Dessert

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s time for the final seasonal cupcakes on Lemon & Mocha! Of course not the last seasonal cupcakes I’m ever going to post, just the final ones this year. For those of you who haven’t been following along, last year for my birthday my goddaughter gifted me with unique cupcake toppers from Etsy for each season. The cute toppers inspired plenty of delicious cupcakes all year long, including winter’s Hot Chocolate Cupcakes, the Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes in spring and summer’s Classic Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream.

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

There are so many warm and inviting fall flavors to choose from so I decided to go with two of my favorites: apple and maple. These are Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream – and they are crazy delicious. The cupcake is moist, loaded with shredded apple and filled with plenty of the warming spices you find in apple pie, such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

The buttercream on top balances both the maple and brown sugar flavors while bringing the perfect amount of sweetness to the little apple spiced cupcakes. There’s also a hint of saltiness in the buttercream, which really works well with the sweet flavors.

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

I chose to make mini cupcakes this time because I’ve been baking so many desserts that just a little mini cupcake (or two) was preferable to having a huge cupcake every time. They were super easy to frost with a piping bag, too, because each one just needs a little dollop of frosting.

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was worried about making a cupcake filled with fruit because sometimes it can add too much moisture to the batter, as seen from a few failed experiments I had this summer. I’m excited to report that the combination of straining and squeezing the shredded apple dry to get as much liquid out as possible worked perfectly to allow for a moist apple-filled cupcake, while still having that light and springy texture an ideal cupcake should have. I hope you all love these cute fall mini cupcakes as much as we do!

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream
 
Yield: 48 mini cupcakes
Ingredients
for the cupcakes
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup buttermilk (see note)
  • 3 cups peeled, shredded and strained gala apples, about 3-4 medium apples
for the frosting
  • 2¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
for the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 24 cup mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes, scrapping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Add the buttermilk and beat on low until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until a few streaks remain. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the shredded apple, making sure you’ve strained the water out and squeezed the apple shreds dry with a paper towel or cheesecloth.
  4. Use half the batter to fill the 24 prepared mini cupcake liners. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool for a couple minutes in the pan then carefully move the mini cupcakes to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Add 24 more cupcake liners to the pan and repeat with the rest of the batter.
for the frosting
  1. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the confectioners’ sugar, brown sugar, butter and salt, first on low then on medium until fluffy. Add the maple syrup and vanilla then beat on medium-high until combined. Frost the cooled cupcakes. If piping on the frosting, use a Wilton 1M tip to pipe small star swirls onto each mini cupcake.
Notes
To make your own buttermilk: pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Pour milk, any fat percentage, into the measuring cup until you have ¾ of a cup. Let sit 5 minutes before using.

Cupcake recipe adapted from Chowhound.
Frosting recipe adapted from Country Living.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

Once October hits I am all about the pumpkins. Not just pumpkin flavors, like Friday’s Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies, but actual pumpkins. My house is usually covered in them during this time of year, from actual pumpkins on our doorstep, pumpkin wreath on our door, indoor ceramic pumpkins, fabric pumpkins, wood signs with pumpkins… you get the idea!

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

One other form of pumpkin I look forward to this time of year are mellowcreme pumpkins. Yes! Those corn syrup, sugary pumpkin candies that look like candy corn, but taste way better. The little sugar bombs are creamy on the inside and look so adorable right before you snarf them down. I have tasted plenty that taste waxy so the brand you buy is key in them actually tasting delicious or not. My go-to is Zachary’s, which can be difficult to find, but I can usually find them at the Christmas Tree Shop. I normally hate Brach’s, however, I believe they may have changed their recipe, including adding honey, and I bought a bag this year that was actually pretty good.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

The reason we’re buying these cute sugary pumpkin candies is so we can make cute nostalgic haystack treats! Did you have these when you were a kid? I haven’t had them for years and years, but I was dying to make some.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

Butterscotch flavored chips are melted down and then mixed together with creamy peanut butter, mini marshmallows and crunchy chow mein noodles. You drop them onto a baking sheet to make little haystacks; don’t forget to plop a little mellowcreme pumpkin onto each one! The combination may sound a bit strange, but they are buttery, sweet, crunchy and crazy addictive. I couldn’t stop eating them!

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s a good thing I made only a half batch, which you can easily do. The recipe below will make about seventy haystacks so you will probably want to halve it as well unless you are making them for a party or a large group of people. Some recipes substitute peanuts for the mini marshmallows, but I love the soft and gooey texture they add. Have you ever had these fun and tasty treats before?

