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My precious little girl is getting older. The older she gets the more I love spending time with her, talking to her, hearing about her day. She wants to emulate everything we do. She loves it when I tell stories and I get really high pitched and do funny voices and she wants me to tell those stories over and over again. I want her to be whatever she chooses in life. I want her to be successful, have a full and abundant life, give to others and love hard. But right now I just want her to be my little girl, here in my house, in my arms for as long as possible. Isn’t this every parent’s prayer?
Since about the age of 3 Hannah has loved to watch me bake and loves even more to help. I treasure these little moments in my heart. She gets such enjoyment out of helping me bake and create recipes. I guess its because that’s what we share its our special time together. While shopping at Walmart I picked up a bag of my favorite candy the M&M’s® Pecan Pie candies and I decided I wanted to make cupcakes. On the way home, we talk about the day, what she wants to be when she grows up, and she tells me she wants to marry someone just like me. Oh be still my heart!
While shopping at Walmart Hannah begs for applesauce because for some reason lately it’s her favorite go to snack. Mott’s® applesauce tastes great and I know she is getting a good source of vitamins and minerals and that is something that my wife cannot argue lol. Mott’s® Apple Sauce Original 48 oz. size is a great buy for the whole family. But as I said we are also baking too, so I grabbed a Pillsbury™ Moist Supreme® Cake Mix and a few other items we needed and we headed home. I have many times used applesauce in my recipes when baking cakes instead of oil, and Hannah thought this was a great idea to use her favorite snack in doing her favorite activity! We also picked up some Snapple® Apple because we love all kinds of tea in our house!
Home is such a word that means comfort. We have recently uprooted everything; we are in the process of selling our house and living in my parent’s basement. We as a family have had to come to the conclusion that home is where we are together, not necessarily the amount of space we have. One of those things that brings a sense of home is baking and pecan pie for us. Pecan pie is special and its something that we have around the holidays. Now I know its not the Holidays currently but I thought that we could use a little comfort in our new abode and I wanted to construct a cupcake that would incorporate one of our favorite holiday treats, pecan pie. What better way to use the M&M’s® Pecan Pie candies?!?!?! So I took out my recipe and grabbed the ingredients I needed and set out to make some pecan pie filling.
Making Pecan Pie filling is incredibly simple, but it’s often the most simple of things that require the most delicate touch. Over the years I have learned that the best angle to take is to cook the mixture over medium-to-medium low heat. Follow the recipe instructions to a “t” and don’t skimp. Use real butter, break out the corn syrup and brown sugar and use whole eggs. Trust me when I say I have tried to lighten this up and it’s a no go. Just accept that and move on to enjoyment! 😉
Here is my favorite recipe for Pecan Pie filling
5 tbs of unsalted butter
¾ of light corn syrup
1 cup of packed light brown sugar
1tsp of vanilla extract
½ tsp of salt
In a heavy bottom pan, (I coat mine with nonstick spray first) place butter, corn syrup, sugar and salt in the pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly. I set my timer on my phone so that way I was sure it boiled for the proper amount of time. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Once mixture has cooled, lightly beat the 3 eggs and whisk into mixture. Keep whisking until fully incorporated. You can put it through a fine mesh strainer if you have any egg that cooks before being incorporated. Allow to completely cool.
Now I told you that I wanted to make a cupcake that tasted like home. So I decided to put the pecan pie filling in the middle of the cupcakes with a pecan and M&M’s® Pecan Pie that I lightly pulsed in my food processor and then drizzle over the butter cream this delectable filling. When I tell you it was tasty that was no lie!
So here’s how I put it all together. I used the Pillsbury™ Devil’s Food Cake mix, I added the 3 eggs the recipe called for and the water. I left the oil out and put in one Mott’s® applesauce and mixed thoroughly. I evenly distributed the batter between a lined cupcake pan and allowed to cook the appropriate time listed on the box. When the cupcakes were done, I allowed them to cool slightly and then I took a spoon and hollowed out a little of the center so I could pour the pecan pie filling into the center. First in my food processor I pulsed together 3/4 cup of the M&M’s® Pecan Pie and 1 cup of pecan making a kind of crumble. I mixed 3/4 cup of this mixture in with my cooled pecan pie filling. I filled up each hollowed out cupcake with the filling and let it set it aside while I worked on the buttercream.
Here is how I make my Buttercream:
2 sticks of room temp butter
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 pinch of salt
1tsp of vanilla extract
In a stand mixer place the room temp butter in the bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Whip the butter and then add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. When the last cup is added, add in the vanilla and salt and whip until it looks like frosting.
I took this buttercream and picked out my favorite tip and piped the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes. I then drizzled some of the pecan pie filling with the M&M’s® Pecan Pie on top of the buttercream and sprinkled that with chopped pecans.