Hearty, healthy, and satisfying whole wheat muffins filled with sweet apples and plenty of cinnamon spice!
With zero refined sugar, by the way. (!!!)
Yep, I went there. The streak of healthy goodness continues. And guess what? Kevin loved these muffins. Not for one little second realizing that hello… they’re (1) whole wheat, (2) filled with fruit, and (3) not with sugar.
But before I get to the muffins: is it just me or did this week crawl by at a turtle’s pace? Scratch that. More like a snail. Whatever its speed, let’s just all be thankful that the weekend is here and it’s time to warm up and lounge around with healthy apple cinnamon muffins on our plates.
Cold weather necessity right here! ↓
As you’re probably aware, I don’t mess around when it comes to muffins. Especially when it comes to muffins of the healthy variety. Chocolate banana resembling brownies (seriously, have you tried them?), strawberry chocolate chip with shockingly low calorie count, and these skinny banana blueberry muffins that gain all sorts of buzz this time of year. Lightened-up muffins are the peanut butter to my jelly. Sprinkles to my birthday cake. Netflix marathons to my weekends. In short: I can’t live without ’em.
So let me show you a new way to make them, apple cinnamon style.
Today’s muffins are adapted from my simple morning glory muffins, which have all sorts of goodies packed inside like grated apple, grated carrot, raisins, nuts, etc. Thick: carrot cake, but lightened-up. For today’s apple cinnamon version, we’re leaving out the grated carrot and switching up a couple other ingredients. To keep them on the lighter side, I use a mix of applesauce and oil. This way the muffins keep their moist, rich texture but aren’t weighed down with fat. Sometimes I find that replacing all of the fat in muffin recipes results in a rubbery texture. I use melted coconut oil in these, but you can use canola or vegetable instead.
Other healthy superstars: whole wheat flour (yes to that!) and apples. The muffins get a lot of their flavor and sweetness from the grated apples, so I suggest using a sweeter variety. And, of course, a variety you love because you’ll taste a lot of apple. I use Pink Lady or Fuji.
Also inside: pure maple syrup. None of that breakfast syrup stuff! The real deal, for concentrated flavor. Maple syrup in muffins is my new thing. It replaces the need for refined sugar. They aren’t super sweet muffins so if you love the high sugar stuff, you’ll miss the sugar here. A lot of sweetness comes from the apple, so again– that’s why I urge you to use a sweeter variety.
We’ve also got lots of cinnamon, some allspice, and chopped pecans for all sorts of delicious spice and goodness.
You know how whole wheat muffins taste completely uninteresting? You don’t even want to waste your time. Or your calories. That’s not the story here. With all those sweet apple pieces overflowing every bite, the purely magical maple syrup lingering, that robust allspice, the cinnamon swirling, and fat-cutting applesauce… there’s so much to love. In every single warm, snuggly, healthy, unrefined sugary, whole wheat bite. ♥ I just described these as snuggly. And I’m OK with that.
Get those ovens preheated!
Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- 2 cups (226g) whole wheat flour1 (spoon & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (64g) Diamond of California chopped pecans2
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup (160ml) pure maple syrup (not breakfast syrup, the real stuff)3
- 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup (60g) smooth unsweetened applesauce4
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups (240g) shredded/grated apple (about 2 apples)5
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C)6. Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or use cupcake liners. This recipe makes 15 muffins, so prepare a second muffin pan with 3 liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pecans together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, oil, applesauce, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir a few times, then add the grated apple. Fold everything together gently just until combined and no flour pockets remain.
- Spoon the batter into liners, filling them all the way to the top. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 23-24 minutes, give or take. (For mini muffins, bake 11-13 minutes at 350°F (177°C).) Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
- Muffins stay fresh covered at room temperature for a few days, then transfer to the fridge for up to 1 week.
Make ahead tip: For longer storage, freeze muffins for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature or warm up in the microwave if desired.
- 2 cups of white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry flour, or all-purpose flour work too.
- Instead of pecans, try chopped walnuts or even sunflower seeds. Or leave out completely. If using the nuts, feel free to toast them for 10 minutes at 300°F (148°C).
- You can use honey for the maple syrup, but the flavor will be different. Maple works so well with the apple cinnamon!
- Instead of applesauce, use an extra 1/3 cup of oil.
- Use a sweeter variety of apple that you love. I've used Pink Lady and Fuji. Both fantastic in these.
- Why the initial high temperature? The hot burst of air will spring up the top of the muffin quickly, then the inside of the muffin can bake for the remainder of the time. This helps the muffins rise nice and tall.
Using SparkRecipes calculator, these muffins come out to 184 calories, 8g fat, 25g carbs each.
Adapted from Simple Morning Glory Muffins
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Wash them down with a sunshine smoothie. Happy weekend!
I’m working with Diamond of California to bring you today’s recipe. Thank you for helping me work with brands I love!