Saturday, January 23, 2016

Writer in the Kitchen with MK: Fresh Apple Hazelnut Cupcakes with Pecan Streusel

When it comes to food, I can be quite particular about what I eat. I have no interest in candy or donuts, or anything sweet that comes in a package, but give me a kitchen, a cart of basic ingredients, an oven, and I'm in heaven. My greatest weakness comes in the form of breads. It doesn't matter if it's a sweet muffin, or a loaf of homemade honey-wheat bread fresh from the oven. If it resembles bread, or a bread product, (and is homemade) chances are I'll want to try it. Because of said weakness, it became necessary to modify recipes, because let's face it, one can only spend so many hours of the day exercising. 
Photo by MK McClintock
But who says that something delicious can't be healthy, or at least healthier than the alternative. By making a few simple adjustments and using some lower calorie and lower fat ingredients, one can turn a 450 calorie cupcake into one that is 250 calories. The best part is that you don't lose any of the flavor! This recipe was modified and adapted from an Apple Cupcake and Almond Streusel recipe from Cooking Light's Quick Baking. Bonus: this tasty cupcake is great for breakfast, or as dessert, and just one will satisfy you. I like to eat mine with a cup of herbal tea or small glass of fat-free milk for a satisfying breakfast treat.

Because I didn't have a couple of the ingredients on hand, I simply substituted and adjusted and the results were excellent, or so says my panel of taste-testers.

Click here for the printable PDF.

Apple Hazelnut Cupcakes with Pecan Streusel 
  • Baking Cooking Spray (the kind with the flour)
  • 6.75 oz all-purpose flour (approx 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Tbs hazelnut liquer (or the flavored syrup if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 cup finely chopped Gala apple
  • 1 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • Streusel:
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter, chilled
  • 2 Tbs chopped pecans
  • Glaze: 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tsp fat-free milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Line the muffin tins with paper muffin cups 
  3. Spray 12 muffin cups with baking cooking spray
  4. Weight or lightly spoon 6.75 ox flour into dry measuring cup; level. 
  5. Combine flour with baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. 
  6. In a mixing bowl, combine granulated sugar, cream cheese, and 1/4 cup butter; mix at high speed until well blended. Add hazelnut, vanilla, and egg to sugar mixture and beat at medium speed until well blended.
  7. Combine sour cream and 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl and stir with a whisk until well blended. 
  8. Combine apple and 1 Tbs flour in small bowl and toss until apples are coated.
  9. Add flour mixture and sour cream mixture alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until blended. Fold in apple mixture. 
  10. Divide evenly among muffin cups (tip: use an muffin/ice cream scoop)
  11. Sprinkle streusel evenly among muffin tops (see directions below)
  12. Bake at 350F for 20-27 minutes or until done. Cool in pans for 15 minutes on wire rack before removing. 
Mixing sour cream and milk until well combined
Toss apples until well coated.
 To Make the Streusel:
  1. Combine all ingredients except pecans. Using a pastry cutter, knives, or your fingers, cut until it resembles course meal.
  2. Stir in pecans. 
To Make the Glaze:
  1. Combine the powdered sugar and milk in small bowl - stir with whisk. 
  2. Drizzle lightly over the cupcakes, after they've cooled on the rack, using up the entire mixture. 
Note: Due to the high dairy content in this recipe, we recommend that the cupcakes be kept refrigerated or in the freezer. They remain moist, and if frozen they defrost nicely.

Allergy Warning: this recipe contains dairy, eggs, and nuts (in posted recipe) 




  1. This sounds soooo good!! Unfortunately, the only thing there that I can eat right now is the apple....

  2. Comfort food! Yum! Sweet breads and Danish in the morning with my tea are favorites!

  3. This is one of my favorite recipes, and I don't feel guilty eating one! :)