Vanilla Crunch Muffins

Vanilla Crunch Muffins

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I have been wanting to make these Vanilla Crunch Muffins for ages! I don’t know why I wanted so long. They are sweet, if somewhat sticky, with a lovely coconut crunch on top, and smooth vanilla flavor. A little different from my usual fare.

I started by scraping the vanilla bean. Lucky for me, my local grocery store has finally started selling them. Forgive me: I opted for the five dollar vanilla bean instead of the ten dollar one. Too much for one bean!

vanilla bean

It looked and smelled like a ten dollar vanilla bean, I swear.

Next, I whisked together sucanat (instead of refined sugar), applesauce, yogurt, and egg. It said to mix until “creamy and light and yellow”, I settled for creamy and light. I blame the sucanat, which is more like brown sugar than white. I added the vanilla bean & vanilla bean paste to that and whisked again.

liquid ingredients, whisked

Dry ingredients next. Instead of whole wheat flour, I did my usual whole wheat white flour/wheat germ combination, then whisked it together with the baking soda and salt. I thought it was odd that there was no baking powder in this recipe, but I went with it. I’m flexible.

dry ingredients, whisked

I plunked the flour combo into the first bowl, and added some milk.

ingredients combined, with milk

Once I’d mixed that up and gotten the batter as smooth as I could, I added the pecans.

adding pecans

A little folding, a little stirring, then a little waiting as I took out another bowl and got the topping together. The recipe wasn’t super specific about that, so I just mixed some turbinado sugar with coconut and a few more pecans, and hoped for the best.

coconut pecan sugar topping

Once the batter had been scooped into tins, the topping was added. It’s always a good sign when the yet-to-be-baked muffins look this promising.

vanilla crunch muffins in tin with topping

Right? They looked even better about 15 minutes later. I was nervous because I opted to bake them at 375 instead of 350, but I needn’t have worried.

vanilla crunch muffins in tin, just out of the oven

The topping gave them that extra glamor, don’t you think?

vanilla crunch muffins cooling on rack

And the results? Sticky-sweet desserty muffins that don’t give a hint of actually being pretty good for you. I shouldn’t have waited so long!


My version of Vanilla Crunch Muffins (adapted from How Sweet It Is)


1/3 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/3 cups whole wheat white flour
2/3 cup toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup chopped pecans

for the topping, any or all of the following:
chopped pecans
turbinado sugar
flaked coconut


Heat oven to 400 degrees, you will reduce the temperature later. Spray or grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine the sucanat or sugar with the applesauce, Greek yogurt, and egg and whip with a whisk until creamy and light. Add the vanilla bean and the vanilla bean paste and whisk again.

Separately, whisk together the flour, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt.

Add dry ingredients to the first mixture, then pour in the milk, and stir just until well combined and smooth. Fold in the pecans.

Scoop the batter into muffin cups. Sprinkle the topping of your choice — or as I did, a combination of all three — onto the top of each muffin.

Reduce temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes. (Mine were done in 15.)  Let sit in the pan for 5 more minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.



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