It’s that time of year again when you’re shuttling a bunch of kids around to all of those non-stop after school activities. In my day, that meant Mom would pick up a car pool of kids, pile them in the back of our station wagon then pick up two-dozen hot glazed donuts from Lucy Lynn Bakery and deliver her cargo to the Girl Scout meeting. These days, many schools are encouraging parents to steer clear of greasy, hydrogenated junk food as in-school treats, favoring fresh fruits, yogurt and healthy snacks. I applaud these efforts. However, when 3:00 PM hits so does hunger and sometimes a box of trail mix just won’t do the trick. When the natives are restless you want to keep them happy! You could drive them through MacDonalds or your could consider the retro concept of home made cupcakes. You control the ingredients and your kids learn to bake something new. In September, I look to the classic apple theme for inspiration. What could be a better back to school tradition than caramel apples on a stick? (The cinnamon candy kind always got stuck on everyone’s braces.) These easy to mix cupcakes are topped with melted caramels, garnished with chopped walnuts and have sticks in the center, just like old fashioned caramel apples.
(MAKES ABOUT 1 DOZEN) CUPCAKES:
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1, 14 oz bag of caramels, wrappers removed
2 Tbs milk
1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
12 popsicle sticks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt in mixing bowl. In separate bowl blend together applesauce, sour cream, oil, lemon juice, egg and vanilla. Mix into dry ingredients. Pour batter into paper lined muffin tins and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Melt caramels milk in a double boiler, stirring until smooth (start . Spread caramel on the tops of cupcakes.
Sprinkle chopped walnuts around the edge of cakes and insert a popsicle stick in the center of each.