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks
 
Yield: about 70 haystacks
Ingredients
  • 11-ounce bag of butterscotch flavored morsels (about 1⅔ cups)
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3½ cups miniature marshmallows
  • 2 5-ounce cans chow mein noodles
  • 1-2 bags pumpkin mellowcremes
Directions
  1. Line 2 baking sheets that will fit in your fridge with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Melt the butterscotch morsels using either a double boiler or a microwave. If you’re using a double boiler, melt the morsels over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then skip to the next step. If you’re using a microwave, heat the morsels in a large microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir then continue to microwave and stir in 15 second increments until they’re melted.
  3. Stir in the peanut butter and the mini marshmallows. Stir in both cans of the chow mein noodles until completely coated. Spoon little stacks onto the prepared baking sheets, adding a pumpkin mellowcreme to each stack. Put in the fridge to set completely.
  4. Once set, you can either store at room temperature or in the fridge.

Recipe from Nestle.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy October! I know it’s been October since Tuesday and I’ve already posted since then, but now that I’m sharing a pumpkin recipe with you all it feels more official. I’m super unique and love pumpkin recipes in the fall. Especially baked goods because the smell that fills up the kitchen is amazing.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & MochaFood Network Magazine stayed true to the season and made their October cookies these Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies. I’ve made whoopie pies in the past, but they turned out a little dense so I was curious to see how their pumpkin spice version would stack up.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha

First of all, I love that the cookies for these whoopie pies are so cute and little! Especially because once you sandwich two together with some filling it ends up being quite a lot so they really are the perfect size.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Second, they are moist, definitely not dense and packed with pumpkin spice goodness! I ate one on its own while it was still warm and it was so good. Kind of like a little pumpkin cake in a cookie shape.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The filling is a coffee buttercream, which is a delicious combination with the pumpkin flavoring. Don’t forget the fun fall sprinkles to roll them in!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies
 
Yield: 15-16 2" whoopie pies
Ingredients
for the cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
for the filling
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Fall sprinkles or nonpareils, for decorating
Directions
for the cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, making sure to position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in the large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, beat until combined. Add the pumpkin puree and beat on low speed until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined.
  4. Scoop 1½ tablespoon mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Use damp fingers to shape them into rounds. Alternatively, use a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip to pipe 1½-inch rounds of batter. Bake for 14-16 minutes, switching the pans halfway through baking. They are done when they’re golden and the tops spring back with lightly pressed. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet set on a wire cooling rack then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Let the baking sheets cool slightly then repeat with the remaining batter.
for the filling
  1. Combine the milk and instant coffee in a small bowl until the coffee dissolves.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes, or until smooth. Add the milk mixture then beat on medium-low until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, or until slightly firm.
  3. When the cookies are cool and the filling is slightly firm, sandwich about 1 tablespoon of filling between 2 cookies. Roll the edges in sprinkles. If the filling is too soft, refrigerate the whoopie pies for 30 minutes, but let sit at room temperature before serving.

 Recipe adapted from January/February 2019 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Can you believe we’re already nine months into the Food Network Magazine’s Calendar of Cookies? Food Network Magazine definitely likes the September baked treat to be peanut butter and jelly themed, as seen with last year’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins, and I am not mad about it at all. In fact I’m thrilled about it because I love a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Also, I was a huge fan of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins so I couldn’t wait to try their cookie rendition.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

I did deviate a bit from the original recipe, but I think you will thank me for it because I seriously shortened the prep and fussiness time while still staying true to the exact flavors of the recipe. So, today for you I have Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies. The original recipe involved rolling the dough out into rectangles and baking little sandwich cookies with the jam in between, but I figured thumbprint cookies are a true classic for a reason.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

They are simple to make, it’s okay if they don’t look perfect and, most importantly, they are easy to eat. I didn’t change anything about the peanut butter dough from the recipe and I’m so glad because it makes the most perfect crumbly peanut butter cookies that are the ultimate vessel for that dollop of jelly.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

They also taste delicious on their own, which I know both by sneaking one or two right from the oven and because I froze a bunch of these cookies without the jam and was too lazy to fill them before munching away on them. Similar to the Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins recipe, there’s a little whole wheat flour mixed into the dough so the cookies really give you that peanut butter and jelly sandwich nostalgia.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

You can use any jelly you prefer to fill these Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies. The original recipe calls for grape, but I’ve used raspberry, triple berry and apricot so far and they’ve all been delicious. Side note: apparently we have a lot of jelly flavors in our fridge! If you are a peanut butter and jelly fan I know you will love these cookies! Okay, only three more months of Food Network Magazine monthly cookies left! Stay tuned!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies
 
