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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Blueberry Muffins (That Actually Rise!)

I have spent many weekend mornings making muffins. Usually I bake them with oats and wholewheat, but this past weekend I wanted to make a muffin that rose and billowed upwards towards the sky! So I knew I needed to rely on my good friends, all-purpose flour and baking powder. These are the best rising blueberry muffins I have ever made. I have also made these muffins with strawberries and mangos. Whatever fruit you have. I recommend fresh fruit, not frozen, with this recipe (but have made them with both, you certainly could go for it).

blueberry muffins

I ran out of muffin liners, so I just used some parchment paper in the muffin pan. If you are out of muffin liners, do not simply spray the muffin pan, as these muffins will still stick. I have done this, and it’s a mess and you’ll be sad because your pretty muffins will be destroyed as you try to excavate them.

To use parchment paper instead of muffin liners, cut the parchment paper into squares, and then fold it into the pan. There is a photo of mine a few photos below. The bigger the squares, the more parchment paper you will see. If you pour your muffins very carefully (which I did not in this instance) you can even use parchment paper to make the muffins look fancier. UPDATE: If you use parchment paper, be sure to spray the pan with nonstick spray first, before you put the parchment paper in, as this will help the pieces stay in place while you fill them! :)  To pour muffins into your liners carefully here is the method I have used before:  

pipe muffin batter

pipe the muffin batter

Pour the batter into a ziploc bag. Then just pull the bag out, cut the corner, and essentially pipe your muffin batter into the liners.  

muffin batter in parchment paper

These blueberry muffins can be frozen and defrosted throughout the week.  

blueberry muffins

Blueberry Muffins That Rise!
Moist and billowy blueberry muffins. Perfect for a slow morning with coffee, or to simply grab on-the-go as you're headed out the door.
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  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  9. 1/2 cup milk
  10. 2-1/4 cups fresh blueberries (or any fruit you have!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. When you measure the flour, be sure to measure with a light hand. I usually stir the flour in the jar before I measure. If you don't, you may be chronically over measuring flour, which was something I did in the past before I researched.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed to combine. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick.
  6. Add the berries to the batter and gently hand mix until evenly distributed. Again, do not overmix.
  7. Scoop the batter (or pipe it!) into the muffin tin. The muffin cups will be very full which is great.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly golden. Stick with a toothpick to see if it's done. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 15 minutes and then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool completely.
Adapted from Once Upon a Chef
Adapted from Once Upon a Chef
Kara the Cook

Happy baking!

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