With only 1 ½ teaspoons of added sugar from maple syrup, these low sugar upside-down apple muffins are a great after school snack. They look like mini tarte tatins don’t they?

These low sugar upside-down apple muffins by Healthy Seasonal Recipes are a great after school snack.

As I sit here at my computer, mug of steaming coffee at hand, I am listening to the roar of the school bus coming up our hill to pick up the girls for their first day of school. It is both blissful and sad at the same time. I am relieved to have my days back to myself to work uninterrupted, and sad because I will miss those goofy little punks.

We have had such a wonderful summer, and the girls have grown so much. My oldest (who is about to turn 10) spent two weeks at sleep-away camp, which catapulted her miles ahead in her tween emotional growth. Since she got back, and even more this past week, we have been having deep conversations as she is processing all that she learned about herself in the two weeks she was away from her family. Heavy.

Then there was our trip to Italy. All four of us would agree that it was a memorable experience for us. And undoubtedly perspective-changing as well for both girls.

Girls at the colosseum during their family trip to Italy Healthy Seasonal Recipes.

Our summer also was filled with lots of fun at our cottage on the lake. I have taken on stand-up-paddle boarding, and my husband is now obsessed with 1-person sailing. The girls have gotten a lot braver about swimming in the lake.

Now that we’re back to school, I am suddenly able to think ahead into the fall, and winter. Partly, it’s the kids being out of the house and I just have time to think, but also I’ve dropped a big responsibility (more on that next week.) I have a big project I have been dragging my heels on all summer, but now that school is back in session and I have the time, I am suddenly thrilled to get started on it!

These kid friendly upside-down apple muffins by Healthy Seasonal Recipes are a great after school snack and they're low in sugar.

Isn’t that strange how sometimes you have to get past big events before you can plan beyond them? That happens to me at Christmas every year and often after taking vacations. Does that happen to you too?

This afternoon when my girls come back home on the bus, I am going to be waiting for them with a warm batch of these muffins. Aren’t they cute? They look like mini tarte tatins don’t they? They have been gobbling them up as I have been testing this recipe.

They are actually low in sugar believe it or not. They get natural sweetness from the apples, applesauce and coconut flour. The only added sugar I used was maple sugar and maple syrup, coming in at 1 ½ teaspoons per serving. The American Heart Association announced last week that children need to stay under 6 teaspoons a day, or 25 grams.
Since a lot of muffin recipes are more sugary than a cupcake, I am sure other moms will appreciate these as much as I have been over the last couple of weeks.

Don’t let their upside-down appearance intimidate you either, they are not complicated at all.

These kid friendly upside-down apple muffins by Healthy Seasonal Recipes are a great after school snack and they're low in sugar.

To make the upside down part, first you cook the diced apples to soften them, then toss with softened butter, chopped nuts and a little granulated maple sugar. If you are wondering where to buy maple sugar you can order it online here. Then just spoon the apple mixture into heavily buttered muffin tins, that helps them to pop out and gives them a yummy indulgent buttery flavor. (But you’re actually only getting 1 teaspoon butter per muffin-so it’s cool.) Last the muffin batter goes on top of that. Once they’re baked, to turn them out of the muffin tin, invert a baking sheet over the whole tray of muffins, grasp the whole shootin’ match with oven mitts and then flip it all over (try not to squash the muffin tops in the process.) They pop right out and the gooey maple apple syrup will pool out onto the baking sheet a bit.

Has back to school been a happy time or sad time for you?
Do you have a hard time planning and thinking beyond big holidays or events?
Are the new recommendations on added sugar helping you to make a change in your kids diets?

Cranberry Upside Down Cake from Simply Recipes
Cinnamon Applesauce Oatmeal Pancakes with Salted Peanut Butter Maple Syrup from Ambitious Kitchen
Apple Spice Quinoa Granola from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Healthy Apple Muffins from Cookie and Kate

These kid friendly upside-down apple muffins by Healthy Seasonal Recipes are a great after school snack and they're low in sugar.

low sugar apple upside-down muffins

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x


These low-sugar upside-down apple muffins have a buttery maple apple topping reminiscent of tarte tatin or pineapple upside down cake. They are much healthier though! They’re made with oats, almond flour and apple sauce. They make a great after school snack because kids love them because they are naturally sweet, they’re 100% whole-grain, and only have 1 1/2 teaspoons added sugar.



  • 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 small firm apples, such as Braeburn or Gala peeled and cut into small dice
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ¼ cup maple sugar or brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon organic canola oil or avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, dark or amber


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degreed F. Heavily grease muffin tin with two tablespoons butter, using all of it.
  2. Bring apples and water to a simmer in a small saucepan, covered, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain simmer, and cook until the apple is just softened, but still holds shape, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain well. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, nuts and maple sugar and stir to melt the butter and combine. Evenly divide the apple mixture and juices among the prepared muffin tins.
  3. Whisk whole-wheat flour, almond flour, coconut flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, applesauce, oil and maple syrup in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients. Stir to moisten. Dollop the batter over the apple mixture, dividing evenly among the cups.
  4. Transfer to the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. Check to make sure the apple filling is not bubbling over and dripping into the oven. If so, set a baking sheet under the muffins to catch drips. Continue baking until the muffins are puffed and spring back when lightly touched, 13 to 17 minutes longer. Let cool 5 minutes, run a pairing knife along the edges of each muffin. Invert a baking sheet over the muffins. Grasp muffin tin and the baking sheet with oven mits and flip over, emptying the muffins onto the baking sheet. Take care not to squeeze the muffin tops. It’s okay if a few pieces of the apple topping stick. If that happens, simply pry it out with a knife and set on top of the muffin it corresponds with. Serve warm.


  • Serving Size: 1 muffin
  • Calories: 204
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Sodium: 121 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 24 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 4 g


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