of pie spices and buttery apple flavor, and that’s to say nothing of the textures! The tops are crisp and crunchy, and the insides are sooo soft. Be forewarned that this perfect combination is fleeting, however, as the topping will start to melt in about a day. If you want to keep your applesauce muffins around for longer, bake them without the sugary flourish. There’s no need to miss out entirely though—you can still have the sparkling effect by painting the tops of the cooled muffins with butter and dipping them into the spiced sugar before serving.
I’m all about living in the solution, y’all! Especially when it means there’s a sparkling batch of applesauce muffins on my counter and yours.
Sparkly Applesauce Muffins
makes 12 muffins
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
~2/3 cup milk of choice, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
1 cup (8 ounces) unsweetened applesauce
Preheat oven to 425F. Use muffin liners to line 12 cups in a standard muffin pan (or grease them well). Set aside.
Make the topping. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a liquid measuring cup or small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together vinegar and milk. Set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes, until curdled.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
Whisk eggs into milk mixture one at a time, followed by melted butter and applesauce. Add half the liquid to the dry ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir ingredients together (15 strokes maximum). Add remaining liquid and stir to combine (15 strokes maximum). Batter will be thick.
Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling to the tops. Sprinkle a heaping teaspoon of the topping mixture onto each well of muffin batter. Tap full pan five times on the counter to release any air bubbles.
Bake muffins 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375F and bake another 15-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let muffins cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Serve immediately. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to a day. Sugar topping will degrade over time.