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Archive for the ‘Cupcakes/muffins’ Category

When it comes to the vast kingdom of desserts, cupcakes rank low on my list. I’ve only posted one cupcake recipe on this blog before, and even that was more of an ambiguous ‘muffcake’ (half cupcake, half muffin). Perhaps I’m so dismissive of cupcakes because I tend to just eat the top part/frosting first (who doesn’t??) and then once that’s gone, well, there’s little point in eating the rest. This is why Panera chocolate chip muffies are the best thing ever. I digress.

But my blah cupcake attitude shifted ever so slightly upon receiving a petite cupcake glass dome for my birthday. It fits exactly 4 cupcakes. Even I will admit that it is much too pretty to collect dust on a shelf, so I had to bake something for it.

These “healthy” cupcakes have applesauce and whole wheat flour. Of course, the best part of these cupcakes is the frosting. It takes forever to make, but oh my gahwd. It’s good.

Almond Cupcakes with Pomegranate Frosting (adapted from Handle the Heat)

Makes 10 cupcakes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 10 muffin cups with liners.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Beat together the sugar, butter, vanilla, and almond at high speed in a large bowl until well mixed.

4. Add eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture with the applesauce, beating after each addition until just combined.

5. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin until each cup is 3/4 full and place in oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely on rack before frosting.

Pomegranate Frosting
3 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (recipe below)
Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric hand mixer until well mixed and fluffy. Add the pomegranate molasses in and beat until incorporated. Ice the cupcakes.

Pomegranate Molasses
2 cups POM pomegranate juice
3 tablespoons sugar
splash of fresh lemon juice
1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 40-50 minutes. Let cool to thicken, the use or store in the refrigerator.

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As I mentioned in my last post, our traditional Thanksgiving family cookie-palooza (mom, sis, and me baking; dad taste-testing) was downgraded this year to 3 sure-fire recipes and 1 tricky little snot of a recipe which just befuddled us all. I blame Paula Deen.

1 salty sweet snack + 1 cookie + 1 frosted pumpkin bar + 1 oopsie upside-down molten cheesecake = hodgepodge Turkey Day treats (note, none of these are particularly healthy nor particularly terrible for you…if you eat just one).

Chocolate pretzel rings are by far the easiest to make, that is, unless you forget to grease the baking sheets, and then you’ll just fight back tears as your futile efforts to gently scrape the cookie sheet cause each chocolate kiss to effortlessly pop out of the pretzel ring before you can say “@(&$@!” I’m just guessing on this reaction. I wouldn’t know. It’s never happened to me.

Place the pretzels on greased baking sheets; place a chocolate kiss in the center of each ring. Bake at 275 degrees F for 2-3 minutes or until chocolate is softened. Remove from the oven. Place an M&M (any variety works–peanut M&M’s are great) on each, pressing down slightly so chocolate fills the ring. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Store at room temperature.

Peanut butter blossoms are arguably one of the best cookies in the world. We make these every year, no matter what.

I made pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. These were delicious and easy, but I’m not going to share this recipe quite yet because I KNOW I can healthify it a bit. One cup of oil? Meh. Next.

My sister also crafted a beautiful graham cracker pumpkin cheesecake that seemingly took hours to prepare. Alas, as the perfect cheesecake bubbled in the oven and we all got ready to head to my aunt’s house, one of us realized that a cheesecake is, by nature, supposed to chill before being served…at least 8 hours, not 5 minutes. Again, I blame Paula Deen. We took it out of the oven anyway, flipped it over so that the crust faced up, and let it melt and kind of lean sideways a bit. So, basically we just created a new fad dessert: an upside down leaning tower of Pisa molten cheesecake. In the end, it was still good, probably because the thing was 75 percent butter. Hence, not on my blog.

All in all, a successfully low-stress day of random baking. Happy post-Thanksgiving recovery/re-entry into the real world!

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zucchini muffins

Before.

After.

I wanted to make these zuck treats for a brunch on Saturday, but alas, Friday night got in the way. So today, after a delicious 10-mile run through Rock Creek Park, I spent a good 20 minutes grating zucchinis with my hand grater (ugh) and baking these puppies. Of course, I modified the recipe to incorporate whole grain flour. There’s a good amount of butter in here, which I would probably reduce slightly next time. I had to resist my normal urge to throw chocolate chips into the batter, and I’m glad I did. These are perfectly sweet just as they are.

Zucchini muffins (original recipe adapted from Simply Recipes)

Ingredients
3 cups grated zucchini
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch o’ salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Add baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir these dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture.

2 Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up about 3/4 to the top. Bake for 25 minutes until muffins are golden brown. Test with a long toothpick (or knife, let’s be honest) to make sure the center of the muffins are done.

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In honor of the highly anticipated US-England soccer match this afternoon, I decided to make “neutral” blueberry lemon muffiny cupcakes (neutral in the sense that both country flags share blue and white colors, I suppose).

I originally wanted to call these creations muffcakes, because it seemed logical and almost cute (?), but the terrified look on my boyfriend’s face when I said “muffcake” out loud made me change my mind rather quickly.

I managed to find some good old-fashioned “American” blueberries at the market, where were surprisingly fresh and plump (as opposed to the tart, inedible, “why the #*&! did I buy these” type of blueberries).

Blueberries are a wonder fruit, and these blueberry-lemony delights are not quite cupcake, not quite muffin. Muffcake! Sorry, I had to get it out of my system. They are perfect for a light summer dessert at any time of day.

(more…)

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