Secret Ingredient Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Almond Glaze

apple cinnamon muffins

What is the secret ingredient to these Apple Cinnamon Muffins? 

almond glaze

It’s the same secret ingredient I use for chewy & soft chocolate chip cookies: cream cheese! Let’s face it. Cream cheese basically makes anything better. 

moist muffins

Today I went to Penzey’s Spice and picked up some specialty cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and almond extract. In return, these muffins filled my kitchen with the rich, warm flavors of poignant cinnamon and nutmeg. Grate fresh nutmeg if you can!

apple cinnamon muffins

Secret Ingredient Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Almond Glaze
Apple cinnamon muffins made moist and rich with a bit of cream cheese. Finished with a cinnamon crumble top and light and airy almond drizzle glaze.
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Homemade Brown Sugar
  1. 1 cup granulated white sugar
  2. 1 tbsp molasses
Cinnamon Crumb Topping
  1. 1/3 cup homemade brown sugar
  2. 1 Tablespoon granulated white sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  5. 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (+ a bit more, to desired texture)
  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  2. 1/2 cup homemade brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened to room temp
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted if you are extra ambitious
  8. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  10. 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  11. 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly grated if you can!)
  12. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  13. 1/8 cup milk
  14. 1 and 1/2 cups chopped apples (2 small apples, different flavors if you want)
  1. 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  2. 1.5 tbsp milk
  3. 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Make the homemade brown sugar, to be used in the muffins and the cinnamon crumb topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) combine 1 cup of granulated white sugar with 1 tbsp of molasses. Continue mixing until they are thoroughly combined. You will know you are finished because it will look just like brown sugar. You may need to stop mixing and use your hands to press apart the lumps of molasses, and then continue mixing. Don't give up until it's light and fluffy. :)
  2. Make the crumb topping, to be used on the muffins: In a medium bowl, combine 1/3 cup homemade brown sugar, 1 tbsp granulated white sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour. Use a spatula or a spoon to stir. The crumb topping should be thick and crumbly. I ended up adding maybe a tablespoon additional of flour with my hands. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray and line with muffin liners. See below for what to do if you don't have muffin liners.
  4. Make the muffins! In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), beat the 1/2 cup unsalted butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup homemade brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Beat on high until creamed, 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you need.
  5. Add 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup cream cheese, and 2 tsp of vanilla extract. Beat on medium 5-7+ minutes, until they are combined and uniform in texture. There should be very few lumps of cream cheese, though their might be a few. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. In a large bowl toss together 1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp salt.
  7. In a large bowl, toss together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and slowly mix with a whisk, add the milk, just until combined. Fold in the apples with a spatula, just until combined.
  8. Spoon the muffin batter evenly between the 12 tins.
  9. Press a handful of the crumb topping into the top of each, it's okay to press it down a bit, you want to make sure it stays.
  10. Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F degrees, then keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C) and bake for 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Let the muffins cool completely.
  12. Make the glaze: whisk all of the ingredients together and drizzle over muffins.
  13. Eat the muffins!
  1. Store the muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for 4-5 days. Make sure they are completely cool before you put them in the airtight container. Freezing them is another option, simply freeze, defrost, and serve.
Kara the Cook
If you run out of muffin liners, you can always use parchment paper like I did. I notoriously forget to buy muffin liners. (And I have actually just now, with these muffins, ran out of parchment paper.) Check out my favorite blueberry muffins here for more details on using parchment paper, as well as a tip on piping batter into the muffin liners! 

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but these apple cinnamon muffins have me thinking about apple orchards and pumpkin spice…fall is coming…

Happy baking + almost time to pull out the plaid! xoxo

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