Apple Pear Cardamom Muffins with Salted Caramel

Ohh.. you sexy thing.

Yes, I am flirting with my food.  Would you please give me a little privacy?

Here’s a lovely muffin that sums up all the deliciousness involved with Fall. While the muffin is quite good sans le caramel, the caramel adds that extra drool-factor and will have you licking the plate– and bowl for that matter–after the muffin is long gone.

One of the beauties of Fall is the abundance of pears and apples from my parents’ garden. Lo and behold (and with the gracious help of my cousin), I received a boxful of apples and pears from home. Instead of eating them as perhaps a normal person would, I found a recipe that would utilize the most apples and pears.  Even one month later, my coworkers are still goo-goo-eyed over the thought of this muffin. And yes, they are that good.

Ingredients

Muffin:

  • 2 cups chopped apples (I used ripe bartlett and d’anjou)
  • 2 cups chopped pears (varieties that are good for baking – i.e. granny smith, gravenstein, Fuji)
  • 2/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cardamom (if making without caramel, substitue 1 tsp cardamom and 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger

Caramel:

  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 3/4 cup of sugar or vanilla sugar
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

Directions

1) Chop the apples and combine them with the sugar and let them macerate for one hour. Next add the oil and stir.

2) Preheat over to 350 degrees F (165 C).

3) Slightly beat egg whites just until a light foam appears. Combine them with the oil and apple mixture.

4) Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices together. Stir into the apple mixture, and then place into cupcake papers about 3/4ths full.

5) Bake for 15 minutes undisturbed, then rotate the pan and cook for another 3-5 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Careful, as if the toothpick goes into an apple it will not come out clean, but cupcake may be done.

6) While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the caramel. Melt the butter in a large, deep heavy-duty saucepan. Stir in the sugar and and stir until golden brown.

7) Take off the heat and pour in half the cream and whisk like a crazy person until the caramel is smooth. Whisk in the rest of the cream and the salt. Strain into a bowl and then spoon over cupcakes. (For a thicker caramel, let the carmel cool to room temperature, covered).

Recipe adapted from Vanilla Garlic

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