Caramel Corn Miso Cupcakes

Last year I made some cupcakes with the Japanese snack cookie called  “Mushroom Mountain” (or “Kinoko No Yama”).  Today I present to you another cupcake design that pays homage to a favorite Japanese convenience store snack-aisle staple!

Tohato Caramel Corn is SO good.  It’s similar to Cracker Jacks and comes with peanuts, but has a better crunch that conventional caramel corn.  I bought it three times over the last month with the intention of making this recipe, and all three times I ended up eating the entire bag before I made it to cupcake production.  Pro tip: if you try this recipe, buy lots of back-up bags.

These caramel cupcakes are topped off with fluffy miso caramel buttercream frosting and a few crunchy pieces of the Tohato caramel corn mix.  Miso in a cupcake sounds weird, you say?  I promise, this ultra-umami masterpiece will have you salivating for more in no time.

I love to bring conventionally savory Japanese flavors into my pastry recipes.  Miso is perfect for amping up the nuance of an otherwise too-sweet dessert.  I also love to use sesame, kinako powder, sweet potato, and spicy yuzu kosho in my desserts.  Stay tuned for more umami action in the Hadley Go Lucky kitchen.

Scroll down for the recipe!

For the Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  4. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk. Do not overmix the batter.
  5. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full with batter. Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting.  Don’t melt the frosting with a warm cupcake!

For the Miso Caramel Sauce

(Makes 1 pint; you’ll have some left over for decorating.  From Food52.)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • tablespoons white miso

Instructions:

  1. In a heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat, stir together sugar and water. Without additional stirring, bring mixture to a boil.
  2. When sugar becomes a deep golden brown and wisps of smoke just start to form, remove pan from heat.
  3. Once off the heat, carefully pour in the cream, which will cause the caramel to bubble. Stir to combine.
  4. If the caramel seizes up and hardens with the addition of the cold cream, then put the pan back over low heat and stir until the caramel is liquid again. Whisk in the miso. Allow to cool before using as ingredient in the Caramel Miso Buttercream frosting.

For the Buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup miso caramel sauce

Instructions:

  1. Whip butter in a stand mixer until lightly fluffy.
  2. Gradually incorporate all of the powdered sugar.
  3. Add the miso caramel sauce.  Mix until combined.

 

Cookie Butter Cupcakes

Even stronger than the lure of eating Nutella with a spoon is my gravitational pull towards cookie butter.  Despite the odds, if you have the patience to wait it out and bake some cookie butter cupcakes, you won’t be disappointed.

The cookie butter you know and love is made from European Speculoos, or holiday spice cookies.  Apparently we have the airline Delta to thank for first introducing the cookie to U.S. markets.  And as for the genesis of cookie butter, apparently back in the day it was common in Belgium to create butter sandwiches with cookie crumbles inside, until the handy invention that is cookie butter came to be.

In the future, I want to experiment by making different flavors of homemade cookie butter.  If it isn’t made with Speculoos cookies, will it still be cookie butter?  I intend to find out.  Chocolate chip oatmeal cookie butter on your pancakes, anyone?

This cupcake project rekindled my somewhat dormant cake-for-breakfast habits.

Scroll down for the recipe!

Cookie Butter Cupcakes

(Borrowed from Tastemade. Makes about two dozen cupcakes.)

Ingredients:

  • 429 grams all-purpose flour

  • 265 grams sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • 375 milliliters of milk

  • 125 milliliters vegetable oil

  • 125 grams unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 250 grams melted (not hot) cookie butter

Instructions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, baking powder, caster sugar and salt. Sift ingredients together. Add the softened butter and let it mix until it resembles a fine sand like texture.

  2. Next, add milk, eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk well.

  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl, add 1/2 cup cookie butter and mix until just combined.

  4. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

    Post-baking thoughts: In the original Tastemade recipe, these cupcakes are cored and then filled with cookie butter frosting.  I tried the recipe without coring each cupcake, and found the result to be on the drier, crumbly side.  I liked them this way, but I suggest the coring approach if you’re hankering after a moister cupcake.

Cookie Butter Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup cookie butter, plus extra for decoration
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions:

  1. Beat butter on high with a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add cookie butter and milk and continue to mix.
  3. Add powdered sugar in stages and continue beating until you reach your desired frosting consistency.
  4. Pipe frosting onto cool cupcakes.  If desired, put extra cookie butter into a small piping or ziplock bag, and decorate.