What can possibly be better than the smell of apple muffins baking with the incredible smell of fall spices; cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg? The taste!
Don't be discouraged by the simplicity of this recipe because it is absolutely "to die for". I have split the entire process into three sections, in order of preparation. First is the cream cheese filling, next is the applesauce muffins and finally the crumble topping. Everything bakes together in the oven at the end. Make sure you use only those ingredients listed for each section.
PREP TIME: 20 Minutes | COOK TIME: 25 Minutes | MAKES: 2-Dozen (24) Muffins
CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups applesauce
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons butter (very cold, cut into small cubes)
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
First, we create the cream cheese filling. In a bowl, add together the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar and mix very well (recommend a stand or hand mixer). Roll the mixture into a log and wrap in plastic. Place in the freezer while moving on to the next steps to allow it to chill. The filling is now complete.
Next, we make the muffin batter. In a large bowl, mix the softened butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix well. Then, stir in the applesauce.
In another bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients for the muffin batter (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg). Then, combine into the creamy applesauce mixture and mix well. The muffin batter is now complete.
Fill greased muffin pans (or paper-lined muffin cups) ONLY HALF-WAY full with batter.
Now, we make the crumble topping. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter cubes (cold) with a strong spoon. After mixing for a while, you may use your hands if you are having dificulties, but only for a short time because you want the butter to stay cold. Remember, this is crumble and not meant to be a smooth mixture. Finally, stir the chopped walnuts into your crumble mixture. The topping is now complete.
Remove the cream cheese filling from the freezer and drop at least a teaspoon into each muffin in your pan.
Fill the rest of the muffins up with your applesauce batter mixture so each one is about 3/4 full.
Sprinkle the crumble topping on top of each, covering the batter mixture.
Bake the muffins 350° for 22-26 minutes. It can be a little tricky to know if it is done using a toothpick because of the cream cheese filling, so plan to poke them multiple times and at an angle to test the areas around the filling. Let stand for 5 minutes, remove from pans and place on wire cooling racks.