Maple Walnut Muffins

I’m not a breakfast person. Never have been, vacations notwithstanding. But there are times that I can push myself to eat. Like when it is free. Or when I am in an airport. Or..when it involves the term “Maple Walnut.”  Maple and walnuts are meant to go together. Liquid and solid, sweet and savory. And when the flavor combination finds its way into muffins And…even better…it’s possible to make it with no sugar! Just maple syrup. And vanilla paste. And egg yolks. Maybe a LITTLE sugar…


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg, plus one large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1 Tbls. pumpkin pie spice
1 package cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1)Preheat the oven to 375 F and spread the walnuts on a single layer on a foiled baking sheet. Toss the walnuts in the oven while it preheats and pull them out in about 7 minutes, when the nuts start to look oily and let off a savory, nutty scent. Be sure not to let them burn – scorched nuts are useless.
That’s what she said.

 2)Place the flour and baking powder in a large bowl.

 3)Add the maple syrup…

 the vanilla extract(or paste – expensive but offers SUCH deep and rounded vanilla flavor),

 the melted butter,

 the milk,

 and the egg and egg yolk.

 4)Add the walnuts and the pumpkin pie spice,

 and stir to combine

 The batter will be a little loose, but not runny.

 5)Now place your cream cheese into a different bowl…

 and whip it either with your hand mixer or your stand mixer.

 6)Add the powdered sugar to the cream cheese

 7)Grease your muffin tin and fill each tin with the muffin batter.

 Be sure to only fill it up halfway. Because next…

 8)You add a little dollop of the sweetened cream cheese.

 9)Top it off with another (thin) layer of batter

 10)And pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until a knife stuck into the middle of the muffin comes out clean, with no streaky traces of batter.

 11)Wait for the muffins to cool (just a bit), and pop them out of the tray.

 These muffins are so good. So warming, comforting and perfect for a rainy morning or an afternoon treat. Since the batter has no sugar in it, the muffin isn’t at all sugary or desserty – just gently sweet with the maple. The walnuts give off a savory, meaty flavor that contrast with the extreme fluffiness and lightness of the muffins. The cream cheese provides that fatty, decadent sweetness that is like a layer of cheesecake in the middle of this pastry. These would be perfect with some candied bacon.

And it’s a great way to get yourself to eat a healthy breakfast. No sugar…remember?


  1. Hi ^_^ what type of Vanilla bean paste do you use? I've never heard of it before and it looks really interesting!! Do you add the same amount you would as regular vanilla extract? Btw, I'm a really big fan of yours and I love the fact that you post so frequently! You make me want to move from LA to NYC!!!!!!!

  2. Mmmmmmm. Hungry now….

  3. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @J Lu-Hi!Thank you so much for reading!!! I used Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste, and it is great because it delivers a HUGE punch of vanilla flavor with real vanilla beans – much purer and creamier tasting than vanilla extract. If you are from LA, I think you can probably get it at Surfas, or I know that you can get it online. Let me know if you have any other questions!
    @Dee-Haha that makes two of us!