Butternut Cupcakes with Salted Caramel and Maple Brown Butter Icing
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, halved, and seeded (or 1 cup pumpkin puree)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, divided
1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Caramel Filling: 1 cup sugar
1 quart whole milk
1/4 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 1/2 Tbls. water.
1 Vanilla Bean
Ginger Salt and cooked, crumbled bacon for garnish
1 Batch of Maple Brown Butter Icing
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Slice squash into four equal pieces and place in a baking dish.
Top each with a pat of butter and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until very tender.
Mash with a potato masher or a fork until squash becomes like a thick puree. Set aside to cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Melt remaining butter and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
In another bowl, whisk sugars, egg, and 1 cup of the cooled squash puree. Slowly whisk in cooled melted butter.
Pour squash mixture into flour mixture and fold to combine.
Using a cupcake scoop, fill lined muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before inverting tins.
Prepare the caramel filling by first splitting open your vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out about a 1/4 tsp. and set aside for the icing.
Toss the bean along with the sugar and milk into a large heavy bottomed pot.
Simmer, stirring constantly, over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat and stir in baking soda mixture.
Once bubbling subsides, return to heat.
Bring to a brisk simmer, but not a boil.
Cook, stirring regularly, until milk begins to turn golden. This takes about an hour.
Continue stirring and cooking until milk begins to brown, making sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Once a soft ball begins to form, the caramel is ready.
Remove from heat and remove vanilla bean.
Fill cupcakes by cutting a small inverted cone shape from the top of each. Spoon warm caramel into the hole and sprinkle with ginger salt.
Top with Maple Brown Butter Icing and garnish with more ginger salt and bacon.
Pairs Well With
Caramel Filling adapted from Rick Bayless's Cajeta