Introduction: Apricot & Almond Cupcakes

 I Adore cupcakes. What's not to like about cupcakes, really. Unlike a cake, each one can be decorated differently.  Each cupcake can be decorated to refelct a mood, a theme, or even a multitude of children. This recipe is from " Wild About Cupcakes" I've tweaked a few things but this cupcake is wonderful.  It is good with or without any type of frosting or fondant and so it works well for adults and kids. Plus, it has dried apricots- so it's like sneaking health food into something yummy that your kids will eat.

**Cupcakes usually taste much better if made 1 day ahead of time and stored in an air tight container**

Step 1: Ingrediants Needed

You Will Need:

 1 Cup Self-Rising Flour
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup of Ground Almonds
Pinch of Salt
2/3 Cup Firmly packed Dark Brown Sugar
1 stick(1/2Cup) Unsalted Butter, Softened
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
2 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup milk
1/3 Cup Dried Apricots diced small
1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds
12 paper liners or greased muffin tin

Step 2: Mixing Dry Ingrediants

Step 1:

*Preheat oven to 350 degress

Step 2:

Line or grease(Pam cooking spray works well) a 12 cup muffin tin

- Measure 1/3 Cup of Slivered Almonds and blend or use food processor  just until ground 

- Combine flours, ground almonds & salt in bowl. Set aside.

Step 3: Mixing Butter, Sugar and Extract

Step 3:

 - Beat butter, Brown Sugar and Almond extract in mixer on medium speed or by hand until creamy

 - Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until blended after each addition.

(Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl often to make sure everything gets incorporated)

Step 4: Adding It All Together

Step 4:

- Dice up your dried Apricots. Set aside

- On Low speed(or by hand), add th dry ingrediants alternating with the milk until just mixed.

(Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl often to make sure everything gets incorporated)

Step 5: Adding Dried Apricots

Step 5:

- By hand, fold in the diced dried apricots & slivered almonds, just until they are mixed

- Using a large spoon, add batter 2/3 full to liners

- Bake at 350* for 18 minutes

- Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking rack

- Once completely cooled, store in an air tight container or large casserole dish sealed with plastic wrap

Step 6: Simple Syrup

Open any cupcake book today and you will see alot of the bakers use a simple syrup such as apricot perserves diluted with water to keep cupcakes moist. Here's an easy way to do a simple syrup without buying a jar of apricot perserves. Feel free to make this simple syrup whenever you're making cupcakes as it will help prevent the cupcakes from drying out & will not alter the flavor.

Simple Syrup

- 2 apricots, halved
- 1 teaspoon of water

Place apricot halves & water in a microwavable bowl with a cover.
Microwave for 30 seconds
Using a strainer, strain the apricot skins out so you'll only be left with the liquid
Use a pastry brush and lightly coat each cupcake
Allow cupcakes to dry before decorating

Step 7: Decorating Simple

Here's a simple but elegant way to decorate cupcakes.

- Dust each cupcake with powdered sugar & place on individual plates

- Use edible items from your yard or garden to add a beautiful touch.(Pictured below is Johnny Jump Ups, Slivered Almonds & Mint Flowers.)

** You should NEVER use anything thats not edible when decorating.

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