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Friday, September 30, 2011

Desserts for Fall: Caramel Apple Cupcakes!

Well it just so happens to be that time of year again, when the leaves have begun their colorful descent and you are all set to grab your baskets and head to your nearest apple orchard for some prime picking.  

So in honor of my favorite season, I thought these caramel apple cupcakes would be the perfect way to send you into this lovely first weekend of October . . .


Ingredients (for the apple cupcakes) :
~ 2-3 apples, granny smith
~ 2 cups all-purpose flour
~ 1/2 cup sugar
~ 1 teaspoon ginger
~ 1 teaspoon cinnamon
~ 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
~ 1 teaspoon baking soda
~ 1/4 teaspoon salt
~ 2 large eggs
~ 1/2 cup oil
~ 1/4 cup apple juice
~ 1 teaspoon vanilla
~ popsicle or craft sticks

1. Rinse and core the apples. Place them on an ovenproof pan or baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft.
2. Remove the apples from the oven, let cool slightly, then remove peel and mush the apple with the back of a fork. Measure out 1 cup of apple mush and set aside to cool.
3. Combine flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Crack the eggs into a separate, medium sized bowl and beat with a form to break up. Add the oil, apple juice, vanilla, and cooled apple mush and mix to combine.
5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until all ingredients come together.
6. Scoop into cupcake papers about 3/4 full so cupcakes will have a significant dome. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes, rotating the pan after 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Filling (optional):

~ 4 ounces Philly cream cheese
~ 1/4 stick butter
~ 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
~ 1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Be sure to bring the butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours. Then beat the butter vigorously with an electric mixer.
2. Scrape the bowl and add the cream cheese and beat until combine.
3. Add the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Filling the Cupcakes:

1. Cut out a cone from each cupcake. Flip the cone and cut off the excess. Set the top aside.
2. Fill each cavity with the cream cheese filling.
3. Replace each top.

Thick Caramel:

~ 1/2 cup butter
~ 1 cup packed brown sugar
~ 1/2 cup light corn syrup
~ 6 ounces sweetened condensed milk
~ 1 tablespoon heavy cream
~ 1 teaspoon vanilla
~ 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Bring the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk to a boil over medium-high heat stirring to combine.
2. With a wooden spoon, stir all ingredients together and then slowly add the heavy cream.
3. Continue to stir for about 20 minutes until the caramel reached 248 degrees. It is important to continuously stir the mixture and to allow it to reach temperature.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Transfer to a bowl and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes allowing the caramel to cool slightly.

Final Assembly

1. Using a small offset spatula, frost each cupcake with the caramel.
2. If desired sprinkle warm caramel with any number of toppings, like coconut or crushed nuts.
3. Transfer the cupcake into the freezer to allow the caramel to set without dripping over the edge of the cupcake paper.
4. Continue frosting and topping the cupcakes and try to work fast. As the caramel cools, it becomes less spreadable. If possible work in pairs and let your helper top the cupcakes and transfer them to the freezer. By the time you reach the last few cupcakes, you will not longer need to freeze them and you can take all the cupcakes out and transfer them to the counter.
5. Top off each cupcake with a popsicle or craft stick to finish off the look.

Recipe Courtesy of The Cupcake Blog

So pretty and so yummy.  In fact, these would be just perfect for a fall wedding or bake sale, don't you think?   Have a wonderful weekend! Photobucket

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