Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Roasted, salted peanuts and sweet, buttery caramel envelope the tart, crisp fruit to caress the mouth in an intricate dance through every taste-bud. Memories themselves are captured within the folds of those treats, every bite a burst of juices, a Ferris wheel ride, a Halloween delicacy! Although suspended by a wooden dowel of some sort (likely a Popsicle stick) the ooey goo seems to always leave you with sticky fingertips and a taste on your lips that just wont quit!
The Caramel Apple
Did you know caramel and candy apples were once an acceptable gift to give to Trick-Or-Treaters on Halloween? Not only were they given out but they were wildly popular, sought after by children and adults alike! Unfortunately, in the 60s and 70s rumors began to spread that people had been putting razor blades into apples. This resulted in hospitals offering free x-rays, but the trend of unwrapped candies was already at an end and the term "tamper proof" came into play.
Bobbing For Apples
Since Roman times the tradition of bobbing for apples in a vessel of water has managed to 'stick'. Back then there was an annual celebration and the first unwed youth to catch an apple between their teeth would be the next allowed to be married.
To play, fill a tub or bucket with cool water. Remember, several people are going to need to fit their heads in at once so you’re going to need some room to play with!
Throw several apples into the water - watch them float!
Whomever plays must be blindfolded with their hands behind their back. They are not allowed to use anything but their mouth in this.
The idea is to be the first person to catch an apple between your teeth.
Hint: If you can’t find a large enough bucket to accompany several people or you want to extend the game, simply set a timer to see how long it takes each person, one at a time, to capture the prize!
Hint: If you are disgusted by this whole thing tie the apples up and suspend them in the air instead of putting them in water. They’re still not easy to catch with no hands or eyes!
For Halloween (or any time), put them in themed cupcake wrappers!
Everything is better on a stick.
Every year in the fall apples are harvested from the trees just as the summer begins to draw to a slow close. I look forward to catching these every year at my Local Farmers Market and buying them by the drawer full.
For this project we will not be using those, though if you'd like to make your own applesauce for the recipe I dare you - I myself am simply going to start with by-the-book from a recipe my cousin gave me.
A few things to keep in mind:
*You can use whatever Cupcake/Cake recipe you have laying around that ends up tasting like apples or an apple variation in the end. I'd like to do one of these with a little bit of baked apple on the inside of the cupcake for a more pie-like consistency.
*You can also use whatever caramel you want to use but be sure it's the kind meant to wrap around it! I chose Kraft because supposedly the man who invited Caramel Apples was working for that company at the time, though history is a little skewed on how that went.
*All Photos property of Gina Blanchard - All Rights Reserved
As I mentioned earlier, there really is no problem using any old apple (cup)cake recipe if you've got one or have a better idea for one. Here's what I used!
- 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 TSP Baking Soda
- 1 TSP Cinnamon
- Large Pinch Salt
- 1 Cup Applesauce
- 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 Egg
- 20 oz Caramel Candies
- Plate of Chopped
- Roasted Peanuts (or other item to roll 'apples' in)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line Mini Cupcake pan with baking cups (like the sweet ghost ones pictured on this page!)
- Whisk together first four ingredients into a medium bowl. Mix the next four ingredients into a large bowl. Combine flour mix from medium bowl into large bowl with other ingredients. Blend well. Spoon into baking cups to about the 3/4 mark.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Cool completely - this is important if you don't want dripping cupcakes!
- While that's going get a piece of wax paper and spray it with nonstick spray - this is going to be where you put your cupcakes after they're "frosted".
- Once cupcakes are cooled, put a Popsicle stick into the top of each one.
- Melt Caramel via instructions on package*(see note)*.
- Hold each cupcake by its stick and drizzle caramel over it (over the bowl) to coat completely. Immediately roll in peanuts. (See Image "Caramel Coating")
- Let stand until set.
- *Note: for the Kraft brand I put them in the microwave for two minutes with 2 teaspoons of milk, stirring at each minute.
- If you have a double-boiler, use it to keep your caramel warm while you work. If not, just put some water in a pot and put another pot on top of that, making sure the top pot doesn't touch the water below. I left mine on medium heat the whole time and it worked beautifully.
For a professional chef
Put Sticks into Cakes
Melt Caramel Candies
Drizzle Melted Candies onto COMPLETELY COOLED cakes.
Place in Coating Item (Here: Peanuts). Roll, pressing very gently.
Set Upright on Waxed Paper.
Things to Roll Apples In
There is no limit to what you can use as your outside coating! Here are just a few ideas!
- M&M's, Snickers, Reeses or other Crushed Candy Bits - get creative, like Candy Corn for Halloween or Conversation Hearts for Valentine's Day
- Nuts - Peanuts, almonds, walnuts, it doesn't matter!
- Sprinkles, confections, etc. If you can decorate a cake with it, you can probably stick it to caramel.
- Cookies, be it Oreo or Graham Cracker
- Chocolate (dipped!)