These caramel- and granola-topped muffins may look and taste like a fancy coffeehouse treat, but they're easy to whip up any fall morning. Serve with our Sticky Maple-Caramel Sauce for the ultimate wake up call. It is like grabbing an apple pie to go with baked in dried cranberries, cinnamon granola and Pink Lady apples. You can sub any apples you prefer; Granny Smith for added tartness or Honeycrisp for more sweetness.
1 1/2 cups (about 6 3/8 oz.) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cinnamon granola (such as Nature Valley), divided
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 (5-inch) parchment paper squares
1 large Pink Lady apple (about 8 oz.), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Stir together flour, cranberries, baking powder, apple pie spice, salt, baking soda, and 3/4 cup of the granola in a large bowl. Whisk together applesauce, brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add applesauce mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
Fit 1 parchment square into each of the lightly greased cups of a 12-cup muffin pan, pressing folds into paper as needed. Divide muffin batter evenly among prepared muffin cups in pan. Lightly press apple pieces into tops of batter, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup granola. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 22 to 27 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 5 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 30 minutes). Drizzle with Sticky Maple-Caramel Sauce before serving, if desired.