Friday, September 22, 2023

Apple butter crumb muffins


This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible! 

Did you get caught up in fall fever at the apple orchard and now you’re stuck with 20 pounds of apples and you’re not sure what to do with them all? Been there, done that. And I have some ideas on ways to use your apples!

Did you know you can make applesauce by cutting apples into chunks (core apples but keep peels on), sticking them in the microwave, and then blending them in a blender? It doesn’t need to be a multi-hour recipe with a bunch of sugar.

And then you can take some of that applesauce to make apple butter just by simmering it and reducing it on the stove. 

And THEN you can use that apple butter to make the most delicious apple muffins!

A couple of notes before you get started:

1.  There are 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States, but not all of them are great for making applesauce. You want to choose a softer apple with flesh that breaks down easily, like fuji, cortland, or McIntosh.

2. You can absolutely add spices and sugar to your applesauce or apple butter if you want! 

3. I was able to blend the apples without adding any extra liquid to the blender. I had to stop and stir the mixture a few times, but eventually it all blended. If your apples aren't very juicy or if you don't have a high-powered blender, you may need to add a little liquid. I recommend apple cider or apple juice if possible, and start with just a tablespoon of liquid, increasing the amount if necessary.

4. Nappe is a term used to describe the thickness and consistency of a sauce. A sauce is nappe when you can coat the back of a spoon and draw a line through the sauce with your finger. The sauce shouldn't move. That's the consistency you want for your apple butter.

5. The amount of apple butter yielded from a certain amount of applesauce will depend on how much liquid evaporates from the sauce and how long you simmer it. So it may not be the same amount each time.

6. I've made the muffins with and without the crumb topping, and I think they're much better with a crumb topping. It adds a lot of texture, and it really jazzes them up. You could also try adding nuts to the muffin batter for texture.

7. You don't want the crumb topping to be a paste. Make sure it looks clumpy. I recommend using Challenge Salted Caramel Butter Snack Spread in the crumb topping. It's the perfect consistency when used straight from the refrigerator, and it gives the muffins an extra flavor boost.

Blender applesauce 

Yield: Makes about 20 ounces applesauce

Time: 20 minutes


  • 2 pounds apples (soft variety like fuji, cortland, or McIntosh)


  1. Microwave apples in microwave-safe bowl with lid for 10 to 15 minutes, or until apples are easily pierced.
  2. Transfer apples with juices to high-speed blender. Blend until desired consistency. If necessary, add apple juice or apple cider, 1 spoonful at a time, until blender runs.

Apple butter

Yield: Makes about 12 ounces apple butter

Time: 20 minutes


  • 20 ounces applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, if desired


  1. Bring applesauce to simmer in large pot. Continue to simmer over low-medium heat for 15 - 20 minutes.
  2. Check doneness by using spoon to draw line through apple butter on bottom of pot. Apple butter is done if line holds.

Apple butter crumb muffins

Yield: Makes 12 muffins

Time: About 45 minutes


For the crumb topping

For the muffin batter

  • 3/4 cup / 90 grams all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup / 90 grams whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup / 240 milliliters apple butter
  • 1/2 cup / 113 grams butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup / 105 grams dark brown sugar 
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the crumb topping

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 12-count muffin pan with liners. Set aside. 
  2. Mix together flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Use fork to mix in butter until you have large crumbles. Set aside.

For the muffin batter

  1. In large bowl, mix together both flours, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and nutmeg.
  2. In medium bowl, mix apple butter, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly into each liner. Spoon crumb topping evenly over batter, gently pressing down.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, then with muffins still in oven, reduce temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for another 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
  6. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes pan before transferring to wire rack.


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