One of my favorite comfort foods is fresh-from-the-oven muffins. But I find the muffin is often misunderstood, so I rarely order them at bakeries.
Too often muffins are bland cakes disguised with frozen fruit and overly sweet crumb topping. So when my baker daughter tried her hand at a banana streusel variety, I had low expectations—not because of her skills, but regarding the integrity of the recipe.
I should have known better. The recipe came from my latest cookbook purchase, The SoNo Bakery Company Cookbook, written by the founder of the bakery John Barricelli. And it was delicious. The muffin was heavy and moist with bananas, the streusel topping adding a sweet crunch. I don’t think it was even two weeks before we begged her to make them again.
But with an abundance of apples on my counter, I started thinking about tweaking the recipe to marry two of my favorite flavors into one perfect muffin. And the Caramel Apple Streusel Muffin was born. If only the internet could convey kitchen aromas…
A few tips:
- Use foil muffin liners, NOT paper. The caramel will stick.
- Spray the top of the muffin tin so the edges of the muffins will release easily.
- Don’t used too many caramels or they will sink and leave holes in your muffins.
- Try not to eat more than two at a time.
Caramel Apple Streusel Muffins
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups apples about 2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
- 18 Kraft caramels unwrapped and quartered
- 3/4 cup sour cream or whole-milk yogurt
- Make the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cinnamon. Add the 1/4 cup cubes of butter, and using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, work it into the dry ingredients until pea-size crumbs form; set aside in the refrigerator.
- Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with FOIL liners; set aside.
- Make the muffins: In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 1/2 cup butter, sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Then add in and beat the vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, beating until the flour is absorbed. Beat in the sour cream. Fold in the apples and caramels.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (fills 12-16 muffin cups). Sprinkle the streusel topping over the muffins, pressing some of the mixture into pea-size clumps with your fingertips, for added texture.
- Bake, rotating the pan about two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the tops of the muffins spring back when touched and a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean (with maybe a little caramel on it), 18 to 22 minutes.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Loosen muffins from the pan carefully and transfer to another wire rack to cook, or eat them while the caramel is gooey!
Spray top of the muffin pan so muffin tops don't stick.