Ever since I received an amazing homemade caramel sauce from my sister in law for Christmas a few years ago, I’ve wanted to try making it myself. I’ve never been much of a caramel person, but the homemade version that I tasted converted me into a fan of the ooey gooey sweet goodness. I still don’t eat it all that often but I certainly crave it once in a while!
My husband and I don’t usually celebrate Valentine’s Day (we thrifties can’t stand the hiked-up prices at restaurants and spend money on overpriced flowers and gifts ), but I used today as an excuse to indulge in this super sweet treat. I was also in the mood for something cake-y so I decided to make Caramel Muffins — the best of both worlds!
Making the Caramel Sauce
Inspired by this video instruction but modified slightly!
— 1 cup of granulated sugar
— ½ cup milk (many recipes call for heavy cream but I used 2% milk)
— 5 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut in pieces
① Warm the milk in low heat. Pour the sugar in a separate sauce pan and melt in high heat. I learned that the key to caramel making is to work quickly so make sure to have the milk and butter close by!
② The sugar will begin to turn dark after a few minutes.
③ Stir the sugar until it melts into a golden, or even amber-colored syrup.
④ Once the sugar is completely melted, add the butter and stir. Your kitchen will start to smell sweet and lovely right around now!
⑤ Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat (or simply turn off the heat), add the warm milk, and stir. The bubbles will rise but there’s nothing to worry about. Just keep on stirring.
⑥ That’s it! Cool the caramel sauce for a few minutes.
You can simply enjoy the caramel sauce without using it in muffins. It’s great on vanilla (or any flavor) ice cream, in coffee drinks, or just out of the jar! You can transfer the leftover caramel sauce in a clean jar. Let the sauce come to a room temperature before closing the lid.
(You will get a lot more sauce than you see here.)
Making the Caramel Muffins
Ingredients (makes 8 muffins):
Recipe inspired by Asuka, from a Japanese blog お菓子と猫とパリ。.
— 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
— 75 grams granulated sugar
— 180 grams cake flour (Don’t fret if you only have all-purpose flour. Simply remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and replace them with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. I learned this wonderful trick from Joy the Baker)
— 2 eggs
— 1 tablespoon baking powder
— 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
— The caramel sauce (I put some aside for later use)
① Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Line the muffin tin with baking cups (I used my reusable silicon cups) and set aside.
② Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract and mix well. Don’t be lazy here — you need to beat the heck out of the mixture! I used a hand-held mixer for this since my KitchenAid stand mixer was too heavy for me to carry into the kitchen!
③ Add the flour and baking powder, and mix. Don’t over mix here, as the dough can get tough.
④ Add the caramel sauce and mix lightly.
⑤ Pour the mixture into a lined muffin tin. Drizzle a little bit of the leftover caramel sauce (about one tablespoon each) on top of each muffin, for a crunchy muffin top!
⑥ Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean.
⑦ Let them cool on a cooling rack.
I must admit that these muffins didn’t come out perfect in terms of looks but they are still very delicious nonetheless. I think you’ll especially enjoy them if you’re a caramel lover! These muffins have more of the texture of an airy cake than a typical muffin, probably because of the cake flour that was used, instead of the usual all-purpose kind. .
I know that eight muffins are an odd number (most recipe makes 12) but that works out better for me so I won’t end up eating them all! Although every bite is worth it, be warned that these little innocent-looking muffins are super buttery, sugary and incredibly high in calories. Definitely consume in moderation!
These are the orchids that I received from my mother on my birthday last month! It’s not a bouquet of roses, but they are still so beautiful and very appropriate for this romantic day!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, if you celebrate this Hallmark holiday! My husband and I had a not-so-sexy Chinese takeout for dinner tonight but I couldn’t be happier spending the evening with the love of my life.