Warmly Spiced, Tahini-Spiked, Not-Too-Sweet Apple Muffins

October  1, 2016

Fall is here. In the mornings, mist hangs low over the fields. The cool, crisp air hits my lungs when I step outside. I sit, mug of coffee in hand, feeling the sun warm my sweater-clad shoulders. The flavors I want are aromatic, comforting ones. I want apple everything: apple pie, apple crisp, apple cake. I want moist, tender muffins laced with spicy cinnamon and lashings of bracing cardamom.

Cravings like this must be satisfied!

Muffins are often dry and overly sweet, but luckily, today's recipe for cinnamon apple tahini muffins is anything but. Instead, they teeter between snack and dessert (unlike many muffins, which fall squarely in the cake category).

Photo by Posie Harwood

To keep the muffins moist, I use brown sugar. Because brown sugar has more molasses in it than white sugar, it has a higher moisture content, which therefore creates softer, moister baked goods. And for an even more tender interior, I stir in tahini, which (much like adding any other wet ingredient—butter, applesauce, oil, and so on) makes baked goods less dry and creates a softer, almost squishy texture, its nuttiness an added bonus that complements the sweetness of fresh apple. Then I add cardamom, in addition to cinnamon, for extra spice. You can leave the cardamom out, or add other spices: Nutmeg and allspice would be delicious. As they bake, the fruit melts into custardy, delicate pockets of sweetness.

Shop the Story

If there's something nicer than a bite of this muffin, with the sweetness of baked fruit, the heat of cinnamon, the tender crumbles of cake, first thing on a chilly fall morning—I can't imagine it.

Posie Harwood is a writer, photographer, and food stylist based in New York. You can read more of her writing here.

Tell us about your ideal muffin—crumb-topped? corny? dense with bran?—in the comments below.

The Magical Mini Guide to Cozy Weekends
View Guide
The Magical Mini Guide to Cozy Weekends

Whether you're in the mood for some soup-simmering, leaf-peeping, or nothing at all, your dream weekend awaits...

View Guide

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Kristina Shevchik
    Kristina Shevchik
  • Stacy Parkinson
    Stacy Parkinson
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


Kristina S. October 4, 2016
These were good, but the batter is way too dry as written. I added more milk until it came together, probably another 1/2 cup. I also added 1/2 tsp of salt.
Stacy P. October 1, 2016
Sounds delicious? Do I need to change anything to turn this into a quick bread? Muffin pans don't fit in our oven :(