Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes

1 2 3 4 5 6

Makes 12 cupcakes
Adapted from: Emily Levenson
Originally from May 2014 on my old blog
Salted caramel is kind of like pumpkin spice, or red velvet. It’s a trend, but the kind of trend that sticks around for a while, and hopefully lasts forever, because it’s just that good. Ever since I was a kid I had a weird obsession with salt, which I inherited from my mom. I remember at age five or six, sitting in a booth at McDonald’s, taking one of those white plastic salt shakers they had at every table, sprinkling some salt into my palm, and licking it off. Of course, I was given looks of disgust and horror, and I outgrew the embarrassing habit, but I’ve never lost my constant craving for salt. And when salt is paired with sweet, it’s a delicious duo that makes an impact.

My birthday was a couple weeks ago (May 6), so instead of cake, which I’m quite honestly not that big of a fan of, I made myself these! What’s great about cupcakes is that they’re actually so easy, even when making homemade batter. I whipped these up in under an hour, including baking time. They’re cute, simple, and ridiculously yummy.

Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon caramel extract (Note: this can be difficult to find. I couldn’t find it in my grocery store; you can either find it online or in specialty stores, but that didn’t really seem worth it to me for just one recipe, so I used jarred caramel sauce instead).
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup crushed pretzel pieces

For the icing:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon caramel extract (or the sauce)
  • splash of milk, if needed
  • ¼ cup pretzel pieces
  • sea salt

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the caramel extract.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Stir in the pretzel pieces.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17 – 20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Always check a few minutes before the stated baking time. Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry. They may look like the need more time, but if they are firm, take them out because the bottoms can burn easily.)
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.

Make the frosting:

Cream butter with hand mixer. Add powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time. Add caramel extract. Add splash of milk to achieve desired texture (smooth and light).

Once cupcakes are completely cool, frost with the caramel frosting. Top with pretzel pieces. Crack (or sprinkle) your favorite sea salt on top. Happy dining!!

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