Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Line muffin pan with cupcake liners, I used shiny red ones.
Add coconut milk or almond milk to a measuring cup, add lemon juice. This will create a "buttermilk". Set aside.
Put the oats into a bowl and pour 1/2-3/4 cups of hot water, mix. The oats will absorb the water. Set aside.
Core and slice the apples in half. I rub a cut lemon on the cut sides of the apples to slow oxidation (that quick brown color). Grate the apples, I use a box grater.
Place all the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, salt into a bowl and combine well. Add the walnuts to the dry mix. Stir to coat well.
In a small bowl combine oil, egg, and applesauce, add this to the "buttermilk" mixture.
*Vegan Option: Combine 2 tablespoons water with 1 1/2 tablespoons flaxseed meal in a small bowl, stir to mix well. Add to the oil and applesauce.
Now add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, mix with a rubber mixing spatula until all the ingredients are combined.
Add the grated apples and oats, fold into the batter.
Use a 1/3 cup measuring spoon to scoop batter into cupcake liners all the way to the top. Evenly add any remaining liquid in the bowl to each cupcake.
Bake cupcakes for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and cupcakes are golden brown.
Let it cool on a cooling rack to room temperature.
For the Caramel:
In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan set on medium low heat, add sugar and water, do not stir. Place a candy thermometer in the saucepan. When it begins to boil raise the heat to medium high.
Stage 1. will still look clear.
Stage 2. beige, temperature should reach 220 degrees F
Stage 3. brown, temperature should reach about 280-290 degrees F watch the candy thermometer at this stage, sugar can go over 350 degrees F quickly, and burn.
Stage 4. dark amber brown, temperature will reach 350 degrees F.
Turn off heat. Slowly pour in the coconut milk, it will boil violently, which is normal. Wear gloves, if desired.
Turn the heat back on medium, add the margarine, stir briskly until caramel has become smooth and glossy, 2-3 minutes.
Let cool for a few hours. It will thicken as it cools.
Take about a spoonful of cooled caramel and pour over the cooled cupcakes starting in the middle then around. Make sure they are cooled otherwise it will drip right off the cupcakes.
Add a gluten free, dairy free pretzel stick into the center.
For the crumble:
Combine ingredients, microwave for 15 seconds, let it cool, then garnish over caramel.