Brown Butter Salted Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes
- WHITE CUPCAKES
- 2 1/4 all-purpose flour
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
- 5 egg whites
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 bag buttered popcorn, popped
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a paper baking cup or silicone cup in each of the 24 cupcake wells of the muffin pan; set aside.
- In large bowl, beat all white cake ingredients together (except egg whites) until just combined.
- Beat in egg whites for 2 minutes. Pour batter into baking pan.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cupcakes come out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing to a wire rack for additional cooling.
- Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until butter becomes a dark golden brown (amber color) with a nutty aroma, 3 to 5 minutes. Watch closely to prevent burning of the butter.
- Add brown sugar and boil for 1 minute, whisk continuously. Decrease heat to medium and add half-and-half and Kosher salt. Continue whisking for 2 minutes. Add more salt if needed.
- Remove from heat and reserve 3 tablespoons of brown butter salted caramel in a small bowl; set aside.
- Allow the remaining caramel to cool till warm to the touch. Add 2 cups of confectioner's sugar and whisk until just combined. Note: some brown sugar-caramel clumps may be seen which is ok.
- Place a large dollop of frosting onto cupcakes and spread to create dome-shaped tops.
- Before the frosting dries, randomly place popcorn onto the applied frosting.
- Reheat reserved caramel if necessary by heating in the microwave for 15 seconds. Drizzle caramel above popcorn cupcakes. Repeat process with remaining cupcakes. ENJOY!