Yield: 30 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ cups smooth peanut butter (not natural)
  • ⅔ cup raspberry, strawberry or other jelly of choice
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the peanut butter and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture then beat on low until just combined.
  4. Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop out 30 balls of cookie dough between the 2 prepared baking sheets. Use your thumb or the handle of a wooden spoon to press a small indent into each cookie ball. Bake for 12-13 minutes. The edges of the cookie should be browned. Let side on the pan for 3 minutes then use the handle of the wooden spoon to re-make the indents in the center of each cookie. Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, add 1 teaspoon of jelly into each indent.

 Recipe adapted from January/February 2019 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

We’re celebrating the start of apple picking season here on Lemon & Mocha all week and I saved the best for last. Why is it the best? Because it is heavy on the chocolate and anything involving chocolate immediately jumps to the top of the list for me. Especially when there’s chocolate covered apples, too.

Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you haven’t had chocolate covered apples before then you are seriously missing out, but you could remedy that this weekend by making these over-the-top Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Cupcakes. The base of these cupcakes is my Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes. They are fluffy, moist and rich with chocolate flavor.

Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

On top we have an apple cider cream cheese frosting. We’re using the same technique from Tuesday’s Baked Apple Cider Donuts of reducing down apple cider to get a concentrated spiced apple flavor. This apple cider reduction is whipped into the cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Next, we have chocolate covered apple wedges. I decorated mine with mini M&M’s because the more chocolate the better and I love the pop of color they add to the cupcakes. You can use any of your favorite candy apple toppings, such as toffee, nuts or even Oreos. Or you could just drizzle with some melted white chocolate or melted peanut butter chips – yum! Finally, I added a generous drizzle of salted caramel sauce. You could make your own or you could buy your favorite brand and drizzle away.

Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I made these cupcakes last year for a fun girls weekend where we did all the fall things, including apple picking of course. They were a big hit and I’m getting so hungry looking at the photos that I think I will definitely have to make them again this fall! Enjoy, friends, and have a great weekend!

Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Cupcakes
 
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
for the cupcakes
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk, see note
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee, see note
for the frosting
  • ¾ cup apple cider
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (use block cream cheese)
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
for topping
  • 2 apples, cored and cut into wedges (a total of 24 wedges)
  • 1⅓ cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Mini M&Ms or other preferred topping
  • Salted caramel topping, such as Smucker’s brand
Directions
for the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth.
  4. Pour the hot coffee into the batter and stir until combined. The batter will be extremely liquidy. Divide the batter between the 24 cupcake liners, filling them slightly more than half full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back mostly clean. Alternatively, they are done when you gently press your finger on the center of a cupcake and it lightly springs back. I find mine to be done at exactly 19 minutes.
  5. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes then remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
for the frosting
  1. Simmer the apple cider in a small saucepan over low heat until it has reduced to ¼ cup. It will not thicken, but it will get darker. This may take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Once reduced let cool completely.
  2. Beat the cream cheese and the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitting with a whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and slowly beat until combined, increasing speed as it combines. Add the vanilla extract, salt and reduced apple cider and beat to combine. If the frosting isn’t firm enough to pipe after adding the apple cider add more powdered sugar until the desired stiffness is reached.
for topping
  1. Line a baking sheet that will fit in your fridge with wax paper and set aside.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup or other narrow, tall microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and the coconut oil for 30 seconds. Stir, then continue heating in 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Use a fork to help you completely dip an apple wedge into the melted chocolate. Place on the prepared baking sheet then sprinkle with the mini M&Ms or other topping. Repeat for the remaining apple wedges. If you need to reheat your chocolate, do it at 15 second intervals. Place the apple wedges in the fridge and let set until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. To decorate the cooled cupcakes, pipe the apple cider cream cheese onto the cupcakes. Top with a chocolate covered apple wedge and then a drizzle of the salted caramel topping. If you aren’t serving right away, wait to top the cupcakes with the apple wedges and caramel sauce. Frosted cupcakes need to stay refrigerated because it’s a cream cheese frosting.
Notes
To make your own buttermilk: pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Pour milk, any fat percentage, into the measuring cup until you have 1 cup. Let sit for 5 minutes before using.
If you don’t want to use coffee you can use hot water, but the flavor of the chocolate won’t be as pronounced. You can use decaffeinated coffee if you prefer.
The cupcakes, unfrosted, freeze very well if you want to make them ahead of time.