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1 cup of your favorite maple syrup
1/2 cup pecans
3/4 cup white sugar, divided
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 tsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Blend pecans with 1/4 cup sugar in a blender until finely ground.
Sift all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
Beat remaining sugar and butter together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat one egg at a time into the creamy butter mixture, thoroughly integrating each egg before adding the next.
Stir milk and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl.
Alternately stir flour mixture and milk mixture in small amounts into the butter mixture beginning and ending with the flour mixture; stir just until it comes together into a batter. Fold the ground pecans into the batter. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups to about 2/3 full.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes.
Using a baking brush, brush tops of warm cupcakes with the Tito’s Maple Syrup mixture, then cool completely.
After you have brushed the top of the cupcakes with syrup, place the remaining syrup in a saucepan over medium low heat and reduce by half. Let cool completely.
Combine egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla.
Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth.