There is something special about the fall. I love the color of changing leaves, the cooler weather and of course, the food.
We are still fighting the heat, but the markets are full of mums, pumpkins, and apples. It will soon be cool enough to think about making chili and baking fall treats!
It has been a busy fall. Roxanne and I are looking forward to a new cookbook introduction in just about a month, and we just finished the recipe tests for a new book that will be released next year, so our kitchens were busy. We will share some more on our new cookbooks soon, but for now, it is time to just to celebrate, be grateful and enjoy the season.
I have a real passion for apples. (An apple a day–why, not?) It seems as a kid, there were only 2 kinds in our house. They were Jonathan and Red Delicious. We would often go to Stephenson’s Orchard in Independence and pick them. When my daughters were little, apple picking was such a fun day.
Now Stephenson’s has closed, the girls grew up and the apple aisle at the store is filled with lots of different apples. It is kind of mind boggling. This story on Splendid Table was the best—and author Amy Traverso shared her great apple “cheat sheet” that helped so much.
Now is the time to bake with apples—any kind of apples. I crave them-from apple pie and apple crisp to these delicious apple cupcakes. I am also in love with maple syrup, so these cupcakes are a favorite.
Maybe it is time to get into the kitchen and bake up some fall flavors!
Apple Pecan Cupcakes with Maple-Brown Sugar Frosting
1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and very finely chopped
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
Maple-Brown Sugar Frosting:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
¼ cup real maple syrup
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1½ cups flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat together the butter, brown sugar and sugar for 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
On low speed, beat in the flour mixture, alternately with the sour cream, making three additions of flour and two of sour cream. Mix just until blended.
In a small bowl, stir together the finely chopped apple, toasted pecans and the remaining 1 tablespoon flour. Stir apple mixture into the batter, blending until moistened.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling each well about ⅔ full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
Maple-Brown Sugar Frosting:
Begin the frosting while cupcakes are baking and cooling. In a medium glass, microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and maple syrup. Microwave on High (100%) power for 1 minute. Stir well. Microwave on High (100%) power an additional 30 seconds until the sugar mixture is boiling. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
Using an electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon cream into the cooled sugar mixture. Beat until smooth and fluffy. If a thinner frosting is desired, beat in the remaining 1 tablespoon of cream. Frost the cupcakes.
Makes 18 cupcakes
Be sure to let the sugar mixture for the frosting cool to room temperature. If you make the frosting with a warm sugar mixture, the frosting will be too thin.
For the maple syrup, a dark, more amber colored maple syrup will provide more flavor in this frosting.
Toasting the pecans intensifies the flavor. To toast them, spread in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake at 350° F. for 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly toasted.