For some reason, I always associate the maple-y flavors with fall. Maybe because that’s when maple syrup is tapped? Maybe because it goes great with pumpkin & cinnamon & nutmeg- all fall/winter flavors. Who knows. And even though it isn’t “fall” yet, the kids are back at school, the stores are shoving Halloween & Thanksgiving stuff in your face, and- like me- you probably have baking season fever. It’s a real thing, I swear.
So… here’s a cure.
No, not having a drink. Making cupcakes! Maple cupcakes. With an extra oomph: a maple glaze using maple syrup, maple rye, and butter.
It’s that time of year when it’s maybe SLIGHTLY (I emphasize slightly) more comfortable for baking, or having the oven on. Maybe if you’re lucky, the humidity is down too. The windows can perhaps be open during the day, as opposed to the constant hum of the air conditioner. Either way, it’s just that time. The time when I transition from canning my ass off to baking. It’s a slow transition, granted- especially when my garden is still in full swing & I’m wearing shorts. But it’s starting.
The smell of autumn isn’t far away.
Which means that it’s time to get started baking again, forreals.
TOASTED WALNUT MAPLE CUPCAKES
Makes about 9 cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and then cooled
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon maple extract
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup Tap 357 Canadian maple rye whiskey
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees F and line baking pan with paper liners.
- Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, whisk together butter, oil, sugar and eggs until smooth. Make sure the butter is cool or you’ll have scrambled eggs- eww.
- Whisk in maple extract and then alternate between whisking in flour mixture and milk. Make three additions of flour mix and two of milk. Beat until smooth.
- Scoop batter into prepared pan, lower the heat to 325° F and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and tops spring back when lightly touched.
- Meanwhile, place the walnuts in a small skillet or pan & toast on medium-low heat until fragrant, or until the desired color (some folks like Jay prefer ’em a bit burnt). Remove from pan immediately or they’ll keep toasting!
- Cool the cupcakes on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.
- Frost cooled cupcakes & sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Drizzle with maple rye whiskey butter glaze (recipe below).
MAPLE RYE WHISKEY BUTTER GLAZE
- 6 tablespoons Tap 357 Canadian maple rye whiskey
- 4 teaspoons confectioner’s sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons REAL maple syrup
- Add butter, sugar and 5 tablespoons of rye whiskey to medium saucepan and, over medium heat, cook, whisking constantly.
- Keep whisking until it begins to bubble all over, not just on the sides. Turn off heat.
- Whisk in the maple syrup and remaining tablespoon of rye whiskey. Transfer to a clean jar and set aside until time to use it (you can also pop it in the fridge).
- Drizzle over frosted & walnut-topped cupcakes.
I never realized until recently how well whiskeys & bourbons go with tons of other flavors. Not to mention the awesome variety of flavored bourbons and/or whiskeys; like this Tap 357 Canadian maple rye whiskey I used. In this recipe you can certainly use any number of whiskeys or bourbons; even plain ones. But there are quite a few with a maple-flavor that really add to this kind of glaze. The toasted nuts (heh- I can never write that without laughing a la Beavis & Butthead) add a nutty, almost buttery flavor themselves that enhance all the maple-y goodness. I wouldn’t skip the toasting part, whatever you do.
Of course, as always, you can remove the alcohol from the equation. The glaze, or sauce, would be a bit harder to modify, but some experimentation would probably hit on a successful method. Or you can just drizzle pure maple syrup over the top!
Nothin’ wrong with that. Oh- and here’s that maple buttercream recipe.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons maple extract
- 4-6 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Combine butter, maple extract and 2 cups confectioners sugar in a large bowl and beat at medium-high speed until smooth.
- Add remaining sugar in gradually until frosting is thick enough to pipe easily. You may not use all the sugar. If icing is too dry, add additional milk until desired consistency is reached.
If you’re really freaky… stirring the walnuts in the batter & adding candied bacon on top of these is CRAZY GOOD. Although adding banana in somehow wouldn’t hurt, either.