Caramel Apple Muffins with Pecan Streusel

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I think I mentioned previously, as I work through re-posting all of the original site recipes I’m frequently taking the time to review, revise, and in many cases, re-bake the recipes. In some cases, there is more than 15 years of baking experience between the original post and now. This is one of those recipes and, I have to tell you, I think past-me made some errors. This is a new and improved version of the recipe – the basic ingredients have not changed, but some of the methods and the ratios of those ingredients have.

In the original recipe, the ratio of liquid to flour was too high, especially with the fresh apples being folded in. The result was a batter much thinner than you would expect for a muffin and they failed to rise into the classic muffin top. There were also a few unnecessary complications in the original recipe, making me wonder if I had set a goal for myself to use every mixing bowl in my kitchen! While there are still several bowls dirtied by this new version of the recipe, trust me, it has been significantly reduced.

Another thing anyone with some baking experience might notice about this recipe is that the methods for combining the ingredients are much more like a cake recipe than a muffin recipe even while keeping (most of) the ratios in line with a muffin. This was true of the original recipe and I decided to keep that quirk in the revision. Specifically, I’m referring to using the creaming method and whipping the egg whites separately to fold in at the end. Both of these methods incorporate more air into the mix than is typical for a muffin, resulting in a lighter, fluffier texture. And to be honest, the sugar ratio is a bit higher than typical in a muffin (due to the addition of the caramel sauce) so you might think of these as a kind of cake/muffin hybrid.

The last thing I would like to call attention to is the yield of this recipe – it is what most people would consider a double batch of muffins, 24 rather than 12. This goes back to the ratios again. The recipe calls for 3 eggs so to make one dozen muffins you would need to use 1 1/2 eggs which is just not something you do as a base requirement of a recipe. If you, like me, have only a single standard muffin tin, do not despair – you can still enjoy this recipe and you do not need to do any magical division of whole eggs to do it. Prepare your single standard muffin tin as directed in the recipe and also an 8×4 inch loaf pan instead of the second muffin tin.

Caramel Apple Loaf with Pecan Streusel

The loaf will take significantly longer to bake, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes and you may need to shield the top with some tented foil to avoid over browning. Check on the loaf at about the 1 hour mark, or even slightly before to avoid overbaking. In the end, the loaf might be slightly denser than the muffins, but it is just as tender, moist, delicious and full of caramel, apple and spice flavors.

Caramel Apple Muffin with Pecan Streusel

Caramel Apple Muffins with Pecan Streusel

These muffins are light and moist with flavors reminiscent of caramel apples at the fair. They are a perfectly sweet way to break your fast.
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Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple, bread, caramel, cinnamon, loaf, muffin, pecan, quick bread, streusel
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 48 minutes
Servings: 24 muffin


Pecan Streusel Topping

  • 1/4 cup pecans chopped and toasted
  • 1/4 cup flour all-purpose
  • 3 tablespoon butter cold, diced
  • 3 tablespoon quick oats
  • 3 tablespoon brown sugar packed
  • 3 tablespoon sugar granulated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  • 2 3/4 cup flour white whole wheat
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 1/2 cup apple diced and tossed with 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 3/4 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs large, separated


  • Preheat oven to 425°F and grease 2 standard muffin tins (12 cups each) or line with paper muffin cups.
  • Place all of the ingredients for the pecan streusel topping in a medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers mix the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a mixture resembling coarse crumbs. Set aside. (Note: you can also use a small food processor/mini chopper)
    1/4 cup pecans, 1/4 cup flour, 3 tablespoon butter, 3 tablespoon quick oats, 3 tablespoon brown sugar, 3 tablespoon sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cloves
    2 3/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • In a medium bowl mix together the sour cream, caramel topping, and vanilla; set aside.
    3/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup caramel topping, 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together 1/2 cup brown sugar and the butter.
    3/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Beat in egg yolks one at a time, mixing completely after each addition.
    3 eggs
  • Set your mixer on low and alternate adding flour and caramel mixtures. Mix just until combined; do not over mix – some small dry pockets, lumps or streaks of flour are expected at this stage.
  • In as few strokes as possible, fold in the apple and flour mixture.
    1 1/2 cup apple
  • In another bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue beating while gradually adding the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until stiff and glossy.
    3 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar
  • Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Gently fold in the remainder of the egg whites just until no white streaks remain.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins filling about 3/4 full, leaving just enough room for the streusel topping.
  • Sprinkle about 1 tbsp of streusel topping over the batter in each cup.
  • Place the pans in the heated oven for 5 minutes. Then, without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 350°F and back for an additional 16-18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  • Store in a sealed container.


Greek yogurt or butter milk may be substituted for the sour cream.
For a simpler version of the recipe, add whole eggs to the creamed butter and sugar mixture.  This avoids the need to separately whip the egg whites and fold them in, but the texture of the muffins will be a bit less fluffy.

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