Food

Cinnamon-Apple Spelt Muffins for Fall

Cinnamon-Apple Spelt Muffins for Fall

I woke up to the most random text from my neighbor Lori this past June…

…it was actually not very surprising. We’ve lived next door to each other for 17 years, her kids have babysat mine, my kids have worked for her, and last spring, during quarantine, we all took care of each other, passing ingredients (and books and fire logs and small gifts) back and forth over the wall that separates our houses. We had long ago reached the point in our relationship where we skipped the niceties over text — no “Good morning!” or “Hope you are well!” It was straight to the point, and in the case of the June text: “I left two bags of spelt flour for you. I’ll never use them.”

I didn’t ask why she had them in the first place. Spelt flour. In my years of writing about food, I had never actually baked with it and I was intrigued. After doing a little research I found out that spelt flour, packed with fiber and protein, is as nutritious as whole wheat flour, but, unlike whole wheat, results in lighter airier baked goods. It’s also slightly sweet and nutty, and performs as a good substitute for all-purpose flour in muffins, cookies, and pancakes. An early batch of blueberry pancakes, then a few dozen strawberry muffins supported this theory, and ever since I’ve been incorporating it into any baked good that calls for flour. Naturally, this week — the first one in New York that really feels like fall — I had apples on my brain, so tweaked an old favorite apple-cinnamon muffin recipe to reflect my learning. I let my family eat a few right out of the oven with a little butter — the best way to eat a muffin no matter what kind it is, in my opinion. The rest? Back over the wall to Lori.

Cinnamon-Apple Spelt Muffins
Makes 10-12
The Demerara sugar really gives these muffins the most beautiful little crunch, but if you don’t have it in your pantry, you can also finish them by brushing each top with a little melted butter (after they bake) then inverting the muffin into a cinnamon-sugar mix (2 tablespoons of granular sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon).

1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup plain full-fat plain yogurt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups apples (from 1 large or 2 small apples, any kind; I used Honeycrisp), chopped into bite-size pieces as shown
3 tablespoons Demerara  sugar

Arrange oven rack on center position and preheat to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin papers.

In a medium bowl whisk together both flours, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate larger bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, yogurt and egg until smooth. Whisk dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until smooth — the batter will be thick. Fold in the apples, then divide between your prepared muffin tins. In a small bowl mix together Demerara sugar with remaining cinnamon. Divide this topping evenly between the muffins.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until tops are golden. Let cool on a rack. Best eaten warm with butter.

P.S. A crisp for all seasons and zucchini muffins for back-to-school mornings, no matter what back-to-school mornings look like for you.

  1. Anna Calorendi says...

    hello,
    your recipe looks amazing, but before doing it i would like to have an advice with the ingredients your bit size apples in your recipe can instead of bite size can we put them grated inside asking you for a simple reason that my teen kids don’t like soft mushy fruits in desserts but if the are grated or puree the won’t even notice and will eat them

    thanks in advance , will be waiting for your response

    have a great day

    Anna

  2. Peggy says...

    First time using spelt flour – these are fantastic. Made them just as written and they are perfect. Had them on the side of the DALS butternut squash/apple soup. A lovely fall lunch!

  3. Yulia says...

    Just popped a batch in the oven! I didn’t use muffin liners, just greased the muffin tin a bit. Although I didn’t have dermera sugar, I read online that turbinado is a decent substitution. Also could not bring myself to use the full three tablespoons of the sugar-cinnamon mixture. My muffins were loaded after just half of it! All minor modifications, though. Very excited. Will report back!

  4. Courtney says...

    Yum! Just pulled these out of the oven and they look, smell, and TASTE amazing. This was my first time working with spelt flour and I liked it–the batter almost felt soft? The muffins are really moist too. I’m thinking these might be a perfect Thanksgiving morning breakfast!

    I did make a few changes, for anyone looking to make these slightly healthier:
    – did ww flour instead of AP
    – subbed 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce and 2 tbsp maple syrup for the 1/2 cup sugar (I find that substitution works for a lot of muffin recipes)
    – reduced the sugar sprinkled on top by half (it was still a lot!)

    With those changes these were 150 calories each, with 4g fiber and only about 3g added sugar–healthy enough for me to have one every day :)

    • Evelyn says...

      I’d love to have the strawberry muffin recipe, too!

  5. Malwina says...

    That’s the first time I’ve ever made muffins… This recipe is amazing! They are so moist and not too sweet. Thank you so much for sharing. Would be really interested in a chocolate muffins recipe from you ?

