For some reason I really like baking cookies. Alot. Most of the recipes I share are for cookies-they look good, are easy to bake and serve and they freeze well. For the holiday season my most popular recipe is for simple honey cookies. I also shared a recipe for honey sugar cookies and honey whoopie pies which are like an elevated snack cookie/cake hybrid. So naturally when I found an old recipe for apple honey cookies I knew it would be a perfect recipe for the Jewish New Year. After baking the first batch, the cookies were just too soft and tender to hold up as a cookie, and they were coming out all wonky instead of perfectly cute and even. I thought they would be better suited as a muffin. They needed a bit of excitement though, the batter itself was a little one note for me. So I added a simple crumb topping. Then the crumb topping really just needed a bit of icing, but that’s totally optional. My family really doesn’t like traditional honey cake so I’m always looking for recipes that work in apples and honey and this one is perfect! The muffins are sweet, spiced and tender with bits of fresh apples throughout. The crumbs give the muffins a bit of a crunch and the icing adds a touch of sweetness. There is quite a bit of honey in the recipe and these muffins go perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee, but they definitely don’t taste like that old school dry honey cake.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin or cupcake pans with 18 liners and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the shortening, brown sugar, and honey until smooth.
Mix in the eggs and sour cream and beat until smooth.
Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Peel and core the apples and then dice them into small pieces. Stir them into the batter.
Divide the batter between the cupcake pans, filling each about ¾ of the way full.
In a small bowl, mix the xugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Pour in the oil and mix until large crumbs form.
Sprinkle about 1 Tbs. of topping on each muffin.
Bake for about 15 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and spring back to the touch.
Allow to cool before adding the icing.
In a small bowl, pour in the powdered sugar. Slowly sir in a bit of water at a time until the icing is a nice thick consistency. Use a spoon to drizzle a bit of icing on each muffin. I prefer to fill a disposable pastry bag with the icing and drizzle it that way. You can also use a Ziploc bag and snip the tiniest hole in the corner.
Some tips: I like baking with granny smith apples since they don’t break down in the oven, they really hold their shape.
Store in an airtight container, but I wouldn’t keep them at room temperature for too long, since the apples can start to go bad. Refrigerate for short term, but the fridge can cause baked goods to dry out. The best storage solution is to freeze them until ready to serve. The muffins defrost really quickly.
I thought of this idea for a gumball machine cupcake a while ago. I have seen similar ideas around, but nothing exactly like this. Let me explain with lots of pictures how I made these cute edible favors.
I started by baking vanilla cupcakes in these cute individual paper liners. I love these cupcake cups by Paper Eskimo. These paper cups can be baked right on a baking sheet, no need for a special cupcake pan.
Once the cupcakes were cooled I covered the tops in royal icing and turned them directly onto these silver cardboard disks. They are like tiny little cake boards. I found them at my local craft store. I allowed the icing to dry for a few hours to make sure the cupcakes were good and stuck.
I used a craft knife to slice holes into the bottom of the cupcake cups. Then I poked a dowel through the slits to make the holes a little larger. The final step is to fill a Christmas ornament with gumballs and fit it upside down into the hole of the cupcake. I ordered my ornaments from Oriental Trading and didn’t realize they were very small. The opening in the ornament was super tiny, and I couldn’t find gumballs small enough so I used candy coated chocolate Sixlets.
They looked super cute all wrapped up! Wilton sells these treat bags with the silver board and a ribbon (I used silver twist ties instead) in a great little pack. Everyone loved these cute little party favors and I can’t wait to make them again. They can be made with any color cupcake cup and filled with any colors of candy to match every party color scheme!
I keep seeing these cupcakes all over Pinterest. If you don’t know what Pinterest is, you are missing out! It’s my favorite new obsession; I don’t know how I ever lived without it. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard; a place to keep all your great internet finds indexed and accessible. There is no need to bookmark a crafty project or print out every recipe you want to try. Just pin it to your personalized boards and voila! It’s right there for you when you need it. I can spend hours browsing other pinners pins, it’s really addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. As I was saying, I have seen these popcorn cupcakes all over Pinterest and I obviously had to pin the idea. I knew that I would make them at some point in the near future and then Purim came around. What a perfect opportunity to try these cupcakes!
The “popcorn” is actually made from mini marshmallows that I snipped to give them the fluffy air popped look. The “popcorn” looked good but it was missing something: the butter! So I pulled out my trusty airbrush and hit them with a shot of yellow and gold food coloring. My husband actually thought it was real popcorn and told me I was weird for putting it on a cupcake. Now I wasn’t really going to make these cupcakes until I found the perfect containers at Michael’s Art’s and Craft’s Store.
Once I saw these cardboard bags I knew I could fill them with the cutest popcorn cupcakes. Two regular sized cupcakes stacked on top of one another fit perfectly. Then the whole bag fit nicely inside tall clear bags I always have on hand.
My cute little packages weren’t complete until they had sugar cookie movie ticket tags.
Here is Charlie in his cool biker dude costume. He is a lot bigger than last year, but just as cute! Happy Purim!