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Yid.Dish: Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes

So, this year marked my first Thanksgiving as a newly wed in New York. After all the amazing simcha of engagement parties, auf rufs (we had two), the wedding, and sheva brachot celebrations over the last month, a very small {quiet} Thanksgiving dinner with our downstairs neighbors seemed like a good way to detox. Maybe there’d be a little Boggle, maybe a little football watching, and perhaps some crafting and good beer drinking. But fuss? That was definitely not on the menu.

My husband, Yosh, was psyched to make his first turkey – a Wise Organic Pastures (kosher, organic, free-range) 14 pounder stuffed with sage and oranges. I was in charge of sweet potatoes, biscuits, a citrus, avocado, and radish salad, and seasonal dessert of some kind. Simple enough except, as a milchigtarian, I am used to having butter, milk, and cream as my building blocks.

I turned to my cookbooks looking for parve inspiration, and was delighted to find this amazing recipe for vegan caramel apple spice cupcakes in the pinnacle of all vegan cookbooks (thus far), Veganomicon. Moist (very moist!), incredibly sweet, and studded with chunks of caramelized apple, they were the perfect end to a relaxing Brooklyn Thanksgiving. I doubt that author, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, intended for the recipes in her vegan treasure trove to accompany kosher meat meals, but I was certainly thankful to find them.

Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes Recipe adapted from Veganomicon. FYI – this recipes makes about 12 cupcakes, with enough batter leftover for a small bundt cake…or more cupcakes.

2 pink lady apples (or other tart apple)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon non hydrogenated vegan margarine

1 cup almond milk

1/3 cup canola oil

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Caramel-Penuche Frosting

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegan margarine

1 tablespoon molasses

1/3 cup almond milk

pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper (or reusable) liners.

Leaving skin on apples, core and dice them into small pieces. Heat brown sugar and margarine in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture begins to bubble. Add apple pieces and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the water has evaporated and apples are lightly caramelized, about 12 min. Remove from heat.

In a larger bowl, whisk together almond milk and lemon juice, and all to sit for a minute to curdle. Add the canola oil, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla, and beat well Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the sauteed apples.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of way with batter and bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center. When done, remove from the oven and cool on wire racks.

To make the frosting:

Combine the sugar, margarine, molasses, almond milk, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir and bring to a boil and allow mixture to boil for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

When the frosting mixture has cooled slightly and is still warm, stir in half the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla, then beat with electric beaters for 2-3 minutes, until creamy. (I did this mixing by hand, but had to add a little extra warm water to get it to the right consistency.) Slowly beat in the remaining confectioners’ sugar until a thick, fudge like frosting forms. Frost and sprinkle with chopped pecans. If the frosting cools too much or gets too hard, just add a smidge of hot water and stir.

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