Preheat your oven to 350F and line 12-ct cupcake or muffin pan with liners.
Whisk all the dry ingredients in a bowl together: 1 cup almond flour, ½ cup cocoa powder, 1 cup sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder.
Mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl: ½ cup butter, ½ cup apple sauce, 3 eggs, and 1 tablespoon vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient bowl and stir well to integrate.
Pour the batter into the molds, about ¼ cup each, and bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Note: Oven temperatures vary.
Drain the apricots, collecting the two tablespoons of juice. Place 12 apricot halves, cut side down, on a paper towel to dry.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. Put a cooling rack on top of the cookie sheet and distribute apricot halves, cut-side down, or directly on the parchment paper.
In a small bowl, melt the ¼ cup dark chocolate (see recipe tips). Add it to a piping bag and pipe bee stripes over the apricot halves.
Dip each chocolate chip into some of the melted chocolate and place on one end of the apricot halves. This will be the bee face. Allow to set until firm.
If you wish to add eyes, dip the flat end of a toothpick into 1 tablespoon melted white chocolate and gently press to the chocolate chip face to create bee eyes. Dip the sharp end of a toothpick into melted dark chocolate and add pupils.
Using a sharp knife, make a small incision in the middle above the eyes and place two sliced almonds to create the wings.
With an electric mixer, beat 1 stick butter with 2 tablespoon apricot syrup and 8 oz.cream cheese until well blended. Add in 4 cups powdered sugar. Beat until creamy.
Mix in food coloring, if using, until you get the desired hue. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes.
Gently transfer bees on top of cupcakes. Serve.
It’s OK for the toothpick to come up with a few crumbs. When toothpicks come out completely clean, you’ve over-baked the cupcakes.
Use your favorite cupcake recipe or even store-bought and decorate with apricot bees.
Allow chocolate to cool slightly. If it's hot, it will pipe out too fast. It should be lukewarm to the touch.
Use good quality apricot halves that are firm and crisp, like Del Monte.