Mini Caramel Apple Pies

Caramel Apple Mini Pies - Photo by Jason Walker-Yung

Mini Apple Pies topped with Sonoma Syrup Co. Salted Caramel

It is fall here in New York, and the delicious, fresh-off-the-tree apples are to be had in abundance. I don’t want any to go to waste, so it was apple pie time! Of course, I had to try baking some in cupcake tins.


Baking what I blog, I followed my instructions for making and freezing apple pie filling. I used 7 apples, which were 2 1/2 pounds once peeled and cut. Juice from a Limoneira lemon along with cinnamon and nutmeg flavored the filling. I needed only about 1/3 of it to make 12 mini apple pies, so I froze the rest for a future pie.

Amelie Peeling Apples

I cut the apples in chunks rather than slices to better fit the muffin tins, and I perhaps could have cut smaller, though I did not want it to turn into applesauce. I could only get about 4 pieces of apple in each. It was enough, though I felt there were some gaps in a few pies (gasp!).

Cooking Apple Filling


I’ve had good results with Simply Recipes‘ all-butter crust recipe, though I use a stand mixer with a flat beater instead of a food processor.

My method: After mixing together the flour, sugar and salt, I stop the mixer to add the butter, tossing with a fork to coat before mixing on medium-low speed until it resembles coarse cornmeal. I then add ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough starts to pulls together.

Mini Pie Crusts

I cut out 4-inch rounds to place in the bottom of greased muffin tins. After filling the cups, I cut pieces of pastry dough and wove a lattice with six strips for each. It took awhile, but the results were pretty cute! I could have gone larger for the bottom crusts, I didn’t have a rim to fold back over for a better edge. It worked out ok, I just tucked each strip under, trying to connect to dough below.

Amelie Weaving Pie Lattice


To get in just a bit more deliciousness, I used Sonoma Syrup Co.‘s Sea Salt Caramel Syrup to add a finishing touch. I put the caramel in a squeeze bottle for more control and drizzled some over the uncooked pies before putting them into the oven.

Sonoma Syrup Co. Caramel on Apple Pies

When researching caramel apple pie recipes, I’d read one that poured caramel over the lattice, which is all I did here. A taste of just the top crust was delightfully caramel, but overall I’d say that I did not use enough. If you try the same, you should really pour that stuff on!

It got messy in the oven, but once the pies had cooled somewhat and come out of the pans, I was delighted with the results.

Mini Caramel Apple Pies - Photo by Jason Walker-Yung

Thank you to Sonoma Syrup Co. for the caramel syrup. The company handcrafts its extracts, syrups, and bar mixers in small batches in Northern California with botanical ingredients. Learn more at


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Tasting Tour NYC: Betty Bakery

Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

Betty Bakery
448 Atlantic Avenue

Betty's cupcakes at Atlantic Antic 2016

Betty’s Atlantic Antic spread

I’ve always eyed this bakery when walking past it on Atlantic Avenue, but I have never quite made it inside. When I saw their table outside the shop during the recent Atlantic Antic—an annual can’t-miss street festival, the oldest and largest in Brooklyn—I stopped to give one of their cupcakes a try.

Betty Bakery Strawberry Chocolate Cupcake

Strawberry Chocolate Cupcake from Betty Bakery

It was a solid no-nonsense cupcake. Nothing fancy but some sprinkles, the chocolate cake did the job with a sweet berry punch of strawberry frosting.

Stop at Betty’s for a sweet break when shopping Atlantic Avenue, where you can get spices, furniture, knick-knacks, or maybe even a wedding dress.

Betty Bakery Brooklyn

Outside Betty Bakery on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Ave

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Cranberry Cider Cupcakes

Cranberry Cupcakes

Spiced Cranberry Cupcakes made with Hot Ruby
(Photo by Isaac Kim)

It’s fall! I’m ready for the cooler weather and flavors that come with the season like pumpkin and cranberry and cinnamon.

I used Hot Ruby, a cranberry wassail, as the flavor base for my first cupcakes of fall. Hot Ruby began as a family’s tradition in Shallowater, Texas, and now is available in stores nationwide and online. It is cranberry-based with spices and citrus hints and has no artificial dyes or preservatives.

Jar of Hot Ruby (and an apple, for no particular reason)

Hot Ruby is a delicious mix of cranberry. lemon, cinnamon and clove. Ruby herself always drank it hot, they say, but “it’s pretty darn awesome served over ice,” so try it that way, too!

For the cupcakes, I reduced some Hot Ruby to add to the batter. I cooked it down to almost a syrup to add to the buttercream, along with some straight from the jar. I highlighted the flavor by adding orange zest, cinnamon, and dried cranberries.

Cranberry Cupcakes on tiered server

The Hot Ruby gave the cupcakes a spiced cranberry-citrus punch.
(Photo by Isaac Kim)

I served these as bite-sized mini cupcakes at the Tuesdays Together meeting of the Manhattan Rising Tide Society.

