Just like chocolate was meant to be with peanut butter, it only seems natural for caramel to hang out with apple. Right? But, well, dunking apple slices into individual vats of caramel gets redundant. And, as much as I love caramel apples, I'm not a huge fan of them in the traditional sense. Too messy.
And, so last night as Madaline and I were loading up the dishwasher after dinner, I was doing a mental inventory of the ingredients I had on hand. Caramel candy squares? check. Apples? Check. Cinnamon to make it a wee bit spicy and balance the sweetness? Check. Brown sugar and oats to sprinkle on the top? check.
But, what was I going to combine those ingredients with? I wasn't in the mood for cake and all of a sudden Madaline says "Muffins - I want a muffin for snack Mommy". Which lead me too.... Well, thinking about muffins. Muffins are the perfect experimental baking vessel. You can add just about anything to a basic muffin recipe. Blueberries, raspberries, chocolate chips, peanut butter, the combination and possibilities are endless. And, it just seemed so natural. So right to want to take one of my favorite fall treats and turn it into a muffin.
Oh my good heaven! Just the smell of these bad boys baking in the oven last night made me weak in the knees. I was drooling all over myself as I was sticking them with a toothpick to make sure the cake part was done. And, I must have burned at least three of my fingers on the molten sugar as I was hastily trying to get the paper wrapper off one of the muffins. And, the gooey caramel with the still slightly crispy apple held together with warm cinnamon laced cake? Heaven, I tell you. Heaven!
recipe adapted and modified from Taste of Home
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg
* 1 cup 2% milk
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 medium to largish apple - diced
* 14 caramel candy squares, quartered
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/4-1/2 cup oats
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and wisk together until combined.
In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, butter and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Fold in apple and caramels and scoop into 12 paper-lined muffin cups.
Tops the unbaked muffins with brown sugar and then sprinkle with oats.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes (mine took the full 30 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the cake portion comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing a wire rack to cool. You can dig into them warm and they are just as fantastically sticky and yummy the next day cold.