Caramel Toffee ‘Pot of Gold’ Cupcakes

Caramel Toffee Pot of Gold CupcakesSee what I did there?

It’s your lucky day. Call it the luck of the Irish, if you will. I’m giving you, and myself, a pot of gold.

POTS. OF. GOLD.

We’re practically rich at this point. Think of all the things we can buy. Unlimited amounts of Ben & Jerry’s. An Endless supply of Oreos. And, peanut butter. Oh, and obviously milk. Hopefully you don’t mind double dipping. Ohhh. Even better. A bigger kitchen. That way I can invite you over to bake with me. You can be my official taste taster. You in?

FINE. I see you shaking your head. You never let me have any fun.

I made us edible pots of gold.

We can’t spend them. BUT. We can eat them. All of them. And, you know what, that doesn’t sound too bad to me.

Caramel Toffee Pot of Gold CupcakesI came up with the idea for these pot of gold cupcakes in a dream. And no, I’m not kidding. Normal people daydream about vacations or winning the lottery or having that magical storybook romance. Not me. I daydream mainly about food. Not eating it so much, but making it. When I stare off into space I’m building recipes, imagining  different flavor combinations, and debating if those combinations would taste better as a cake, cookie, pie, or so on. Foodie dreams. That’s what I have. Don’t judge. It does happen to some people. I can’t be the only one. Right?

I wanted to make a cupcake that was St. Patrick’s themed, but I didn’t want it to be green or involve four-leaf clovers…there are way too many adorably indulgent desserts already with those two things. So, I started thinking. What else screams March 17th?

Bailey’s Irish Cream. Tad bit predictable. Jameson Irish Whiskey. I don’t even like whiskey. Leprechauns. Would be hard to make into a dessert. Hmm. What’s related to a leprechauns? Gold. I could make gold cookies. Wait. Pots of gold. BINGO. I found a winner—keep in mind that’s basically a direct quote of my inner monologue. Your welcome for sharing my craziness.

Once I had the idea of making pots of gold, the recipe just sort of fell into place. Hellllllllo caramel toffee cupcakes topped with a fluffy caramel marshmallow frosting, coated with caramel, and sprinkled generously with toffee pieces.

Caramel Toffee Pot of Gold CupcakesLet’s break this down more slowly.

Caramel toffee cupcakes. They are ridiculously moist, soft, and caramely. Toffee pieces are scattered throughout the cupcake, making the caramel flavoring even richer. Each cupcake is then topped with Caramel Marshmallow Frosting. This frosting tastes like a combination of cool whip and marshmallows subtly infused with hints of caramel. Yes, that is a thing. And yes, it’s to die for. Once topped with the fluffy frosting, the cupcake is dipped in a caramel bath (can we make that a thing?) and then sprinkled generously with toffee pieces aka pieces of gold. Together, as whole, this cupcake is heavenly.

Caramel Toffee Pot of Gold CupcakesOne thing though…if you notice, I have some chocolate pieces on top of each cupcake too. That’s because I mistakenly grabbed a bag of milk chocolate toffee pieces and not just plain toffee pieces. I noticed this as I was melting my caramel, which meant I was going to be making pots of gold filled with sparkly, and dull, gold pieces. Don’t make my mistake if you want pure pots of gold. Or, do make my mistake. The hints of chocolate are a nice surprise for the taste buds amidst all that caramel and toffee.
Caramel Toffee Pot of Gold Cupcakes

Caramel Toffee Pot of Gold Cupcakes
Yields: about 13 cupcakes

Ingredients:
Caramel Toffee Cupcakes
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup golden brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup milk (don’t use skim or 1%)
½ cup toffee bits

Caramel Marshmallow Frosting
1 ½ cup sugar
3 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon vanilla
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon caramel extract (add more depending on your taste)

Caramel Coating & Gold Pieces
11 oz bag of vanilla caramel squares for melting (I had about 6 leftover squares)
2/3 cup toffee bits

Directions:
Caramel Toffee Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and both sugars together at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 ½ minutes.
Mix in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, until incorporated.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, scraping down the sides as needed.
Slowly stir in the milk, until just combined.
Using a spatula, fold in the toffee bits.
Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full, dividing the batter evenly between the cupcakes. Bake for about 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack for cooling. Let cool completely before frosting, at least an hour.

Caramel Marshmallow Frosting
Before you start making the frosting, clear a space in your freezer to put the frosted cupcakes.
Set a pan of water over medium heat and bring to just barely a simmer.
In a heatproof bowl, beat together sugar, egg whites, water, and cream of tartar, using a handheld electric mixer on high until foamy.
Set bowl over pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and beat mixture on high until frosting forms stiff peaks, about 15-20 minutes (yes, it’s an arm workout); candy thermometer should read 160 degrees.
Remove from heat and beat in vanilla and caramel, about two minutes or until frosting is of a thick enough consistency.
Using an ice cream scooper, scoop a ball of frosting on the top of each cupcake in the middle.
Let cupcakes sit in the freezer for about 30 minutes or until frosting has set enough that you can flip the cupcakes upside down without the frosting falling off.

Caramel Coating & Gold Pieces
While the frosting is setting melt caramel squares as directed on the package in a tall cup or deep bowl. Let melted caramel cool to room temperature—you want it to be cooled, but of drizzling consistency.
Holding a frosted cupcake upside down, dip the cupcake into the melted caramel—allow excess caramel to drip off.
Let caramel coated cupcake sit for a minute or so and then sprinkle with toffee bits—I found that if I sprinkled the cupcakes right away, some of the toffee pieces made the caramel drip off.
Place cupcakes in the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until the caramel coating has slightly hardened.

