Caramel-apple muffins

Delicious muffins incorporate the great flavours of autumn!

Autumn, aka apple season, is one of my favourite times of year. I have fond memories of apple picking as a child and enjoyed sharing that traditional activity with my own kids when they were younger. These days, I head to my nearby farmers’ market to pick up baskets of freshly-picked apples throughout the fall. I love to make litres of pink-hued applesauce to tuck into the freezer, and I also love baking with apples. Pies and crisps are always devoured in my house but I got to thinking the other day that it was time to add a new apple dish to the repertoire. Now that Hallowe’en is almost here, I was reflecting on the decadent, delightful flavour of caramel apples and decided that recreating that taste in muffin form would be a delicious experiment. I was right. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For caramels:

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) water
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) heavy cream

Note: if you don’t wish to make the caramels yourself, you can use 12 – 15 purchased caramels, unwrapped and cut into thirds.

For muffins:

  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) peeled, cored and coarsely chopped apples (about 2 medium apples)

For streusel topping:

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) quick cooking oats
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) cinnamon

Method

For caramels:

  • Place sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed pot.
  • Over medium heat, warm sugar until it melts.
  • Swirl pot occasionally to ensure even heat distribution. The sugar will turn golden brown as it melts and caramelizes.
  • When sugar is completely melted and golden, add butter. The mixture may foam up as the butter melts. Stir well.
  • When butter is melted, add cream and stir well. Pour into a shallow baking dish (a loaf pan lined with parchment paper is good) and cool in the refrigerator until the sauce is solid enough to cut into one centimetre (1/3-inch) squares.

 

For muffins:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line muffin tins with paper baking cups. Use the parchment ones if you can find them – they are fantastic and much easier to peel off the muffins than the plain paper ones.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a medium microwave-safe bowl or glass measure, melt butter over low heat. Cool slightly in fridge for 2 minutes then add egg, buttermilk and vanilla to butter in bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  • Fold in chopped apple and caramels.
  • Fill baking cups 3/4 full with batter.
  • Sprinkle topping evenly over batter in cups.
  • Bake 18 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove tins from oven and let muffins cool in pan 5 minutes before removing.
  • Let cool at least 5 more minutes before serving – if you can’t wait that long, just be careful of the hot, melted caramel inside the muffins.

 

Makes 12 muffins that freeze well.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

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