Sunday, October 01, 2006
Cupcakes. Apples, like pumpkins, are another fall staple. When I was a wee barmy baker this was the time of year to go to the apple orchard with the family. We would pick apples, pick our pumpkins, and get apple cider. Mmmmmm the memories. We would then go home and make gooey delicious caramel apples. Definitely a fall favorite. So, when my Mom sent me this recipe she had from King Arthur Flour I knew I had to try it.
The recipe calls for boiled apple cider which is a product found at King Arthur. I took it into my own hands to reduce a half gallon container of apple cider to a thick syrup. It yields about a cup and a half of caramel-y sauce with an intense apple flavor. I will definately have to experiment with the boiled cider on a few things in the future.
The recipe is from King Arthur Flour, I have modified it a little bit.
Caramel Apple Cupcakes:
3/4 cup (5 5/8 ounces) brown sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons apple pie spice, or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ginger + 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vinegar, apple cider vinegar preferred
1/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces) boiled cider or frozen apple juice concentrate
1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) peeled, diced apples (about 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced into 1/4" cubes; about 13 ounces before preparation)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (5 1/2 ounces) caramel, from a block or about 20 unwrapped caramel candies
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter
1 tablespoon (3/4 ounce) light corn syrup
2 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) boiled cider or frozen apple juice concentrate
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or apple pie spice
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a muffin pan with 12 silicone muffin cups or muffin papers; spray the cups or papers with non-stick vegetable oil spray.
To make the cupcakes: Beat together the sugar and butter till well combined. Add the baking soda, salt, and spice(s), then the egg and vinegar, beating till smooth. Beat in the boiled cider or concentrate. The mixture may look curdled; that's OK. Add the flour, mixing until the batter is smooth, then stir in the apples and walnuts.
Scoop the batter into the lined muffin wells. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes, till a cake tester inserted in the middle of the center cupcake comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, and after 10 minutes transfer them to a rack set over a piece of parchment to cool; the parchment will corral any excess icing. When the cakes are cool, peel off the muffin papers or slip them out of the silicone cups.
To make the icing: Melt the caramel with the butter in a saucepan set over low heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients, then bring to a rapid boil. Boil, stirringconstantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir briefly to calm the bubbles, and immediately pour over the cupcakes while the icing is hot, using about 2 teaspoons icing for each cupcake and covering their tops completely; some excess will drip down the sides. If the icing cools down and you can no longer pour it, reheat very briefly in the microwave. Yield: 12 cupcakes
This did make a beautiful cupcake, however I like them best without the topping :). I think I may have let the icing boil a bit too long. It was difficult to bite into the cupcake and the icing together as the icing is very chewy. I believe next time I make them I will try a more creamy type of caramel icing. All in all though, I'd rate these as a wonderful way to enjoy caramel apples in a different form :).