  6. E says...

    Made this muffins on Saturday. Will make again.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  7. Rachel says...

    I just pulled these out of the oven and I can’t wait to try them. I did not have spelt flour, so I subbed AP flour like others have said. I”m sharing with my mom and her hubby who are vegan, so I made them vegan by using 1/2 cup vegan buttermilk (1/2 cup almond milk + 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar) in place of the 3/4 cup yogurt. And I used chia egg in place of the egg.

    • Erin says...

      I’d love to hear how these turn out—was planning to veganize them myself!

    • Rachel says...

      Hi Erin, this vegan version of the muffins turned out great! The fam liked them too! I’ll definitely add this to my list of repeat recipes. :-)

  8. Lilah says...

    Amazing recipe. Loved it!

  9. Beks says...

    Thank you so much Jenny. This recipe is so good! I just made it for my girlfriend, she loves apples and having worked so hard this year (she’s a healthcare worker) any excuse to bake something warming and delicious for us to enjoy, I’m leaning into! And, as a bonus, it is quite cold here in Melbourne, so naturally, we just enjoyed one fresh out of the oven, with butter as you suggested, pure BLISS! Xxx

  10. Gwynne says...

    I’m an ex-pat living in Switzerland and I accidentally bought spelt flour when I meant to buy whole wheat – they use spelt flour for lots of things here, even pasta! But anyway, I was a little stressed about how I would use up all this spelt flour, and then this recipe popped up during my daily Cup of Jo work break! I made a double batch of these muffins and they were so, so delicious. The perfect way to ease the transition into Switzerland’s rainy fall weather. Thanks Jenny :)

  11. Meghan says...

    Just made these to take with us camping tomorrow in the mountains of Idaho. Thanks!

  12. Laura says...

    These were really, really good! Thanks, Jenny!

  13. Carla says...

    Thank you Agnès for the info; so useful!
    Enjoy the muffins in this raining day!

  14. Jem says...

    This recipe was so tasty! I didn’t have muffin tins, so I used a silicone bread tin instead, and it still turned out great (just add about another 20 minutes to baking time). I know some people are very by the books when it comes to authors recipes, but I like playing around with them (although I always wonder how authors feel about this? Would be interesting to read some different opinions on the matter). Since I didn’t have nutmeg I added some cardamom together and it was a nice substitute. Was looking for an easy “pick me up” when I saw this recipe, perfect way to keep busy while I self isolate for a few days. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Lori says...

    Just made these and ate two warm from the oven (with butter as suggested) and YUM. I didn’t have spelt flour so I used AP. I imagine the spelt flour would add something nice but you won’t miss it if you don’t have it. Recipes like this are why I love baking. 45 minutes ago they didn’t exist in my life but now they do and they won’t exist in about a day but that is just fine because my family will have an extra nice day.

  16. A Watterson says...

    These were delicious! Thank you for the recipe/inspiration. Perfect fall day, virtual school snack break.

  17. Emily Tan says...

    Any chance this recipe could be updated with metric measurements? I’m not American and I never ever get any baking recipe to work unless I use my digital scale. Providing both would be just so awesome. Thank you! xoxo

    • Agnès says...

      375F = 190c (for the oven)
      1 cup of liquid=250ml
      1 cup flour= 130 g
      1 cup sugar = 200g

      I usually can’t be bothered so I don’t use all these delicous recipes but this one, I couldn’t resist (it’s raining here in Paris, and no good news and we’re under re-lock down threat, so we need a pick me up!).
      Love, Agnès

  18. Hey, blog friends! For what it’s worth, I made these yesterday afternoon with only AP flour and before the cinnamon measurement was corrected. So I put the full amount of cinnamon in the muffins with a sprinkling mixed into the sugar (I used turbinado) for the topping, and, well, there are only four left. So I’d say they were a success.

    • Kim says...

      Thanks, Katie! I was also thinking of going the AP route!

  19. Justine says...

    Hello,

    Would you by any chance have the recipe in grams instead of cups ? For a french reader who would love to bake them !!

    Many thanks !!

    • Tess says...

      If you have an extra 10 minutes, you should be able to google all the conversions. I just made this recipe (they’re in the oven as we speak) abd live in Germany, so I had to weigh the butter: 85 g. ;) Otherwise I have cup and tablespoon measures for everything else.

    • Emily Tan says...

      To Tess: I used to just google measurements but that led to a recipe going really wrong because the author had a unique and different way of filling her cup with flour. Now, I really prefer it if the authors could just opt for more accurate baking by providing metric alongside spoons and cups!

