Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting & Candied Walnuts

My friends came over to watch a movie and make treats one night. I thought pumpkin was the obvious choice as I had cans and cans of it lying around. Some people think pumpkin is purely a seasonal thing, but I love it year round. We decided on Shutterbean’s Pumpkin Cake. The cupcakes were delicious but I can’t remember the movie we watched, a testament to how amazing these cupcakes were or how underwhelming the movie was. Either way, this recipe was a keeper.

I usually find pumpkin baked goods not as punchy and pumpkin flavored as I would like, but these cupcakes turned out very nicely. They had a wonderful soft and fluffy texture while the candied walnuts add a welcome crunch and richness. But be warned, the brown butter frosting is intense. You might want to just glaze the tops instead of really frosting as if it were buttercream. I just poured  the frosting into a small bowl and dipped the cupcake tops in for a light coat of sweet stickiness- a perfect glue for your walnuts. If you’ve never made candied nuts before, just work quickly! Once the sugar sets, the nuts will turn rock hard but brittle. A potentially huge mess.

We were way too excited to wait for them to cool so we kind of just flipped them over and shook them out. Bad form. I know. But they smelled so good and the movie was boring. They ended up coming out cleanly except for a little slice on the side that looked like a smile. I took this as a sign to give them smiles. The one with blue eyes is the spitting image of our friend Sam- huge bright blue eyes and crazy hair that sticks up in the middle.




For some reason, my friend Martina thought it’d be cute for one to have “devil eyes.” Not so cute.


  1. beckyblueeyes

    Oh my gosh! I had the rock hard walnut thing happen to me!! I made date bars and put the walnuts and dates into the food processor together. The bars are delicious but I have to pick out teeth-breakingly hard pebbles of walnuts. It stinks. So it’s the sugar that does that?? Maybe if I ground them separately that would be better?

    • sashayan18

      Well once the hot sugar crystallizes, everything gets stuck together so it essentially makes a brittle. But in your case, I think the dates made a sticky sort of paste in the food processor and then the walnuts just got stuck in the goop and the blades weren’t able to chop them up (think dinosaurs in a tar pit). Maybe try blending the nuts first and then adding them in slowly to the date mixture! Let me know if that helps!

      • beckyblueeyes

        You know what’s awful? I had never worked with dates before. Dates have pits! That’s what the hard pieces were!! Isn’t that embarrassing?! Yes, it is. Hahaha. You are correct, however, in the assessment about the sugar crystallizing. The next time I tried to blend PITTED dates with walnuts, it turned into a large mass of glue. I’ll try your trick to blend the nuts first and then add. Thanks!

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