Apple orchard muffins with turbinado sugar crust.

I haven’t made a muffin in ages, and truthfully, muffin recipes rarely call my name anymore. But this “Apple Orchard” muffin, from the Red Truck Bakery cookbook, sounded too good not to make immediately.

For one, the recipe calls for all of my favorite ingredients: oil (as opposed to butter), buttermilk (aka the magical milk), and maple syrup (actually sorghum syrup or honey, but I didn’t have either). Second, each muffin is sprinkled with turbinado sugar, which always makes the tastiest and prettiest top. And finally, I can’t pretend I wasn’t drawn  to the name — “Apple Orchard” muffin — cute, right?

These muffins are heaven to me: loaded with apples, very subtly spiced with cinnamon, soft-crumbed, and generously encrusted with sugar.

I posted a photo of these muffins on Instagram this morning and immediately got many requests for the recipe, so pardon the brevity, but I wanted to get this out. Red Truck Bakery, if you are unfamiliar, is a beloved bakery in rural Virginia, and the cookbook includes “85 nostalgic recipes for cookies, cakes, pies, and more to make every day delicious—from breakfast to dessert.” As always, I’ll keep you posted on any more explorations, but this here’s a good place to start.

Gather your ingredients:
Apple orchard muffin ingredients.

This is essentially a two-bowl process:
This recipe essentially requires two bowls, a whisk, and a spatula.

Adding buttermilk to batter.

Adding dry-ingredients to wet.

Adding chopped apples to batter.

Turbinado sugar…
Sprinkled with turbinado sugar, the pan of muffins is ready to go in the oven.

Apple orchard muffins with turbinado sugar crust.

Apple orchard muffins with turbinado sugar crust.

The Red Truck Bakery cookbook with apple orchard muffins with turbinado sugar crust.
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Apple orchard muffins with turbinado sugar crust.

Apple Orchard Muffins

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From the Red Truck Bakery cookbook, these muffins, to me, are perfect: loaded with apples, very subtly spiced with cinnamon, soft-crumbed, and sugar crusted. They are made with all of my favorite ingredients, too: oil (as opposed to butter), buttermilk (the magical milk), maple syrup (my love… recipe calls for sorghum syrup or honey, but maple syrup worked beautifully), and turbinado sugar, which makes the best crust. You can absolutely use granulated sugar in its place, but if you’re heading to the store, pick up a bag — you’ll never want to make muffins without it. I’m using the Wholesome brand Organic Raw Cane Turbinado — it’s a little lighter in color than turbinado sugars I’ve used in the past, and I’m really loving it.

Also loving my new muffin pan.

A few notes:

  • I did not use nonstick spray or butter to grease my muffin tin. I just used muffin liners, and it worked just fine.
  • I omitted the raisins — I’ve never liked raisins in muffins… just me.
  • I used Honey Crisp apples.


  • non stick cooking spray or butter for greasing, optional (see notes)
  • 2 3/4 cups (355 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted (or not)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sorghum syrup or honey (I used maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups chopped (1/2-inch) peeled apples, from about 2 large apples
  • 1 cup golden raisins, optional
  • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a muffin tin with nonstick spray and line it with paper liners (you may need two tins). Lightly spray the liners as well. (As noted above, I simply used the liners.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, sorghum (or maple) syrup, oil, egg, and vanilla. Add the buttermilk and mix well with a whisk or spatula. Add the flour mixture and stir just until flour disappears. Fold in the apples and raisins, if using.
  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Generously sprinkle turbinado sugar over each muffin.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan, then transfer the muffins to a raised wire rack to finish cooling.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American