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Healthy Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins

easy-oatmeal-applesauce-muffins

With a crunchy, sweet cinnamon and oat topping, these applesauce muffins are incredibly moist and delicious. And making them is so easy! All you need is a jar of applesauce and a few other simple ingredients that you most likely already have on hand. They're fantastic for a quick and filling breakfast on the go or as a healthy snack.

This recipe is perfect if you have a lot of applesauce on hand that you need to use up. I decided to make these because I had an open jar in the fridge that I knew I wouldn't finish. Applesauce muffins seemed like the perfect solution, and they turned out amazing! Nothing beats fresh-baked muffins right out of the oven!

These applesauce oatmeal muffins also freeze well. You can make a large batch ahead of time and freeze them for later. Simply thaw them overnight on the counter or heat them in the microwave for about a minute. Another excellent idea is to combine your wet and dry ingredients ahead of time in separate containers. When you're ready to bake the muffins, simply combine the wet and dry ingredients and pour the batter into the muffin pan.

Tips for Baking Applesauce Muffins

  • Do not overmix: When baking muffins, it is very easy to overmix the ingredients, which is probably the most common mistake people make. Overmixing the batter results in dense, tough muffins that do not rise well. Stir the dry and wet ingredients together until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Smaller lumps in the batter are fine.
  • Don't fill the muffin cups: When making muffins, a good rule of thumb is to fill the cups about 3/4 of the way. Fill them a little more if you want extra plump muffins, but don't overfill them. If you fill the muffin cups all the way to the top, you'll get a big sloppy mess.
  • Use silicone baking cups: I love using silicone baking cups for baking muffins! I am not a fan of paper liners because they are difficult to remove from muffins if they are not well greased. And greasing paper liners is not exactly a fun or easy task. You don't have to spray silicone baking cups with oil, and the muffins turn out perfectly every time! Silicone baking cups are affordable and you can reuse them over and over again. The muffins can be baked directly in the muffin pan, but they will turn out slightly crispy on the outside. If you want your muffins to be light and fluffy on the outside, use muffin liners.
  • Do not overcook: This is another common mistake people make when baking muffins. The cooking time provided in this recipe is only a guideline and since ovens can vary, it's a good idea to check on them often. Insert a toothpick into the centre of the muffins to check for doneness. They are finished when the toothpick comes out dry or with only a few moist crumbs on it.
easy-oatmeal-applesauce-muffins
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Ingredients

For the muffins:

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease muffin pan with oil. If you are using paper muffin liners, lightly spray the insides with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients for the muffins (oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt).
  3. In a medium bowl, combine unsweetened applesauce with milk, egg and melted butter.
  4. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. It's okay if the batter is a little lumpy.
  5. To make the topping, combine rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon with softened butter. This works best if the butter is at room temperature. Your topping mixture should be crumbly when it is mixed.
  6. Pour the batter into your muffin pan until the cups are about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the topping mixture over the batter.
  7. Bake for 16 to 20 mins or until a toothpick comes out dry when inserted into the centre of the muffin. The cooking time can vary so check them often. Don't overcook the muffins or they will dry out.
easy-oatmeal-applesauce-muffins

Variations and Substitutions

This applesauce muffin recipe is very versatile and can be made in many different ways. You can make them without the topping for a simpler recipe that still tastes delicious. If you don't really like cinnamon, you can leave it out or cut the amount in half. Use whatever ingredients you have on hand that you think might go well with applesauce muffins. Here are some examples of ingredients that can be substituted or added.

  • White sugar: If you don't have brown sugar on hand, you can substitute white sugar. If you prefer it sweeter, you can add a little more sugar. I didn't add a lot of sugar to this recipe because I don't like really sweet muffins and the applesauce already has natural sugar.
  • Honey: For a healthier option, skip the sugar entirely and replace it with about 1/2 cup of honey. Just keep in mind that if you use honey instead of sugar, you may need to adjust some of the ingredients. This is because you are substituting a wet ingredient for a dry ingredient. If the batter is too runny, add a little more flour to thicken it up.
  • Whole wheat flour: If you want to make the muffins even healthier, use whole wheat flour. Just keep in mind that using whole wheat flour will result in heavier muffins. For that reason, I recommend using only half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose white flour.
  • Nuts: Want more protein? These applesauce muffins are already filling, but they'd be even better with nuts! And they'd be ideal for a quick and filling breakfast that keeps you going for hours. Walnuts or pecans are the best nuts to use in applesauce muffins.
  • Vanilla: Many people would prefer this recipe with a little bit of vanilla added (about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons should be enough). I am not personally a fan of vanilla, which is why I chose not to use it. It is not necessary to use it because there is already so much flavour with the applesauce and cinnamon. If you do like vanilla, however, it would make a very good addition to applesauce muffins.
  • Nutmeg: I skipped this ingredient because I didn't have any on hand. It is not necessary to add nutmeg because they still taste great without it. But if you happen to have some on hand, I'm sure it'd be a great addition as well.
  • Fruit-flavoured applesauce: Another interesting idea would be to use fruit flavoured applesauce, such as strawberry or blueberry. This is something I have yet to try!

How to Store and Freeze Applesauce Muffins

Store these muffins in an airtight container lined with a paper towel. They can be stored at room temperature in a sealed container for up to four or five days. Wrap the muffins individually in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container or large ziplock bag to freeze. They can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Simply remove them from the freezer and leave them on the counter overnight to thaw. Or simply heat one frozen in the microwave for about a minute.

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