Caramel-Apple Streusel Muffins

I think I’m finally ready to concede that summer is over. Fall was most definitely in the air this weekend. For the first time in months, we were able to turn the a/c off and sleep with the windows open! I always look forward to that small period of time where it’s cool enough not to require a/c, but not so cool we need the heat. Waking up to the crisp fall breeze blowing in the windows just makes me want to pull the blankets a little tighter and hit snooze over and over. And that’s especially true now that the sun is rising so much later – it feels like the middle of the night for the first hour I’m up lately!

Caramel-Apple Streusel Muffins

On the plus side, it’s full steam ahead on the fall baking in my kitchen! Despite being cool, it was so sunny this weekend. Absolutely perfect weather for apple picking, and I so wanted to go! But I know I’ll go overboard and come home with 10 pounds of apples, which will be impossible to use up before we leave for vacation in a week. You can bet a trip to the orchard is the first thing on my agenda when we get home :)

Caramel-Apple Streusel Muffins

Luckily the grocery stores already have some great local apples, which is nearly as good. I stocked up last week and haven’t stopped baking since. So many great apple recipes to share with you guys in the coming weeks, I can’t wait!

Caramel-Apple Streusel Muffins

I had to start with these caramel-apple streusel muffins, there was no doubt about it. These muffins are packed with fall goodness! From the warm cinnamon to the chunks of tart apples, the gooey caramel pieces, and the sweet streusel topping, there’s a delicious surprise in every bite. It’s kind of like eating a caramel apple, but in breakfast form :) These really are best when they’re warm and the caramel is ooey gooey, so if you serve on subsequent days, pop them in the microwave briefly first.

For years my favorite fall muffins have been pumpkin cream cheese, but they now have some serious competition from this caramel-apple streusel muffin recipe!

Caramel-Apple Streusel Muffins

Caramel-Apple Streusel Muffins
muffin adapted from Taste of Home

{Note: I used the wrapped square caramels made by Kraft for this recipe. I cut each caramel into 4 pieces before incorporating in the muffins.}

Streusel Topping
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup milk (I used whole), at room temperature
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
heaping 1/2 cup peeled and diced Granny Smith apple (1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces)
12 caramels, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

To make the streusel: in a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside while you make the muffins.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla together in a liquid measuring cup. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until moistened. Fold in the apples and caramel pieces until evenly distributed.

Divide the batter evenly among the liners, filling each about 3/4-full. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the muffin batter.

Bake the muffins for about 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes, then remove from the pan to the rack. The muffins are best served warm. You can reheat them in the microwave for 10 seconds to enjoy on subsequent days.

Makes 12-14 muffins