Scrumptious Chocolate Muffins chock-full of Caramel and tart Apples. Finished with a delectable Chocolate Crumb Topping. Yassss!
Welcome back, everyone. Are you ready for the first fall weekend of the year? Do you have anything fun planned?
Adam and I were planning on hitting the trails at a State Park in northern Minnesota this weekend to take in the fall foliage, but it looks like we’ll be waiting another week or so. Because the weather through all of September has been absolutely beautiful here. Warm, sunny and picture-perfect, really. One wouldn’t even know fall has officially arrived by walking outside. I can’t remember leaving the house in a t-shirt and shorts this late in September since like forever. While we’re anxiously awaiting the fall colors to arrive, I am more than happy to spend yet another weekend soaking in the sun and pretending that summer is never going to end.
Yes, I adore all things summer, but that doesn’t mean that I am not craving the best fall has to offer. Pumpkin spice lattes (Dunkin Donuts’ are the bomb), fall-scented candles, layering clothes and wearing boots, fresh apples and pumpkins… I could go on and on. Oh, and don’t forget about the food. Comforting, hearty, warm and oh so satisfying.
To be honest, I’ve been dreaming of the amazing food creations for months now. The muffins you see here were swirling around my head for so long – I’m BEYOND pumped to finally get to share them with you today!
I basically wanted to squeeze as many fall flavors into one stunning muffin as I possibly could. Somewhere along the lines I kept coming back to caramel apples. And have since been obsessed with merging said yummy apples with an ultra fudgy muffin. The result? Absolutely mind-boggling. In the best way possible.
Once I prepared the perfect batter (just the right amount for 12 muffins), I was ready to add the chopped tart apples. Not that I was going for light & healthy, but the use of fresh apples actually allowed me to cut down on the oil use in the recipe. Love!
When it come to the gooey caramel center, I found it best to use actual caramel squares. You can also use chocolate-covered caramel candies (like Rolos), but the gooey center effect won’t be quite as dramatic. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way here, but just wanted to give you a heads up.
Right before the muffins are ready to meet the oven, comes the sprinkling of the crumb topping. This was my first time making a chocolate crumb version. I have absolutely no idea why in the world it took me so long to add chocolate to my beloved crumble, but I sure am glad I finally did. It’s everything I’d imagined it to be, especially when topped with caramel bits, salted caramel, mini chocolate chips, and more melted chocolate. Whoa!
Our weekend is looking delicious already. Hope yours is too!
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate, melted
- 2/3 cup peeled and finely chopped apples (I used Granny Smith)
- 12 caramels
- 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate, melted (for decorating)
- salted caramel sauce (for decorating)
- flaky sea salt (for decorating)
- caramel bits (for decorating)
- mini chocolate chips (for decorating)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners.
- 1. Start by preparing the crumb topping. In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, oats, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Cut in cold butter until crumbs form. Place in the fridge while you prepare the muffins.
- 2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together flour, cocoa, sugars, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, and salt. Mix until combined.
- Add the egg, and milk and mix until combined. Add oil and vanilla bean paste and mix until incorporated and a smooth batter forms. Mix in melted chocolate until just combined. Remove bowl and fold in chopped apples.
- 3. Fill muffin cups with batter until 1/2 full. Top with a caramel square (or other caramel candy) and fill muffin cups with the remaining batter (each one should be 3/4 full). Divide crumb topping between the 12 muffins and place in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted on the side comes out clean. Remove from the muffin pan and let cool on wire racks. Drizzle with melted chocolate, salted caramel sauce, flaky sea salt, caramel bits and mini chocolate chips - if desired. Let stand until set. Enjoy!