Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cashew Caramel Muffins

Recently, I was shopping in Target (a rare occurrence). Target is one of those stores in which I never see anything that I need but encounter everything that my eight-year-old self would have wanted instead.  Toys and Snoopy dishes, yes.  Cleansers cheaper than Wegmans and underwear in my size?  Not so much.

I spied these in the Halloween section:

They were .97.  Needless to say, I bought them, without much thought of how I was going to use them.  Now, I know what I am SUPPOSED to do with them--make caramel apples.  But I've never been much of a candy or caramel apple fan, although I should probably give them another 'go' at some point.  As a kid, I had abnormally tiny baby teeth, so I could barely bite into one (I disliked the toughness of bagels for the same reason).

When we made them in first grade, I took one difficult bite of mine while the other kids devoured theirs, thinking how much I would love to have my caramel on ice cream with cookies, rather than on a crummy old mealy Macintosh. Caramel apples seemed suspiciously like a way to make me eat fruit for dessert.  I tended to like caramel only if it was enveloped in chocolate and had no fruit to clutter it up. 

Even now, I'm a bit suspicious about the wet apple to caramel ratio in caramel apples.

But still, the idea of easily-incorporated caramel in a baked good was intriguing.  Cashews were still on the brain from the blondies I posted about yesterday...and these quick, easy cashew butter and caramel muffins have a great balance of flavors: the salt from the cashew and the sweet vanilla and caramel taste from the baking bits. Of course, you could always use any nut butter (or peanut butter) as an alternative if you can't find cashew butter and add some chocolate chips if you need to have chocolate with your caramel.  Chopped apple as well, presumably you don't share my six-year-old self's prejudices...

Cashew Caramel Muffins

--yields 12 muffins--
Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup oil
1 cup whole milk
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup cashew butter

1/2 cup coarsely-chopped salted cashews
1 cup caramel baking bits


Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Line 12 muffin tin liners.
2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Mix oil, eggs, milk, and cashew butter in another bowl. Incorporate dry into wet. Fold in chopped cashews and caramel bits.
4. Pour into liners. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick can be extracted 'clean.'  Cool and serve after removing from muffin tin.

3 comments:

  1. I like the idea of caramel apples more than I like the actual item; like you, I find the ratio all wrong and there's no guarantee that you're going to get a sour crunchy apple rather than a bland mushy one unless you make them yourself, which is not that much work but you end up with too many caramel apples and one ruined pan. Though I do think that whoever invented that round sheet of caramel that you wrap around an apple and microwave is a pure genius. Also, an evil genius.

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  2. @Flurrious--That's true! I didn't even think of the 'disappointing' apple problem, after putting in so much work into creating the apple. Buttering the pan might help with the cleanup though, or spraying it with Pam. I haven't seen those sheets! Imagine putting a chocolate chip cookie in one of them, though...

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