These muffins need to be bite-sized because of the candy coating. I thought that if I could get the candy coating onto caramel apple muffins that they would look like little jewelly candy apples. :)
Step 1: Make the Caramel Sauce
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You can make this a week or two ahead of time. It will make more sauce than is needed, but you can store it in a squeezy bottle to put any anything you like.
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 tbs corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cream, warmed
2 tbs unsalted butter, room tempurature
1/2 tsp sea salt, finely ground
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Put the sugar, corn syrup and water into a thick-bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Use a saucepan bigger than you think you need. Bring to a boil and let continue to cook until it is a rich dark copper color, 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute or two. Don't let it cool until it hardens.
2. Pour the warm cream into the sugar mixture. It will bubble up quite a lot. This is why we used a bigger saucepan. Stir until it is completely mixed. Wear long sleeves and use oven mitts if you fear the caramel will bubble and burn you. It is very hot and can burn quite badly.
3. Add in the butter and stir in completely.
4. Add in the salt and stir in completely.
5. Add in the vanilla and stir in completely.
6. Now let cool a bit then pour into a jar or squeezy bottle for storage. Put 2 tablespoons in a small container for the frosting step. It is usable right away, but can be stored in the fridge for 2 weeks. It will harden a bit in the fridge. Just heat it up in a microwave or pan of water (the entire jar or squeezy bottle, sealed) until it's pourable consistancy again.
Step 2: Make the Apple Muffins
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Find an apple muffin/cupcake recipe you like:
9 oz. of all-purpose flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tbs of cinnamon
4oz of unsalted butter, at room tempurature
3.5oz of granulated sugar
2oz of light brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup of milk
2 medium apples (granny smith), cored and chopped finely
(Mini)Muffin pan and paper liners to fit
1. Chop the apples and put into a bowl with the lemon juice and water to prevent browning.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F.Line the muffin pans with the liners.
3. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
4. Mix the white and brown sugars in a mixing bowl, then add the butter in chunks. Cream with a hand mixer.
5. Add the egg to the creamed sugar and mix.
6. Add the milk to the creamed sugar and mix until incorporated, but it doesn't need to be a smooth mixture.
7. Mix the wet ingrediants into the dry until just moistened. Add in the apples but don't overmix.
8. Fill the muffin cups to about 3/4 full or a bit fuller, but not to the top of the cup.
9. Bake the mini muffins for about 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Bake full-sized muffins for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
10. Remove and let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack.
Step 3: Caramel Buttercream Frosting
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Caramel Buttercream Frosting
(there will be left over frosting)
2oz / 1/2 stick of butter, at room tempurature
1.5 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 tbs of milk or cream
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
2 tbs of caramel
1. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
2. Add in 2 tbs of milk and the vanilla until incorporated.
3. Add in the caramel until incorporated and fluffy.
4. If the frosting is very stiff, add a bit more milk (1 tbs).
5. Pipe onto the mini muffins into a large ball or dome shape.
6. Put frosted cupcakes in the fridge to harden up, overnight or about an hour.
Step 4: Candy Apple Coating
There are no pictures of making the candy coating because I couldn't hold the camera while dipping the muffins. The process is very similar to the caramel making process, but the candy is not heated enough to turn it dark. It will only turn a light yellow/amber color.
Be careful when dipping the muffins! The candy is very hot throughout this process. It will melt the frosting a bit, but if the frosting is chilled it should be ok.
Candy Apple Coating
(Ingredients are per color)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of corn syrup
1/8 cup of water
Red and Green liquid food coloring
1. Add the first batch of ingredients to a heavy bottomed saucepan with a candy thermometer.
2. Heat on high to boiling, then reduce heat to medium and heat until the temperature reaches 300F-310F, then reduce heat to the barest simmer and remove the pan from heat. We will only return the pan to the heat when the candy becomes too cold and hard to dip the muffins.
3. Remove the muffins from the fridge and divide into 3 groups. Divide one of the three groups in half.
4. Dip half of these muffins frosting into the uncolored candy coating (you might need to tilt the pan), letting the excess drip off, then rotate the muffin upright. Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot candy coating. You may need to rotate the muffin in your hand so that the candy coating sets evenly. Set them aside.
5. Add a few drops of red food coloring into the candy coating and stir until evenly combined.
6. Dip one third of the muffin's frosting into the red candy candy coating then set aside.
7. You can pour the leftover red candy coating onto a pan lined with aluminium foil to set. If you have nuts on the pan you can probably make nut brittle.
8. Add the second batch of ingredients to a heavy bottomed saucepan and repeat steps 2 through 7, replacing the red food coloring with green food coloring.
9. Now you have 3 colors of Mini Caramel Candy Apple Muffins! Garnish with little leafs from a tasty herb, like lemon balm or mint if you like. I used lemon balm.