Thursday, September 30, 2010

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

It's amazing how much these actually taste like caramel apples. I want to say they taste more like caramel apples than cupcake, if that's possible. I made a bunch of heavy appetizers for a gathering of Colorado's Young Life wives tonight and made these for the dessert. Heavy appetizer duty doesn't usually include dessert, but I had to make them. Had to. The lighting on these babies is rough. I apologize for that since the coloring looks off. They were beautiful and glossy and drippy in person.

I was running late tonight try to get out the door on time to deliver all my food. I looked like a nutcase running to and fro through my kitchen. Cut the veggies for the tray! Plate the tomato and brie turnovers! Turn the oven off! Cover the hummus! Wipe the counter! Take the ravioli out of the oil! Get the garnish! Close the refrigerator! Wheres my saran wrap!? Grab the parsley sauce! Is Jeremy putting the kids in the car? What's that beeping?! If you know me at all, you know I cannot multitask worth a darn so it was quite, that is. All the while, I am trying to not drop my huge camera, carting it around and randomly snapping pictures hoping the shots will somewhat represent accurately what I have made. The lighting was far from ideal. I am far from knowing how to manipulate the lighting in a picture, and I was definitely not going to try then in the midst of all that madness. So we get what we get and we don't throw a fit. Can you imagine the state I left my kitchen in after all that mess? It was well...a mess. A disaster area actually. I cannot remember the last time my kitchen was that dirty. And do you know that my wonderful husband has just spent almost the last hour cleaning it for me? Yeah, he's a sweetie.

Now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you a little bit about these little darlings. The "caramel frosting" on top is just some caramel candies melted with a little cream. Once you pour the sticky caramel on top of the cupcake it almost immediately starts to harden somewhat back to it's original texture. Unless you eat these straight away the topping will set back to chewy caramel. I like that so I didn't mind, but I thought you should know. They are not incredibly sweet and might be described as somewhat mild with the apple flavor really coming through. If you nixed the caramel it could pass for a fine apple muffin and be fit for breakfast with some coffee. And with the start of the new month upon us, these quite fittingly, scream October.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes
adapted from Silvana Nardone, Rachael Ray Magazine, October 2010

Makes 12

1 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 rome apples (or another dry apple) peeled and shredded on a cheese grater
1 1/2 cups chewy caramel candies
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with baking liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. whisk in the oil and vanilla.

Stir the sugar mixture into the flour mixture until just combined; stir in the apples. Spoon the batter into prepared pan until almost full. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, 25 to 30 minutes. transfer to a rack to cool completely.

In a small, microwaveable bowl, combine the caramels and cream. Microwave for 1 minute at medium power, then stir; repeat in 30-second intervals until melted and smooth. Let cool. Spread the frosting generously on the cooled cupcakes.

Well, I have absolutely nothing else to say. It's been a long day. Need sleep. Goodnight. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. OH, yeah it's time. Really now, goodnight.

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