Can you believe it’s already October? This is a busy month for me. School’s getting harder, and I have a billion other things going on this month, including my brother’s Bar Mitzvah, the uncanny number of birthdays among my family and friends, and planning a Halloween costume. Don’t you feel like everything’s kind of sleepy up until October, and then people just go into a frenzy? Maybe it has to do with our evolutionary roots: back when we were some race of early mammals, hiding from the last dinosaurs and scampering around frantically gathering nuts for the coming winter.
I may not be gathering nuts, but I sure am gathering a huge stash of fall recipe ideas. Before the next season ends I must make pumpkin scones, pumpkin granola, pumpkin smoothies…yes, most of the things I’ve been aching to make include pumpkin.
Pumpkin is such a cool plant. It can be so many things: a child’s climbing apparatus, a Halloween jack-o-lantern, or whatever else a pumpkin enthusiast dreams up. In terms of its edibility, the seeds are great for toasting. And of course, pumpkin purée is amazing in so many sweet and savory eats. My favorite use of pumpkin is in baked goods. Though it did make its way onto my nails last week:
(To see more of my nail designs click here)
It seems the pumpkin craze has taken over me, as well as so many others in the blogging world. I would love to make every pumpkin recipe on my wish-list, from the pumpkin quinoa to the pumpkin salad dressing.
But realistically, I’m not going to have time to make everything before a) fall is over or b) we’re all finally sick of pumpkin. So I have to pick and choose. And I must say, I made the right choice last weekend when I made these pumpkin cupcakes.
These were just a perfect blend of flavors brought together to create one unique taste that struck me as almost blissful. Taking a bite of one of these straight from the fridge, with the cold peanut butter yogurt icing gracefully adorning the earthy pumpkin cake, and the center oozing with salty peanut butter and sweet caramel…was like heaven in dessert form. I topped the cupcakes with chocolate-covered caramels, but I can also see pretzels as being a cool topping. Maybe even go crazy with chocolate-covered pretzels!
Pumpkin Caramel Peanut Butter Cupcakes
makes 6 regular sized cupcakes
for cupcake batter
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 egg (I used egg substitute)
- 1/2 cup Libby’s brand pumpkin pie mix
- 1/4 cup pure organic maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbl peanut butter
- 1 tbl King’s Cupboard brand Cream Caramel sauce
- 1/2 cup Chobani brand plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup Reece’s chips
- 1 tsp water
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 6 pieces Weight Watcher’s by Whitman’s candies brand bite-size caramels
For Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Line half of a regular sized muffin tin with 6 paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Mix.
Beat and add egg. Add the pumpkin pie mix, vanilla, and maple syrup. Mix just until combined; do not over mix.
Fill each of the six paper liners with about half of the batter, reserving the rest. Add a bit of the peanut butter and a bit of the caramel to the center of each cupcake; this will create the filling. Top the filling with enough batter to completely cover it.
Bake cupcakes in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
For Frosting: Fill a large saucepan with one inch of water. Place this over medium heat and cover with a bowl until water begins to simmer. Place the Reece’s chips into the bowl. Add a teaspoon of water. Stir this mixture constantly until Reece’s chips have fully melted.
Remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine the melted Reece’s chips and 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt. Blend thoroughly. Add one tsp brown sugar and mix well.
Frost completely cooled cupcakes with yogurt frosting. If you like, top with caramel candies like I did. Or come up with some other fun topping!
I enjoyed a few of these cupcakes within a few days of baking them, and squirreled away the rest in the freezer for winter. (Must be my prehistoric mammal instincts in action!)
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