Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Carrot Pineapple Cupcakes

This morning, I juiced the living daylights out of a pound of carrots and a beautifully ripe pineapple, which left me with this:

Now what? Since clearly one cannot have too many baked goods in one's home, I consulted Zoe Bakes for a recipe, which reliably, she delivered.

I made a few tweaks to appease the finicky five-year old and omitted the cream cheese frosting to cut the calories/points/fat or whatever it is you are counting, and ended up with these moist, satisfying lovelies.

Carrot Pineapple Cupcakes

1 pound carrot pulp, left over from juicing
1/2 cup pineapple pulp, left over from juicing
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup natural no-sugar added apple sauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup raisins (I used half golden raisins to please the Princess)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with papers.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and orange zest. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices with a whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Add the carrots, pineapple, coconut, and raisins. Fold gently until well mixed.

Here is Zoe's original recipe: Carrot Cupcakes

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day Crepes

Good riddance 2011, welome and please be kind to us 2012.

Last week Millie participated in a language camp. She took Spanish, but every day they had different snacks from other cultures, like quesadillas or Chinese noodles. Her favorite, however, were the crepes. She explained in detail how she filled them with chocolate chips and let them melt. So in honor of the new year, and because we so rarely hear Millie excited about food, I made crepes for our fancy Sunday breakfast. They are easy and fun, especially when loaded up with chocolate chips, tiny marshmallows and whipped cream. The recipe I used is from Skinny Taste. It is supposed to be low in points, but she must be making teeny tiny crepes because my batch barely made six crepes compared to her promised 12. Either way, they were yummy.

I also put out blackberry jam, Nutella, and some multicolored chips. Feliz año nuevo!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Banana Pumpkin Muffins

This year, I am determined to follow my sister-in-law's lead and start baking and freezing well ahead of time. Enter, Banana Pumpkin Muffins.

Since we spend a couple of days in Iowa, I always like to bring a few breakfast treats. This year I plan on making the sour cream muffins that all the kids loved, but I also had a bunch of quickly rotting bananas (now doesn't that sound yummy?) so I decided to make muffins with them as well. I have a wonderful recipe from Skinny Taste for low-fat banana nut bread but it calls for apple sauce, which I was out of. Instead I tweaked the recipe to include pumpkin instead, with half the sugar of the original recipe. They turned out dense and rich. Not sure if the kids will like them, but I know it's going to be hard for me to stay away from them before Christmas!

6 ripe medium bananas, mashed
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
2-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease muffin pan with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add mashed bananas, pumpkin and vanilla to the creamed butter and beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk egg whites. Fold egg whites into butter mixture. Add flour mixture, then mix using a wooden spoon until combined. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into muffin pan and bake on the center rack for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. NOTE: My mix actually made 16 muffins, but you can make them larger and only make 12.

Let the pan cool at least 20 minutes.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pie anyone?

Pies intimidate me. Most recipes I've read for pie crusts usually include strict directions like "use COLD butter," and "For the love of God whatever you do DO NOT let the butter/lard warm up or your crust will FAIL, and you will FAIL, and you will be an utter disappointment. " 

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but still, scary stuff. So when I offered to make desserts for Thanksgiving, and my husband made it clear that pies were the "traditional" requirement, I knew I needed help. Buying pie crusts would have been the smart thing to do, or better yet, a gorgeous $5.99 pumpkin pie from Costco that could easily feed 20 people, but I am not smart. So I turned to Zoe Francois, who I swear I would trust with my life, and certainly with my baking. Sure enough, she promised THE BEST APPLE PIE EVER, on her blog. And it was. It really, really was. 

I doubled the recipe because I was actually making three, count 'em, three pies, one of which was a double crust apple pie. For the pumpkin and pecan pies I used other recipes for the fillings with Zoe's crust recipe.  

This looks like a mess, but it's actually an amazing chocolate pecan pie from Paula Deen. I cut the sugar in the recipe in half, because, you know, it's Paula Deen, and I used orange juice instead of the bourbon. I would also recommend melting the chocolate first rather than leaving it in chunks like she recommends.

I don't even like apple pie, but this one is truly successful. It seems like you can't really over bake it, but don't test it. 

Luscious brown sugar pumpkin cream pie from Martha Stewart.

At the last minute, I decided the pies weren't enough so I made some bars. I wanted to use a can of organic butternut squash I had, so I put a few recipes together, tweaked them to my taste, and made some bars that turned out to be the run-away hit of the day.

For Friday's breakfast, I made simple sour cream muffins with a little sugar and cinnamon on top. Also a big hit.

Today I ran to Costco on the way back over to my sister-in-law's and picked up a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. I'm tired.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Salted Nut Roll Ice Cream

My friend Kurt likes ice cream. A lot. Recently he presented me with a challenge I could not pass up. Over brunch, he said, ever-so-slyly, "You know what no one has tried yet? Salted nut roll ice cream." And I was off.

First, I had to deconstruct a salted nut roll, which I was not very familiar with. I found a nice web site that featured a home-made version of the confection. I learned that the nougat center is replicated with marshmallow cream. That I can do. Obviously the chewy texture would not be possible in ice cream, but I found a promising recipe for marshmallow ice cream and forged forth undeterred.

To the ice cream I folded lightly salted peanuts. Note to self, don't be a wuss, use saltier peanuts next time.

I used my old stand-by salted caramel sauce from smittenkitchen both to add into the ice cream in what I had hoped would be a beautiful golden ribbon, and to use warm as a topping for extra indulgence.

The results were mixed. While the final ice cream was a decadent twist on rich vanilla, with some peanuts tossed in, it was not nearly salty enough. The caramel I mixed in dissolved into the ice cream too much so it didn't offer that creamy texture I had hoped for. However, dousing the ice cream with a warmed tablespoon or four of the stuff may make you forget what the original challenge was and just enjoy the treat for what it is. And according to Kurt, he did. A lot.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Apple Crisp

This recipe is from Millie's preschool, believe it or not. It's meant to be so simple a child can do it, and other than peeling and slicing the apples, it really is that easy. It's also the best apple crisp I've ever had, possibly thanks to the entire stick of butter that goes into the crust.

4 medium unpeeled or peeled tart apples, sliced.
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar (I used 1/4 and it was plenty sweet)
1/2 cup quick cooking or regular oats (I used quick cooking)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (a generous 1/3)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup butter, softened

Heat oven to 375.
Spread apple slices in ungreased 8 inch square pan.
Mix remaining ingredients with fork (I used my hands). Sprinkle over apples.
Bake uncovered until the topping is golden brown and apples are tender and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Happy New Year to my fellow Jewish friends. In honor of Rosh Ha Shana, I made Zoe Francois's "modern" rugelach, to rave reviews. Rugelach, a traditional Yiddish crescent shaped pastry is often filled with dates and apricot jam, earning it a reputation for being "old lady" food, as my husband so eloquently said.

Leave it to Zoe to make rugelach cool again. She fills hers with raspberry jam and chocolate. Now how can that be bad?

Mine turned out considerably uglier than hers, but delicious and highly addictive, which is why I left the rest at my parents.

Recipe on Zoe Bakes.