Janet's Notebook
Dip Into Fall Flavor With Gooey Caramel

Toffee Crunch Cupcakes!

It's food season all year 'round for us Kitchen Crew gals, but oh how we love when this time of year rolls around and EVERYONE seems to be whipping up new recipes and talking foodie finds! Comfort food is once agin in vogue and words like "ooey" and "gooey" are commonplace. In other words, we're in recipe heaven.

One flavor of the season that never fails to evoke a sigh of pleasure is that ooey gooiest of sweets, caramel. Whether drizzled warm atop a favorite pie or submerged into a steamy mug of apple cider, caramel adds a hint of fall to everything it touches.

In a tasty autumnal double feature, Roberta Broussard deftly combines the richness of caramel with the hearty warmth of pumpkin.

"This Pumpkin Flan Cake is a new version of my [original] Chocolate Flan recipe," explains Roberta. "It's made with pumpkin which I thought would be great for the holidays."

Well, we've certainly reserved a spot for it on our table! Flan, a traditional caramel custard, can seem intimidating to make at home, but this cake really makes things easy. Layers of caramel, cake batter and pumpkin-infused custard are baked together, and the result is a miraculous amalgam of deliciousness. And it's darn pretty, too.

"I brought it to work today and it was gone within a few minutes," smiles Roberta. "Everybody loved it!"

Another caramel creation that we've been munching lots of lately is Kesha Smith's Toffee Crunch Cupcakes! In fact, we like them so much that I've been known to described them as "love to the third power"... because we love the toffee, love the crunch and plain love the cupcake, too!

"I am very passionate about cooking," says Kesha, who makes her home in Baton Rouge, "and baking is a perk because I believe every meal deserves an awesome dessert. I created these cupcakes along with my two teenagers while my husband was in Memphis. We wanted him to have something extra to smile about when he returned home!"

Those smiles have gone viral. In fact, they've been breaking out everywhere this recipe goes. Kesha's light yellow cupcakes are topped with a deliciously sweet vanilla icing - thanks in part to the crafty addition of vanilla coffee creamer - and then topped with toffee bits and drizzled with caramel! Absolutely creamy dreamy.

For another cupcake treat this season, try Darla Hill's County Fair Caramel Apple Cupcakes. These sweet and spicy cakes make me feel like I am wandering through a harvest festival! They are the epitome of fall... and each bite is pure delight. Oh, and did I mention that they're topped with a thick caramel glaze? Pop in a popsicle stick, and these mini cakes look just like adorable caramel apples. (Taste like 'em, too!)

Looking for a more traditional caramel fix? Wendy Rusch has declared discovery of the best homemade Caramel Apple recipe.

"My mom worked at an apple orchard when I was a child," says Wendy, a resident of Fall Creek, WI. "They made apple cider, apple pies, apple crisps, caramel apples etc. to sell, besides all the wonderful apples... My mom acquired the recipes for these things, and they all were good, but this [recipe] is 'OMGosh good!'"

While this fab recipe does take a bit of time to put together - lots of dipping - it's absolutely easy enough for the kids to get in on. Roll the coated apples in nuts or have the kids pick their favorite sprinkles or candies for a more colorful touch.

Whatever your style - dipped or drizzled, poured or infused - make room for a little squeeze of caramel this fall season. Your day will be oh-so-much sweeter for it.

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samantha brewer - Nov 3, 2012
i love the smell of these
Dorothy Welch - Oct 28, 2012
Hi, Cathy,

Here is the recipe for Toffee Crunch Cupcakes:

Toffee Crunch Cupcakes

Hope your granddaughter is the Queen of Kindergarten with these cupcakes!
Dorothy Welch - Oct 28, 2012
Hi, Betty. Here is the Iowa Girl Eats web site:


It looks like Jewel hit the jackpot.
Sue Fitzpatrick - Oct 27, 2012
Was disappointed to see contests posted on JustaPinch are only open to US residents :(
Wendy Rusch - Oct 27, 2012
Here is the link Cathy

Toffee Crunch Cupcakes
Cathy Watson - Oct 27, 2012
I love to cook and i am wanting a great recipe for my granddaughters cass for kindergarten and i saw the toffee crunch cupcake recipe and i cant seem to find it could you please send it to me.

cathy watson
Wendy Rusch - Oct 27, 2012
Betty...I'm glad you asked for this recipe...Thank You Jewel for posting it...it sounds wonderful! :o)
Jewel Hall - Oct 27, 2012
Hi Betty, The recipe above is supposed to be the Iowa Girl's Eats one. enjoy !
Jewel Hall - Oct 27, 2012
Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

Print this recipe!

Serves 3-4


1 cup orzo

1-1/2 cups chopped broccoli florets

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon butter

1/4-1/2 cup 2% milk



Add orzo to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes then add chopped broccoli and cook for 2 more minutes, or until orzo is tender. Drain well (broccoli florets are notorious for holding onto water) then return to the pot. Add cheeses, butter, and 1/4 cup milk then stir well and add more milk if needed. Season with salt to taste.
B H - Oct 27, 2012
i need some help...Looking for a recipe by Iowa Girl Eats, it's called Cheesy Broccoli Orzo,if you can help me find this recipe i would greatly appreciate it.
Wendy Rusch - Oct 23, 2012
Dee Stillwell - Oct 23, 2012
Congrats to all of u for making Janet's notebook.
Wendy, my friend..I know how great ur caramel recipes are and my family and I have been enjoying them for a cpl yrs now..awesome!
Kathleen Hagood - Oct 23, 2012
Congrats to all for some great recipes. I have been thinking of caramel lately too. I am mixing up a caramel cake right now. Fall somehow makes us all think of caramelly goodness.