Just a simple cozy muffin recipe to share today. I've been making so much pumpkin stuff lately around here that I decided to give it a break and make something my husband would enjoy as well (since he's oddly not a pumpkin fan -- boo!). What he does love is apples, so I thought to make an apple muffins recipe as a token of appreciation for putting up with all the pumpkin and banana desserts he doesn't touch :P
Well, these simple applesauce muffins came out very tasty. I absolutely love their texture -- so fluffy and bready, and their delicious sweet and lightly crisp muffin top is the best part. And for all that, these little muffins are vegan (of course), gluten-free, and oil-free as well. They can easily be made nut-free too.
I threw in some walnuts for crunch, and because I love sweet apples with walnuts. But if you prefer, feel free to use another nut of your choice, or a seed if you prefer to keep these nut-free. Or you can skip the nuts altogether and use some kind of dried fruit instead, like raisins, or dried cranberries.
And speaking of those, I so wish I had some dried cranberries on hand while making these because apples + walnuts + cranberries is one of the best things that can happen to a muffin in my opinion :) But I had to go without because my pantry was so empty after all a bit of a baking spree. If you've got some on hand, toss them in.
My husband also said in retrospect he would have liked this apple muffin recipe even better if it had chopped apples in it. One of his favorite things that I used to bake ages ago was an apple bread with apple chunks, and apple cinnamon buns... I thought it was a good idea, so added that to the suggested fold-ins. Halved fresh cranberries could do well in here too if you've got any on hand.
Oh, and you can also of course use something like this homemade applesauce if you prefer. And last but not least, if you're not in an applesauce muffins mood, and are not too tired of pumpkin yet (I know I never will be), you might enjoy these pumpkin muffins instead -- it's a similar recipe, and happens to be my favorite muffin!
I sort of like the muffins with more dry add-ins because then they're more bready (extremely bready for gluten-free muffins, actually) and are so delicious with a pat of non-dairy butter or jam.
Back to muffin business, in the recipe instructions I mentioned how you can top the muffins just to the top of the liner. That will produce cute little pudgy muffins (as you can see in the photo above). They're neat, and pretty, and very snackable that way.
If, however, you want more muffin top, because those crispy delicious sweet edges you see in the photo below are super scrumptious, you can top up the muffins a little higher in the center. They'll spread out and won't be as pretty to look at (consider yourself warned haha) but that extra muffin top might be what you want nonetheless ;) So your call.
The number of muffins you get will depend on how you fill them of course.
Walnut Applesauce Muffins
These vegan, oil-free, and gluten-free muffins are a breeze to make and have a delicious fluffy bready texture and sweet and crunchy muffin top. Can easily be made nut-free as well if desired.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 8-10 muffins
- Category: Muffins
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Breakfast
- 1 ½ cups instant/quick oats (gluten-free)
- ¼ cup buckwheat flour*
- 2 tbsp potato starch**
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder (gluten-free)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp of the following spices: cloves, nutmeg, allspice***
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp unsulphured blackstrap molasses
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup walnuts halves, chopped****
- other options: chopped apples, raisins, cranberries, etc. (see notes if using)****
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tray with silicone cupcake liners, or grease the tray well with a bit of oil or non-dairy butter instead if you prefer. Set aside.
2. Briefly process all dry ingredients in a food processor to combine into a flour.
3. Add wet ingredients and process again to combine the mixture into a batter.
4. Add the fold-ins and pulse a few times briefly just to incorporate them into the batter (be careful not to process too much as you don't want them to blend into the batter).
5. Scoop the batter into prepared muffin pan (Note: if you want small rounded muffins, fill just to the top. If you prefer a larger crunchier muffin top, top the muffin mixture up a little higher than the liner. The number of muffins you get depends on how high you top each muffin tray cup).
6. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 1 hour (bake for an additional 5 mins if using fresh fruit, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out dry). Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack, then enjoy!
*Can also use rice flour instead (as I've done in this muffin recipe). Other grain-based flours will likely work well as well.
**Can alternatively use tapioca starch, arrowroot, or corn starch.
***Or if you prefer to skip these spices, feel free to just add an additional teaspoon of cinnamon instead.
****If you're planning on using fresh fruit fold-ins, such as apples or cranberries, I recommend only using ½ a cup, and reducing the walnuts to ½ a cup as well. Too much fresh fruit can make the consistency a bit mushy. If using dry fruit, like dried cranberries or raisins, a small amount can be added in addition to the walnuts (like ¼ cup), or in place of some of the walnuts (say ½ cup dried fruit, ½ cup walnuts, or a ratio of your choosing). Alternatively, of course can use other nuts or seeds in place of walnuts, if preferred.
Keywords: applesauce muffins with walnuts (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)
Just wanted to pop in and say THANK YOU for this wonderful recipe. I made it for my mum and sis, both notoriously picky eaters, and the smell from the oven was so good they were grabbing for them before I could even flip them out of the pan to cool. I modified with Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Flour, and subbed half the applesauce for mashed bananas. I also added some dried apricots as toppings. They'd only been out of the oven for 20 minutes before half of them were gone. Amazing recipe, I can't say how I appreciate your wonderful blog and insight on gluten-free baking.
Hi Maggie, so happy you all enjoyed these. I love all your substitutions and additions -- thank you for sharing what worked for you, and for the lovely feedback! :)
Will the recipe still works if I reduce the maple syrup or replace with something else? It’s expensive at my side of the work and I’m worried if it’s too sweet for toddler.
Many thanks x
Hi Yi, is there a liquid sweetener that's more affordable locally for you? For example, rice syrup or coconut syrup, agave syrup, etc.? You could just use that instead or do a bit of maple and a bit of another sweetener (maple adds a lovely taste, but other sweeteners should work just fine too).
As for lessening the sweetener amount, to be honest, I haven't tried and with baked recipes it's a little tricky to offer hypothetical advice sometimes (as opposed to with my no-bake recipes). However, if I were to try and reduce sweetness, I'd add a bit more applesauce and perhaps even a bit of oil (if you're ok with cooking oils) to offset some of the liquid loss and viscosity if you're reducing the syrup. I suspect you can reduce it some no problem. If you give it a go, would love to hear what worked for you :)
Sarah Gregory says
This recipe was surprisingly wonderful - I didn’t have the molasses, just used maple syrup. I was also not brave or patient enough to wait an hour, but took them out of the oven after 40 minutes. They were perfect and definitely kid approved as well!
Hi Sarah, thanks so much for sharing -- I'm glad you enjoyed them and good to know they worked for you with a shorter baking time.
In the uk applesauce is hard to find. Can I make my own?
Also what are blackstrap molasses ? Any dupes ?! 😬
Hi Emma. I have a recipe for it on my blog actually :) https://www.unconventionalbaker.com/diy-gf-vegan-and-paleo-applesauce-recipe/
A UK blogging pal once mentioned to me that it's traditional in the UK to eat pork with applesauce (sort of how people serve cranberry sauce with turkey at Thanksgiving). I wonder if it can be found in an aisle close to meats there?
Either way, making your own apple sauce is pretty straight forward.
Blackstrap molasses is a form of sugar, but very nutrient dense and has a malty sort of flavor. It's usually sold in the baking aisle, though I prefer to get mine at health food shops or online since I prefer the unsulphured kind. I linked to the brand I usually use in the recipe above so you can see what it looks like. In this recipe I used molasses to add a deeper and richer flavor to the muffins, but if you prefer you can use just use a bit more maple syrup instead.