  20. Tess says...

    Spelt is very popular here in Germany and can be found as whole grain and refined flour. I love using some in regular pizza dough ir pancake recipes, but I’ve found that spelt flour needs more liquid than wheat does. Excited to try out this recipe this afternoon!

    • Annette says...

      Your comment sent me straight to google – I had no idea that Dinkel and spelt were the same thing! And you’re right – Dinkel really is very popular over here. (And to Emily: I very much agree that there is so much room for error intrying to adapt cup measurements of flour to grams. Please, recipe people: provide metric measurements!)

  21. Jean says...

    Unrelated but…keep coming back to see what you guys have to say about RBG and nothing? Why? Love hearing your and your teams perspectives and thought sand ways to cope on things like this.

  22. Nicole says...

    There is nothing better than fall foods, flavors, and smells- this recipe looks like it will check all those boxes! And, I’m still grateful to Jenny for her apple crisp recipe from last year- no cutting the butter into the flour- hallelujah:)

  23. K says...

    wow, this actually makes me excited for fall…

  24. Jessica says...

    These look so delicious! I am so glad it is fall, which means it’s time to bring out all the cinnamon, apple, pumpkin, vanilla recipes and I am here for it. Plus who could say no to a good muffin?

  25. Mary says...

    Just made them, so delicious! Thank you! Also I had spelt flour in my cupboard and had no idea what to do with it. Win win! Happy days.

  26. Vero says...

    Jenny strikes again! I’m going to make these today with apples from our tree. P.S. Thank you Jenny. I asked you a few months ago about size recommendations for the Le Creuset dutch oven I was getting. I went for the bigger one and it is AMAZING. I use it all the time, my prized kitchen tool, maybe tied with my chef’s knife ;)

  27. CS says...

    Mmmm.. these look really good!

  28. Emily says...

    yeah, spelt flour is hard to sub for. I mean, sure, you could – but spelt imparts more of a cake-like texture. You WANT spelt, trust me,

    I highly recommend getting spelt — one of my favorite muffin recipes uses pumpkin puree + spelt – so tasty!

    • G says...

      Hi Emily,
      I would love to see that pumpkin recipe! I bought a big bag of spelt flour to try these muffins and am also craving pumpkin! ✌️

  29. Amy says...

    Yum. Adding spelt to my grocery list!

  30. I’ve never used spelt flour! I’m eager to try!

  31. Caroline says...

    YUM. Can’t wait to make these – they look like a perfect lunchbox addition for kiddos :)

  32. DEANNE says...

    Is there any easy way to print this recipe?

  33. Quyen says...

    I can’t wait for your RBG post! Looking forward to it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      it’s coming tomorrow! xoxo

    • June says...

      This is the most hilariously menacing comment I have ever seen in a thread about muffins.

  34. Jeannie says...

    Perfect, it is definitely muffin season!

  35. Patty says...

    Can you substitute all purpose for the spelt flour?

  36. Justine Clark says...

    I need these in my life right now!

  37. RF says...

    I don’t have spelt flour (though now I want to get some!), can you substitute with WW or AP flour?
    Also, is the cinnamon to be divided? Not clear how much is remaining for the topping.
    Can’t wait to make these–they look amazing!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      asking Jenny right now, please stay tuned! xo

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      You can substitute the spelt flour 1 to 1 with the all-purpose. So, in other words, this recipe would work using only AP flour, 1 1/2 cups of it. If you want to use whole wheat, I’d advise 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup AP (only because whole wheat is stronger tasting.) And yes, I fixed the cinnamon issue (sorry!) 1 teaspoon in the batter, another 1/2 teaspoon in the topping. ENJOY!

    • Amy says...

      I used all wholewheat flour in my batch and I was surprised by how light and fluffy they were. I made no other substitutions. I often do all wholewheat in my muffins so maybe I’m just used to it, but I thought it turned out particularly well in this recipe.

  38. Hali says...

    It’s so kind of you to share recipes so freely with us here. Like we’re your neighbors!! Can’t wait to make these- my mom was big into spelt when I was growing up but I’ve forgotten about it!

    Also, there’s no comfort quite like the feeling of a brand new season. Let’s go, autumn! Bring it back for 2020!

  39. Erin says...

    More spelt flour recipes, please and YAY! I fell in love with it over the lockdown and now have four bags. Yeah. Four bags that I’m excited to use. Got any savory ideas, Jenny?

    • D. says...

      Looking for savory ideas here, too! Although these look so delicious and comforting <3