If you were to poll a large group of people as to what their favorite fall flavor is you would likely receive one of two answers…pumpkin or apple. Apples not only have a sense of warmth and comfort that equates to fall but they are also in abundance this time of year. Personally, I love both flavors and if polled I would not be able to choose a favorite. Although I could never choose one over the other I will admit that I have been indulging my love of pumpkin more as of late. Almost every day I have been enjoying a pumpkin spice latte with breakfast so when I saw apples on sale at the market it was time to take a pumpkin break. Typically when I think of apples I lean towards my go-to pie and cobbler recipes but this time I sought something different. Being as busy as I am, muffins are a quick and simple way to snack on the go. Keeping that in mind I decided to develop a skinnier version of a typical apple muffin.
Just as I had imagined, these muffins are to die for. Biting into one is like eating a coffee cake hinted with nutty almond and laced with surprise chunks of sweet apple. Although I have named these muffins they are technically cupcakes. The process in which the batter is prepared is the creaming method used for cakes (butter/sugar creamed, eggs/extracts added, followed by the dry and wet ingredients being added alternately, beginning and finishing with the dry ingredients) versus the traditional muffin method. Even though by definition these are cupcakes, the texture is somewhere between a cake and a muffin. They are not quite as light and airy as a cake but they are certainly no where near as dense as a muffin. Outside of texture they assimilate more with muffins than cupcakes. I ultimately deemed them muffins because they are riddled with fruit, have a streusel topping, and lack a thick coating of sweet frosting (outside of the thin drizzle of glaze) like that of muffins.
After preparing these muffins I think the only thing I would change about them is the yield size. I would certainly double the recipe next time so that I have 24 instead of only 12 because they disappeared way to fast for all the labor involved. The actual preparation of the batter, streusel, and glaze is not all that laborious but the tall stack of dirty bowls and utensils the recipe leaves behind sure is. Despite the fact that these muffins are designed to be a skinnier option compared to other muffin recipes, you will likely be tempted to eat more than one, which kind of defeats the purpose. If you want to shave a few more calories you could certainly leave off the glaze and the muffins would still taste fine. I don’t recommend it since there is very little glaze that is actually drizzled on each muffin serving to make that much of a reduction but the difference in taste is noticeable. Just a tiny bit of glaze manages to round out all the flavors perfectly.
Like many of my recent posts, these muffins can be enjoyed as a dessert or at breakfast with coffee or tea. This recipe will produce 12 servings with one muffin being equal to one serving. If you are following Weight Watchers, one muffin is 6 Points or 7 Points Plus.
Skinny Almond Apple Streusel Muffins
- 6.75 oz. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached (about 1 ½ cups)
- ½ tsp. Baking Powder
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
- ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 oz. Neufchatel Cheese (1/3-less-fat cream cheese); softened
- ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
- ½ tsp. Almond Extract
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1 Egg
- ½ cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- ¼ cup 2% Reduced-fat Milk
- 1 Large Gala Apple; finely chopped (1 cup)
- 1 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached
- Cooking Spray
- 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached
- 2 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
- ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; chilled
- 2 tbsp. Sliced Almonds
- ½ cup Confectioners’ Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
- 2 tsp. 2% Reduced-Fat Milk
- ¼ tsp. Almond Extract
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium size bowl combine 6.75 ounces flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir with a whisk until just incorporated. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl) combine the granulated sugar, cream cheese, and ¼ cup butter. Beat the mixture on high-speed until well blended. Add the almond extract, vanilla, and egg and beat with the mixer on medium speed until just combined.
- In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt and ¼ cup milk together until incorporated. In another small bowl, toss the apple with 1 tbsp. flour until apple pieces are evenly covered. With the mixer on low-speed, add the flour mixture and yogurt mixture by alternating until combined. Begin by adding 1/3 of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of the yogurt mixture and beat until just combined. Repeat the process of adding the flour mixture and then the remaining yogurt mixture, being sure to end with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Gently fold the apples into the batter. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.
- In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp. flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender (or fork or 2 knives), cut in the 2 tbsp. of chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the almonds. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the batter in the muffin tin. Bake the muffins for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the tallest muffin comes out almost clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 15 minutes on a wire cooling rack. After 15 minutes remove the muffins from the tin to cool completely.
- While the muffins are cooling prepare the glaze. In a small bowl combine the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and almond extract. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over each cooled muffin and serve.
Weight Watchers: 6 Points or 7 Points Plus