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Caramel muffins are typically dessert muffins made with richer ingredients than some other kinds of homemade muffins. Although the process of making them is similar to that of breakfast or fruit muffins, many people prefer them as an after-dinner treat rather than as a breakfast option. Some recipe versions can be topped with a caramel sauce or glaze, while others can have caramel flavoring mixed in with the muffin batter. Many recipes for caramel muffins include instructions for making caramel sauce from scratch, though some cooks prefer to drizzle on the premade caramel syrup commonly used for ice cream sundaes.
The most common basic ingredients for caramel muffins include brown sugar, eggs, softened butter, and all-purpose flour. Many bakers tend to omit the whole wheat flour usually found in breakfast muffins. The resulting caramel muffin recipes often have sweet tastes similar to cake. This type of muffin batter can get more flavor from ingredients such as vanilla extract, white chocolate chips, or semi-sweet cocoa powder. Batches of caramel muffins are typically baked for about 20 to 25 minutes at around 400° F (about 204° C).
Some bakers like to add fruit filling, such as apple or banana, to their caramel muffins. This step can normally be accomplished by peeling and cutting up the fresh fruit of choice and mixing it in with the rest of the muffin ingredients. Caramel apple muffins often consist of cooked apple pieces that have been softened in a skillet ahead of time. Bakers often add mashed bananas to Caramel muffins just as they do with banana bread.
Caramel glaze for the tops of homemade muffins is often made from a mixture of white granulated sugar, melted butter, and heavy whipping cream. Just as with other recipes involving melting solid sugar into liquid caramel, the trick is to avoid scorching the caramel. Many experienced bakers advise that careful attention needs to be paid to stove-top temperature. Some even slowly heat their sugar at a slightly lower temperature than the recipe instructions dictate. Once the mixed glaze is the right consistency, it is usually spooned over the tops of each muffin.
In addition to topping muffins with caramel glaze, many cooks like to include small garnishes such as pecans, pralines, or almonds to the top of each muffin. It is helpful to add these ingredients soon after drizzling the glaze over the muffins. This practice will ensure the garnishes stay in place on each caramel muffin.
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