Hannah enjoying a Cupcake by Amélie

I hope Ruby Faye would have enjoy these treats as much as we did!
(Photo by Isaac Kim)

Hot Ruby also makes a great cocktail mixer. I added vodka for a Ruby Martini (@drinksunited), which my husband commented tasted like a mulled cosmo. Check out Hot Ruby drink recipes here.

Thank you to Gwen Warren of Hot Ruby for providing samples! Visit to learn more about this tasty cranberry and citrus cider.

Cupcake photos were taken by Isaac + Hannah Photography. Isaac and Hannah are a (soon-to-be) husband-and-wife team providing engagement and wedding photography services in NYC and PDX.

See more photos…

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Tasting Tour NYC: City Cakes

Chelsea, Manhattan

City Cakes
251 West 18th St. (basement)


Though it calls itself “the cake shop known for cookies,” City Cakes–quite a small bakery with only one oven–serves up a gorgeous array of gourmet cupcakes on a daily basis.

City Cakes offers classics alongside innovative creations. Here are the flavors I recently tried with a few trusty tasters.

Red Velvet

Red Velvet

A good red velvet is a must, and City Cakes’ Red Velvet Extravagance is a nice, moist cake and frosting with just the right balance of cream cheese.



City Cakes’ special Peanut Butter & Jelly cupcake has “white bread” cake filled with, yes, peanut butter and jelly, covered with a light peanuty buttercream with some jelly on top.

One taster wanted more peanut butter and was a little thrown off by the “bread” cake, finding it too dense. It is a different sort of cake from the norm, but it hits that PB&J sandwich nail on its head.



The City Cake’s Cookies-n-Dream cupcake will please Oreo fans. Vanilla buttercream and a Nutella-dipped Oreo tops it off. This cupcake was described as having a Nutella core, but mine seemed missing. (No worries, we still enjoyed it!)

Raspberry Chocolate (GF)

Raspberry Chocolate (GF)

The Flourless Dark Chocolate Cupcake filled with raspberry purée from City Cakes is a tasty gluten-free option. It’s a powerful punch of chocolate and raspberry that I really liked. Great with coffee (milk, no sugar).

Sharing City Cakes Cupcakes

Sharing is caring! The Cookies-n-Dream and Red Velvet for four

Inside a City Cakes PB&J Cupcake

Inside the PB&J

The cupcakes aren’t all on offer. City Cakes’ famous cookies deserve their own post, as do its crazy-dreamy sculpted cakes (this one will do for my next birthday, thanks!).

City Cakes Storefront

A tiny spot tucked under a residential building

Venture downstairs to try these treats for yourself!

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Brooklyn Brownies – Salted Chocolate Chip

I dabbled in cake mix when I was younger. You know, teenagers like to experiment. But I learned my lesson and have been a “from scratch” girl since.

Why so tough on mixes? Typically, they are full of preservatives and down right baffling ingredients. I mean, do polyglycerol esters of fatty acids sound like something you want to consume? You can taste the “mixiness” of it. No, thanks.

Enter Foodstirs


Foodstirs—founded in 2014 by Sarah Michelle Gellar (yes, of Buffy fame) and friends Galit Laibow and Gia Russo—offers what they call quick-from-scratch mixes. Each mix contains only 6-10 organic and GMO-free ingredients that can be traced to their source. Now, that’s a kind of mix I can get behind.

I decided to try out the exclusive Brooklyn Brownie Mix that recently debuted at Whole Foods in the neighborhood of Williamsburg. This mix makes a chocolate brownie with chocolate chips and salt flakes on top. (Someone thinks we Brooklynites are “salty,” eh?)

Foodstirs Brownies

Brooklyn Brownies, made in Brooklyn!

As promised, the instructions were simple and quick. I needed only 2 eggs, vegetable oil, and a little water to get going. I grabbed my whisk and batter bowl, and set to work.

Ingredients for Foodstirs brownies

Stirring Foodstirs brownies

One change to the instructions, I made cupcake-sized brownies instead of spreading them in a 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ pan. That worked great and gave me reasonable single portions.

Of course, I immediately ate two.

They were delicious with none of that “mixiness” I so loathe. I look forward to trying out some of Foodstirs’ other offerings. (I have my eye on you, Chocolate Chippy Cookies.)

Scooped Foodstirs brownies

Find Foodstirs mixes at all Whole Foods Northeast locations or on The Brooklyn Brownie Mix is available exclusively at Williamsburg Whole Foods. Foodstirs also offers foodcrafting kits (buy online or subscribe) such as the Celebration Cupcake Baking Kit, which includes frosting and cake mixes, sprinkles, liners and toppers.

Thank you to Foodstirs for providing mixes for me to sample.

I’m on Snapchat! Add me @cupcakesamelie.

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