These Delightful Apple Cinnamon Muffins – Gluten Free are downright delicious! Easy, moist, and bursting with flavor, you’ll be sitting on your patio enjoying your new favorite muffin in no time!
Normally, I think of apples in baked goods as a Fall items, but these muffins are light, moist, and perfect for year round indulgence. In a way, just like an apple pie! I presume my inspiration for this recipe had something to do with either sour cream or cinnamon or a bag of Pink Lady Apples. Either way, I’m glad the idea popped into my head!
Which type of apple is best for baking, you may ask? I wanted an apple that held its form, while baking, and yet was soft enough that is wasn’t an impediment to chewing. I found that Pink Lady Apples work wonderfully. These crispy apples hold up well under high heat and don’t get too mushy.
Okay, you caught me… I didn’t specifically pick Pink Lady Apples for baking. They’re the variety of apples we just generally have around the house! Coincidentally, it turns out that Bon Appetit also suggests the varietal in their “The Best 6 Apples for Baking.” If you don’t have Pink Ladies sitting around, don’t worry, Jonagold, Honey Crisp, Braeburns, Mutsu, and Winesap apple varieties hold up just as well!
How To Make That Muffin Top on Your Delightful Apple Cinnamon Muffins – Gluten Free
I discussed this in a few of my other recipes in the past, but I’m happy to go over it once again… The first answer is two words: High Heat. You don’t want to continuously bake at high heat, but the secondary action of your Double Action Baking Powder is heat activated. The quicker you can get your baking powder to start reacting before the batter starts solidifying, the better. It gives the CO2 bubbles being released in the chemical reaction a chance to rise up and leven your baked good.
The second trick is density… Yeah, it sounds counter productive. Won’t a dense batter create a dense muffin? Answer, no… The thinner the batter, the easier it is for those CO2 bubbles to escape. The density of the batter helps trap the gases in, which again, make for a lighter, fluffier muffin.
Spicing It Up
I would consider myself to be a bit of a “spice-o-phile.” My cupboard is full of different spices, usually single ingredient spices, but some blends as well. I’ll usually buy a spice for a particular dish or cuisine that I’m trying to make and eventually incorporate to compliment different dishes. My chili pepper stash, while not absurd, has 10 different chili powders! Each one having a unique flavor profile and level of heat. With little to no effort, I’m sure I could increase that collection substantially, but I’d rather avoid my wife’s death glare!
How does this relate to these Delightful Apple Cinnamon Muffins? It goes back to the prominent spice of these muffins, the cinnamon! And not all cinnamon is created equal! According to King Arthur’s “Cinnamon: A Complete Guide to Types, Flavors, and How to Use,” there are three main varieties of cinnamon that you’ll see in either a grocery or a spice store.
You’ve got Ceylon Cinnamon, which is very mild. You would use Ceylon in something delicate like a pudding to give it just a slight hint of cinnamon. It’s also the cinnamon used in Mexican Hot Chocolate! As you’ll notice a good Mexican Hot Chocolate doesn’t overpower you with cinnamon, there’s just a hint – and Ceylon Cinnamon is the reason!
Cassia Cinnamon is the most common cinnamon in the world. When you go to the grocery store and buy generic cinnamon, this is exactly what you’re purchasing. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just prevalent and readily available. Cassia Cinnamon has a bit more of a woody undertone and is a bit stronger than Ceylon. If too much Cassia is used, it flavors can turn bitter. With origins in China, this cinnamon is a common ingredient in the well-known Chinese Five Spice seasoning!
Saigon Cinnamon is what we use in this Delightful Apple Cinnamon Muffins – Gluten Free recipe! While not as available as Cassia, it’s usually not difficult to find. In fact, Saigon Cinnamon is the bulk cinnamon sold at my favorite store, Costco! Saigon Cinnamon is the cinnamon you want to use when you want a cinnamon-forward recipe! It has the highest percentage volatile oils, which is where you get the bite/kick from. If you’re planning to make cinnamon rolls, you have found your guy!
Tips and Tricks for Delightful Apple Cinnamon Muffins – Gluten Free
- As mentioned above, you don’t have to use Pink Lady Apples, there are a ton of apple varieties you can use!
- If your oven isn’t calibrated and is kind of finicky like mine, reset the temperature immediately upon placing the muffins in the oven (start at 450F)
- Get your phone out and set a timer for 5 minutes! As soon as 5 minutes are up, reduce the heat to 350F!
- Save Some For Later! These muffins freeze very well! You can dethaw them overnight or throw them in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
- Make in Advance! We kept our muffins for three days and they were just as delicious as day one. Keep them covered on a cake plate and avoid laying plastic wrap directly on the muffins. The plastic wrap tends to lock in too much moisture causing your sugar topping to melt.
- I used both yogurt and sour cream. You can substitute either of these 1 for 1.