Cinnamon-Apple Yogurt Muffins

Muffins with the goodness of fresh apples.

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then an apple muffin a day surely must keep nobody away.

Not when it’s full of tender, juicy diced apples, toasty cinnamon and lovely, caramelized brown sugar that’s sure to prompt a near stampede its way.

When a couple of new apples arrived as a sample in the mail, I immediately got the craving for muffins. What can I say? That’s just how I am.

The apples were Pinatas. No, they weren’t full of candy when you cut into them. Indeed, they’re an heirloom varietal that’s available throughout the United States this year for the first time.

Heirloom Pinata apple.

Family-owned Stemilt Growers of Washington state now grow this boutique apple that originated in Germany. The Pinata is crisp and juicy. It has a sweet, mild taste without any sharp tang. It doesn’t brown much after being cut, and it’s ideal for eating out of hand or for baking.

Look for them at Bay Area Raley’s and Safeway stores for about 99 cents to $2.49 a pound.

After looking over a few muffin recipes, I decided to make up my own, using ideas I liked from a few different ones.

I wanted an apple muffin full of apples and nuts. So into the batter went two apples and 1/3 cup of toasted walnuts. Since I didn’t have milk or buttermilk on hand, I used Greek yogurt for moistness and a subtle tang. Since I still have a half full bottle of Calvados in the house, I added a little of that, too, just for fun. But you can easily leave it out if you so want.

For the top, I wanted a little sweetness, but not the usual, thick layer of sugary streusel. I’ve baked muffins before, where after they cooled, I’ve dipped the tops in butter, then rolled them into cinnamon-sugar. This time, I tried sprinkling on a little cinnamon-brown sugar before baking. The mixture bakes into the muffin and creates a very pleasing thin, crackly, caramelized top.

When they emerged from the oven smelling like apple pie in muffin form, my husband waltzed into the kitchen, eager to try one.

After all, these muffins are a surefire way to keep nobody away.


Cinnamon-Apple Yogurt Muffins

(makes 12)

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 medium apples, peeled, cored, quartered, then diced

1/3 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

2 large eggs

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 tablespoons Calvados (optional)

For topping:

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Place cupcake liners inside a 12-cup standard muffin tin.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Add diced apples and walnuts, tossing to coat. Whisk together eggs, yogurt, butter and Calvados (if using) in a small bowl. Gently fold the liquid mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix or muffins will be tough. Divide batter among muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle a little of the mixture over the top of each muffin.

Bake until muffins are brown around edges and spring back when touched, 16 to 18 minutes. Remove muffin pan to a rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Then, turn out muffins onto the wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Or freeze in a plastic container for longer storage.

From Carolyn Jung

More Apple Recipes: Open-Faced Apple Galette with Quince Paste

Still More: Babette Friedman’s Apple Cake

And Another: Gingerbread with Warm Apples and Cider Sabayon

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Date: Monday, 18. January 2010 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Fruit, General, New Products, Recipes (Sweet)

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  1. 1

    These would have me running to the kitchen. The cinnamon-brown sugar topping sound delicious!

  2. 2

    Delicious! Apple, cinnamon, walnuts – I love, love them together… :)

  3. 3

    Fruit in dessert…yum! Apple, walnuts,cinnamon…triple yum!!

  4. 4

    I make muffins all the time, but these are new for me! I am going to add these to my list.

    By the way, what is Calvados??

  5. 5

    Those muffins look delicious and moist! Great flavor combo!



  6. 6

    Jenn: Calvados is a dry apple brandy. Traditionally, it comes from Calvados in the Normandy region of France. But nowadays, you can find it made elsewhere, including in California. It’s good stuff!

  7. 7

    Carolyn, these muffins look delicious. Your photos are beautiful. And lucky me — I have Greek yogurt and Pink Lady apples in the fridge and Calvados in the cupboard. Guess I know what I’ll be doing in the morning! Thanks for sharing.

  8. 8

    Pinata is an outstanding apple–but they are NOT heirlooms. Not even introduced (in Europe, under a different name) until the 1980s.

    That looks like a terrific muffin!

  9. 9

    I’ve never seen those apples around, but my local stores only stock reject apples. Seriously. They all have bruises on them. But the good thing is, they’re super damn cheap!! :-)

    The muffin looks terrific. I might have to bake some for myself, but would regular yogurt work?

  10. 10

    I have exactly two apples left and would love to make these tomorrow morning, yum!!!

  11. 11

    I like how you added some Calvados! I’ve used that before in recipes, and it adds a very nice little bit of tang/tart without overpowering it.

  12. 12

    I love yogurt muffins. Nice recipe and great photos.

  13. 13

    Awesome! I am from WA state—so I cannot wait to try these!!!

  14. 14

    Mm, these sound like pure appley goodness! I love that you included calvados–nice way to kick up the elegance on your muffins! They really have me craving one right now.

  15. 15

    You mean Greek yogurt as in the strained, fat-free stuff? Sounds divine. (And love the butter to cut the unfortunate, fat-free quality of that yogurt!)

  16. 16

    I love this photography! I want to eat them!

  17. 17

    Mark: Nope, low-fat, not non-fat. Hey, gotta have some fat to make ‘em extra good. I’d recommend using like the 2 percent Fage Greek-style yogurt. Or what I used was actually Trader Joe’s low-fat Greek yogurt with a touch of honey in it. ;)

  18. 18

    Yum – simple basic and delicious. A perfect breakfast treat!

  19. 19

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CarolynJung, Stemilt Growers. Stemilt Growers said: RT @CarolynJung: Heirloom Pinata apples available nationwide for the first time. […]

  20. 20

    They look so tender! And I love using yogurt in baked goods, they turn out really moist.


  21. 21

    let it never be said that i passed up a baked good containing apples and cinnamon. this one looks particularly satisfying–hearty and flavorful yet fluffy and light!

  22. 22

    […] Gal’s Cinnamon Apple Yogurt Muffins will fit the bill perfectly if you like your muffins packed full of good things like apple chunks […]

  23. 23

    Hmm, could’ve sworn I had pinata apples last winter, on special at a grocery store back in Maine. I don’t remember where they were grown, though.

  24. 24

    Oh yum! These muffins look amazing!

  25. 25

    […] cinnamon-apple yogurt muffins would be a wonderful morning treat (@ Food […]

  26. 26

    Ooo these sound and look amazing! I love using yogurt in baking.

  27. 27

    mmm they look better than bakery muffins! I wish I had greek yogurt on hand. I wonder if these would work with lowfat yogurt.

  28. 28

    TIA: I would think lowfat yogurt would work. Greek yogurt is just thicker, but I think regular yogurt should be fine. You might even cut back on the amount by just a little — maybe even by an eighth or a quarter cup (that’s just a guess) — since regular yogurt is runnier and more liquidy.

  29. 29

    What if I didn’t use yogurt…..could I just substitute back the buttermilk?

  30. 30

    Eileen O: You can definitely use buttermilk instead of Greek yogurt. You might want to decrease the amount a little, though, since the buttermilk is more liquid-y than the yogurt.

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