Caramel Appletini Cupcakes

27 Oct

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Halloween has got to be one of the best holidays out there, if for no other reason than because it’s a just-for-fun holiday. All you have to do is put on a crazy outfit and go out and collect more candy than you should ever eat. (Some of us also know this as a trip to the Walmart.)

Caramel apples are probably the iconic Halloween treat for me. They’ve been associated with the spooky holiday for as long as I can remember. When I was little, there was always that one brilliantly crisp fall Saturday when my parents would load us all up into the Rambler station wagon and drive us out of town to the nearest apple orchard. In those days, it was actually a bargain to pick your own, and as anyone who follows this blog knows, my parents loved a bargain. We’d bring back a big bushel basket of apples that we kept in the garage, where it was always nice and chilly.

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Invariably, there were always several apples in that bushel that looked less than great. Those were the special ones, set aside for the profound honor of becoming caramel apples. My mom would bring out the bag of Kraft Caramels, take out the little popsicle sticks, and set us down to start unwrapping those lovely little squares. With the four of us popping more of those caramels into our mouths than into the bowl, it’s a wonder there were ever enough for the apples.

As my mom melted down the caramels, we’d get busy pushing the popsicle sticks into the apples. Once the caramels were sauce-ified, we’d start twirling and swirling the apples, trying to get as much caramel as possible on the apple, never quite making it all the way to the stick. On to the wax paper then, to cool, which always took too long.

Finally! time to eat – and to this day, it’s always the same – a couple of big bites of caramel-covered apple, but once the caramel is gone, I am done. Nobody really wants the rest of all that plain old apple, right? It was just a way to get all that caramel-ly deliciousness.

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It’s been a while since I’ve had a good caramel apple. But I haven’t missed those flavors, because I’ve found the big girl version – the Caramel Appletini. A nice little cocktail consisting of vodka and apple schnapps in a glass rimmed with caramel sauce…mmmmmm!

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Of course, I had to try to “cupcake” it, and just in time for Halloween, too. I started with a spice cake mix, added in some Angry Orchard hard apple cider, topped it off with apple schnapps frosting, and garnished with Captain Morgan spiced rum caramel sauce.

These Halloween Caramel Appletini cupcakes are so good, it’s scary!

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Caramel Appletini Cupcakes

I used a Betty Crocker mix for this recipe, so the ingredients listed are for that mix. If you use a different brand, follow the directions, substituting the water with the same amount of hard apple cider.

1 box spice cake mix

1 cup Angry Orchard hard apple cider

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of stand mixer, mixing at low speed for 30 seconds, then at medium speed for two minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.

Appletini Frosting

1 cup butter, softened

4 cups confectioners sugar

pinch of salt

3 – 4 tablespoons apple schnapps

Cream butter in bowl of stand mixer. Add 3 cups confectioners sugar, salt and 3 tablespoons apple schnapps, mixing at low speed until blended and then on high speed for up to 5 minutes until light and fluffy, adding more sugar and schnapps until desired consistency is reached. Frost as desired.

Captain Morgan Spiced Rum Caramel Sauce

Follow the directions for the caramel sauce from my Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes recipe. Drizzle caramel sauce over the frosted cupcakes.

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Enjoy!

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