How do you like those apples?

You know what kind of person I am? I’m the kind of person who has homemade applesauce in her refrigerator.

This month, anyway.

Move days 4 (applesauce) and 5 (applesauce-spice cupcakes) of this month’s apple challenge to the “finished” column of the month-long “to make” list. So far, so good!

10-Minute Applesauce

  • 3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 cup unfiltered apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a sealable microwave-safe container, combine apples with all other ingredients. Close lid, leaving one corner of lid open to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 10 minutes.

Using a hand blender or potato masher, blend to desired consistency. Serve hot immediately or chill for later use.

Recipe courtesy of Good Eats: The Early Years by Alton Brown

APPLESAUCE-SPICE CUPCAKES

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
  • Brown-Sugar Cream-Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

With an electric mixture on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add applesauce and then flour mixture, beating until just combined after each. Stir in pecans by hand.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

BROWN-SUGAR CREAM-CHEESE FROSTING

  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar

With an electric mixture on medium-high speed, beat butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar until smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate up to 3 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to a room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth.

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone’s Favorite Treat by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living

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