Get Your Mixing Bowls Ready: Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

Moist apple pumpkin muffins crowned with a walnut half.

There are muffins these days that could double as dessert.

You know the ones I mean — the ones we all fall for because they’re covered in irresistible streusel or sugary glaze that we con ourselves into thinking are still perfect breakfast food.

These are not those kinds of muffins.

“Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins” are not overly sweet, especially because I was forced to cut the light brown sugar amount in half when I realized my box was nearly depleted and I was too lazy to run to the store. (Hey, what can I say?) But you can use the full 1/2 cup measure of brown sugar plus 1/2 cup granulated and they’d still be far from sugar bombs.

Pinata apples from Washington State.

The recipe is from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” (W.W. Norton & Company) by Amy Traverso. The book, of which I received a review copy, has become my go-to source for apple recipes, what with its range from savory apple uses (“Duck Panzanella with Apples and Thyme” to sweet ones (“Rustic Apple Brown Betty”).

I used a Pinata apple from Washington State for this recipe. The apple variety, of which I received a sample, is a cross between the Golden Delicious and two heirloom varieties from Europe: Cox’s Orange Pippin and Duchess of Oldenburg. It has a thin skin and a great crunch to it. The flavor is sweet with a slight pineapple note to it. The apples are now available at Mollie Stone’s. Safeway also will be carrying them in February. They retail for about $1.99 per pound.

The muffins are moist, tender treats with the homey taste of pumpkin, apples, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and walnuts.

They make for a perfect way to start the morning.

So, if you still have a can of pumpkin puree lurking in your cupboard from the holidays, dig it out. Go on.

With a cup of tea or coffee, you're good to go with one of these.

Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

(Makes 15 standard size muffins)

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (or you can use only 1/4 cup, too, if you prefer a less sweet muffin)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

2 large eggs

1/2 cup walnut oil or vegetable oil

1 large firm-sweet apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

15 walnut halves for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners or grease with butter. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and cloves. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, apple, chopped walnuts, and vanilla.

Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine (do not overmix). At this point, you can refrigerate the batter until the next day, if you wish. If not, divide the batter among the 15 muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full, and top each with a walnut half if desired. Bake until muffins are puffed and golden and a cake tester comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let muffins cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then serve warm.

Adapted from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” by Amy Traverso

Other Amy Traverso recipes: Apple-Stuffed Biscuit Buns

And: Apple Brownies

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  • Those would make a wonderful treat for health-conscious people!



  • Oh, I didn’t really get my pumpkin fix during the holidays (alas, only had one pumpkin pie, not enough!) so this makes me happy this morning! I’m going to try this soon!

  • I’m a sucker for anything with apple and pumpkin – always a winning combination. πŸ™‚

  • I have a can of Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin (the only ingredient listed is pumpkin, nothing else). Is this the same as pumpkin puree?

    Thank you in advance! I love all your posts, online and when you were with SJM

  • Although most muffins are delish, you’re right that they’re more dessert than breakfast. Which is why I don’t eat them for breakfast anymore. Too bad, because they’re a handy little packet of energy and satisfaction. These, however, look perfect for breakfast! Not too sweet, and pumpkin is such a fun flavor. Plus the apple helps keep the doctor away, yes? (You know, an apple a day . . .). Good stuff – thanks.

  • Thanks, Carolyn! I’m so glad you liked these…

  • The combination of pumpkin and apple sounds really good! Both have slightly sweet and it sounds very healthy too! I would love to have this for breakfast!

  • These look wonderful. I’m glad to hear that they are not overly sweet. πŸ™‚ Those spices go so well with apples. I can’t wait to try these breakfast treats!

  • it’s not time to put away the pumpkin quite yet! these sound yummy, carolyn.

  • Cindy: Yes, “pure pumpkin” is the same as “pumpkin puree.” What you want to stay away from is “pumpkin pie filling” in a can, which is pumpkin puree that already has spices mixed into it. Most bakers would prefer to add their own spices, varying the type and quantity to the recipe they’re using. Hope that helps. Happy baking!

  • I just made these and they are SOOOOO good! I baked them right before dinner and I think I spoiled my dinner cause I can’t stop eating them! So good. It’s a cold, foggy day on the central coast and these were perfect! Thanks! Tagged to my favorites on food gawker.

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