*cupcake recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

This cupcake wanted to take a picture with these gold coins. In a mason jar. With a gold bow. Such a cupcake diva.

Caramel Toffee Pot of Gold Cupcakes

Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns

Pumpkin Pecan Sticky BunsHello Friends.

I know I’ve gone a little pumpkin crazy on you. I’m sorrrry. I couldn’t help it. Honest.

I swear I’ll stop now. After I share this recipe. Pinky Promise.

I had to leave you with one last kick butt pumpkin recipe. It’s my duty. Or, I made it my duty. Either way. Feel free to thank me. Perhaps even a round of applause? I know, I’m asking for too much.

But, seriously, prepare yourself.

Take a deep breath.

Get ready to grab a fork. And, a napkin. A bigggg napkin.

I give you the wonderful, the sticky, the gooey ooey, delicious Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Bun. Or, in other words, the perfect way to start your Thanksgiving (that is, if you aren’t pumpkin-ed out).
Pumpkin Pecan Sticky BunsHellllllo Thanksgiving Breakfast. Why shouldn’t you start and end the day with scrumptious food? Who decided Thanksgiving should only be about dinner and dessert? A crazy person who never tried these buns, that’s who.

These Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns are like cinnamon rolls on crack with a whole bunch more flavor and a lot more sticky. The buns are made from a pumpkin dough that bakes up into a chewy, spice filled, soft bun that pairs perfectly with the brown sugar filling, giving it that perfect pumpkiny taste we all loveeee. The top side of the bun is covered in a gooey caramel syrup, that gives the bun a more sugary flavor, as well as crunchy pecans that bring together this spice & sugar filled breakfast treat.

Want to know my favorite part about Thanksgiving? It’s the moment right before dinner, when my entire family sits down at the table (usually a few tables put together) and starts passing around all the yummy dishes. It’s not my favorite because we spent the whole day cooking and the feast is finally done. Or, because I’m moments away from entering a joyous food coma either. It’s my favorite because it’s the first time all day that my family (including relatives I don’t see on a daily basis) is together, in the same spot, enjoying themselves, smiling from ear to ear. That’s why I like it. And that’s why I wanted to make it happen for breakfast too.

Pumpkin Pecan Sticky BunsWhat can I say? I love me some family time. And, I’m beyond thankful for the wonderful people in my life. And, the fact that they let me plump them up with baked goods. You know what else I’m thankful for? Good health, supportive friends, smiling faces, dessert, and you.

Yes, you. You, reading this post, thank you. Thank you for making my baking blog dreams a reality. Thank you for supporting me in my endeavors in the kitchen. And thank you for using my recipes to make your family and friend’s stomach’s happy.

So, Happy {Early} Thanksgiving. Hope you have an amazing day that starts with your breakfast :)

Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns
Yields: About 12 buns

Ingredients:
Pumpkin Dough
½ cup milk (I’m using 2%, but whole milk would work too!)
½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
¼ cup golden (or light) brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
Oil for coating the bowl

Filling
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar

Caramel Syrup
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup (1 stick) light corn syrup

Directions:
Making the Pumpkin Dough
Warm milk and butter together in the microwave or over the stove. Set aside to cool slightly (the mixture should be warm, but not scalding hot). Depending on the type of yeast you are using, you can use a thermometer to measure the exact temperature needed for that yeast.
Sprinkle yeast on the surface of the milk and butter mixture and let rest for about 2 minutes before gently stirring together. Let sit for another 5 minutes.
In bowl of a stand mixer, combine 3 cups of flour, sugars, salt, and spices. Whisk until well-combined.
Add the yeast-milk-butter mixture to the flour mixture. Mix on low until combined.
Add egg and pumpkin puree. Stir until incorporated.
Switch to the dough hook for mixing, and add the remaining cup of flour. Combine until the dough separates from the sides of the bowl.
Coat the inside of a large bowl with oil and scrape the dough mixture into it. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Set aside for about 1 ½ to 2 hours (or until double in size) in a warm, draft free place.

Making the Caramel Syrup
Grease the 12 tin cups of a muffin pan. Set aside.
Combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until sugar has dissolved completely.
Remove from heat and spoon 1 ½ tablespoons into the tin cups of the greased muffin pan.
Evenly sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the syrup. Set aside.

Making the Filling & the Buns
In a small bowl, combine sugars and pumpkin pie spice.
On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 16×19-inch rectangle (or as close as you can get to a rectangle). Flour your rolling pin as necessary.
Brush melted butter all over the rolled dough and then sprinkle evenly with the sugar mixture.
Starting with the long side, tightly (and gently) roll up the dough into a spiral—it’s okay if some of the filling falls out.
Using a sharp serrated knife, gently move the knife back and forth, applying no pressure, until the dough spiral is cut into 12 buns—I cut off the ‘butts’ (the not so rolled up ends) of the dough spiral, and then baked them in a separate tin…no need to waste pumpkin goodness.
Place each roll in the muffin pan on top of the syrup. Cover the pan with greased plastic wrap and let rise for about another 45 to 60 minutes (until double in size).
*If you want to prepare these in advance, place the plastic wrap covered muffin pan in the fridge over night. In the morning, let the buns sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking them.

Baking the Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake buns for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert rolls onto a cooling rack. Make sure you have a piece of wax paper under the cooling rack to catch any dripping caramel.
Serve warm and ENJOY :)

 

Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns