Vegan strawberry crumble muffins are tender, full of fruit, and perfectly finished with a buttery and crunchy pecan topping.
When I was working on recipes for my cookbook a million years ago, I made this amazing batch of rhubarb crumble muffins. They were light, fluffy, perfectly domed, and finished with a crunchy crumble topping. I was so proud of this because they didn’t rely on banana or pumpkin, and the texture was still spot on. Vegan quick breads/cakes can be a challenge because of the lack of eggs, so it felt like a major success. I had the recipe scribbled on a scrap piece of paper that was tucked inside of a notebook. OF COURSE I lost that little sheet of paper and the recipe was gone forever. I tried to recreate them from memory a bunch of times and it just never clicked. I stopped trying after several lacklustre batches and got really sick of muffins as a general entity!
After an abundant strawberry and rhubarb harvest season, I decided I was going step up my muffin game and lock this recipe down. This final recipe is different than the original lost rhubarb muffin. That one had a significant amount of almond flour and was sweetened with maple syrup. This version is a bit simpler, relying on white whole wheat flour and granulated sweetener.
For a long time, I avoided using granulated sweeteners, always favouring maple syrup because of concerns over which option is more refined, which one has more nutrients etc. There’s some undeniable internalized messaging about health and diet going on there! We all have it to some degree. I have been working on rooting out this mentality with a lot more intention lately. Ultimately, I don’t have a wheat/other grain sensitivity, this recipe is naturally free of animal products (like always!), and if I’m having a treat, I want it to really feel and eat like a treat. Sugar is sugar, ya know? Of course I still love salads, the occasional grain-free treat, and the natural goodness of vegetables. Those things all have their place here and in my life! But so does vegan butter and sugar from time to time.
These crumble muffins are seriously tender and perfectly sweet. They would be great with all kinds of summer fruit. Chopped nectarines, peaches or plums, or whole blueberries and raspberries. Cardamom would be a dream in place of the cinnamon. And you could definitely swap light spelt flour, all purpose, or any wheat-based flour for the white whole wheat! It’s a pantry-friendly treat that comes together nice and quick. The perfect little bite with a cup of coffee. Hope you give them a try soon :)
Vegan Strawberry Crumble Muffins
- ¼ cup pecan halves, chopped
- 2½ tablespoons coconut palm sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons cold vegan butter
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground flax seed
- ½ cup non-dairy milk
- 1½ cups white whole wheat flour
- ⅔ cup coconut palm sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup neutral-tasting oil such as sunflower, refined coconut or avocado
- 1½ tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest, optional
- 1½ cups chopped strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 9 cups of a standard size muffin tin and set aside.
- Make the topping. In a small bowl, whisk together the chopped pecans, coconut palm sugar, and cinnamon. Add the vegan butter to the bowl and mix it in with your fingers, breaking up the bits of butter and working them into the sugar and pecans. Once you have a sandy texture, set aside in the refrigerator.
- Make the muffins. In a small bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar, ground flax seed, and non-dairy milk. Give it a quick stir and let the mixture thicken for 5 minutes or so.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, coconut palm sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk and flax seed mixture, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and citrus zest (if using). Once combined, add the liquid mixture to the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Add the chopped strawberries as well. Stir the batter together with rubber spatula until JUST combined. There should still be a few little dry flecks of flour in the batter. This is fine!
- Using a ⅓ cup measure, portion the batter out into the 9 greased muffin cups. Retrieve your crumble topping from the fridge and sprinkle it evenly over the top of each muffin. Fill the the remaining 3 empty muffin cups up to the halfway point with water. This step just ensures even weight and moisture distribution! It's optional if you're feeling lazy ;)
- Bake the strawberry crumble muffins for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick/paring knife poked into the center of one comes out clean. Let the muffins cool completely in the pan before eating.
- You can substitute light or dark brown sugar for the coconut palm sugar. White whole wheat can be substituted with light spelt or any wheat-based flour.
- The coconut palm sugar provides most of the structure for the muffin, so unfortunately I cannot recommend how you would go about replacing it with maple/other liquid sweeteners.
- I don’t recommend using oil in place of the vegan butter with the crumble topping! From my experience, crumble toppings that use oil always get super hard or just fall right off of muffins.
- If you want to go all vegan butter for this recipe, you can definitely replace the ¼ cup oil with ¼ cup melted and cooled vegan butter. Miyoko’s Creamery makes my favourite vegan butter.
- Any chopped up or naturally small summer fruit is great in this recipe. Peaches, blueberries etc!