A couple of days ago, on my way home from classes I stopped by Starbucks and picked up a salted caramel mocha. It was the perfect way to end a long day, especially since the air was just a little bit chilly and it was starting to smell like fall.
So for the past several days I have been craving caramel, but I am not super excited to spring $4 on another mocha. The answer? Cupcakes, as usual.
I have been wanting to make my own caramel for awhile now, but I am always nervous about trying it because I don't have all the fancy equipment and candy thermometers that a lot of recipes call for. Then I came across this recipe, which had lots of helpful pictures and explanations, and decided to just go for it.
Totally worth a little bit of nerves. The caramel sauce made me a little nervous when the butter refused to incorporate with the cooked sugar, but after a lot of whisking it turned out. And it is delicious. You can make it with or without the salt, but the salted version is really wonderful.
The cupcakes also include a step where you cook the sugar and butter on the stove. I was a little reluctant to do this step, since it not only adds more time and dishes, but it isn't the usual procedure for cupcakes. I realized though, that you are sort of making another caramel which goes directly into the cupcake batter, so the chocolate cupcakes actually have a hint of a caramel flavor.
So happy official last day of summer, and welcome to fall. What a better way to celebrate than a salted caramel mocha cupcake?