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Perfect Fall Muffins To Start the Day

Cupcakes are everywhere. Whole TV shows are devoted to them and my two kids can’t get enough of the little confections. Personally, I think it’s time to show the lowly muffin the respect it deserves. A cupcake is like an Oscar dress—beautiful, elaborate and appropriate for a special occasion, while a muffin is like your favorite jeans—easy, comforting and perfect any time of day.

My daughter Eva started middle school this fall. She may be worried about what to wear, but I’ve been thinking about what to make her for breakfast so she is best prepared to face the new challenge of multiple teachers and remembering her locker combination. What could be better than a hearty, healthy, portable muffin? I love that Fall Harvest Muffins combine fruit, vegetables, oats and nuts for a lasting energy source. It’s the allure of a cupcake without the mess and fussiness of frosting. By making them ahead and freezing them, there’s the added bonus of a grab and go breakfast with a quick spin in the microwave.

To get started, place the flour, sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

This recipe calls for the apple to be peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch pieces. The easiest way I find to do this is to stand the apple on end and cut vertically around the core into four thick slices.

Peel away the skin.

Place the apple flat-side down while cutting ¼-inch slices.

Then cut ¼-inch "matchstick" strips before cutting the apple into pieces.

Next I add the apples, grated carrots, chopped dried cherries and nuts to the dry ingredients. Then I mix so the apples, carrots, cherries and nuts get coated with the flour mixture. This helps so these ingredients stay distributed in the muffin and don’t fall to the bottom while cooking.

In a separate bowl combine the eggs, melted butter, vanilla and applesauce. For convenience I use the individual "lunchbox" applesauce since it is already portioned ½ cup for the recipe and I have it on hand to pack in lunches. Then I add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix just until all the ingredients are combined.

Lastly, use two spoons to distribute the batter into muffin pans lined with paper baking cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (mine took 23 minutes) and cool at least 5 minutes before devouring.

If you have any left over, place them into a large resealable plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. From frozen to "go" takes just 45 seconds on full power in the microwave.

I love these served with my neighbor’s apple butter slathered over them, while Eva likes them as is. Come to think of it, these muffins taste like a moist, rich carrot cake…maybe a little Cream Cheese Frosting on top and I’ve got a muffin and a cupcake recipe all in one!

Please rate and review this recipe and also leave me your comments Fall Harvest Muffins. What are your ideas for quick nutritious breakfasts or snacks on-the-go ?

Come back in a few days when Alex will share a fun Halloween cupcake idea. October is almost here.

Emily is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.


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• Comments •

I absolutely love the images as the recipe progresses. It is immensely helpful to see what the ingredients should look like. How many times have I wondered this when following a recipe. Wonderful idea to do this for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Posted Jan 29 2012 by Debra

These were easy and delicous! I love the idea of freezing them, but unfortunately my family didn't leave any leftovers to freeze.

Posted Oct 18 2011 by Jean

Great blog Emily! Makes me want to whip up a batch of muffins and enjoy one with a hot cup of joe.

Posted Oct 08 2011 by Andrea

just the apples alone are making me hungry

Posted Oct 02 2011 by barbara

Will these recipes convert to the GF flour and turn out ok????????

Posted Oct 01 2011 by Judy
Test Kitchen Comment


We have not tested this cupcake in the Test Kitchens using a GF flour blend at this point. From my experience it should be just fine if you replace the flour with the GF flour blend and then replace any other ingredient such as the vanilla with a GF version. Also, be sure to use oats that are labeled as Gluten Free. The oats are GF unless specifically labeled by the manufacturer as GF. You should check with the manufacturer to be sure. I encourage you to try this. It is a nice alternative for the morning!
Posted October 03, 2011

These sound delicious!

Posted Oct 01 2011 by Kizzy

FALL HARVEST MUFFINS....Sounds & Looks.... DELICIOUS !!!! and HEALTHY!!!! Can't wait to make them this weekend, to go with my neighbors homemade Apple Butter AND Applesauce..... With and without Cream Cheese Frosting. I can't think of a better way to return the flavor. Geat Idea and Thanks Bunches. They will be great because it's going to be in the 60/40's this weekend.....time for Homemade Soups. Can't think of a better breakfast, snack or dessert.
P.S. Your daughter, Eva has great taste.

Posted Sep 29 2011 by Roxanne A.
Test Kitchen Comment


I appreciate your feedback and hope you love them as much as my family and I did.
Posted October 03, 2011

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