For the muffins:
4 tbsp. butter
2-3 crisp apples, peeled and diced (I like pink lady, gala or honeycrisp)
1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp. apple cider, divided
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
Dash of grated nutmeg
1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
For the glaze:
4 tbsp. butter
¾-1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp. apple cider
Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Let melt and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter is a deep golden brown color (be careful not to burn it). Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. Add the diced apples to a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the apple cider, ¼ teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are somewhat softened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon, allspice and salt. In a second medium bowl, combine the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, applesauce, remaining 1/3 cup apple cider, and the cooled browned butter. Whisk to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk just until evenly incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the diced apples.
Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake about 15-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the tops are golden and set. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a wire rack.
To make the glaze, heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Let melt and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter is a deep golden brown color (be careful not to burn it). Set aside to cool slightly. Transfer the browned butter to a bowl and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar. Whisk in the apple cider until the mixture is smooth. (Note: If the browned butter begins to cool, particularly if the apple cider is cold when added, the glaze may become very thick or difficult to whisk. Simply rewarm in the microwave in very short few-second bursts until the texture has corrected. If the mixture is too thin, whisk in additional confectioners’ sugar a small amount at a time until thickened to your liking.) Spoon the glaze over the muffins and let set before serving.