Ok, I haven't made these yet (because it's still not really fall yet). BUT they look amazing! (Thanks Tati!) And I will be making these as soon as I am allowed to turn on the fireplace (60 degrees or below, apparantly is when my roommate will allow me to celebrate fall/winter.)
CARAMAL APPLE CUPCAKES
Source: adapted from America's Best Recipes
1 (18.25-ounce) package spice cake mix
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup peeled, cored, and chopped Granny Smith apple (about 1 large apple)
1/4 cup evaporated milk or heavy cream (or regular milk)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
24 wooden craft sticks
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake mix, eggs, sour cream, milk, and vegetable oil until incorporated (about 30 seconds). Scrape sides of bowl and then beat on med-high speed for 3 minutes. Stir in chopped apple.
2. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
3. Meanwhile, combine caramels and milk in a medium saucepan over very low heat; stir 4 minutes or until smooth. It's very important to keep the heat very low because if the caramel gets too hot it will become really hard when cooled.
4. Spread caramel mixture over cupcakes being careful to not touch the caramel to the paper liners or it will stick to the liners; immediately sprinkle with pecans, pressing in slightly. Insert a wooden stick into center of each cupcake. Store covered in an airtight container. It's best to serve the cupcakes the same day that you add the caramel topping. Caramel will soften if kept at room temperature for too long so store in the refrigerator until ready to serve then let come to room temperature to let caramel soften up a bit.
Makes 20-24 cupcakes.