Tag Archives: brown sugar

Kale Carrot Applesauce Spice Muffins

6 Apr

My daughter turned a year old yesterday.

I’m not really sure how it happened.

She had my Lemon, Brown Sugar, and Olive Oil Cupcakes frosted with whipped cream for her birthday cake, with fresh berries.  And oh my did she love it!

But after yesterday’s indulgences (way too much pizza – thanks Grandpa! – and cake), I thought it would be good to have something quite healthy for breakfast.  Well, sort of healthy.  Healthy-ish?

You see, she’s been on a bread kick.  She loves anything baked.  Takes after me, I suppose. She used to be the kid who would sit down and plow through a plate of sauteed spinach or kale, no problem.  But lately…  She’s getting into the toddler years (she started walking in earnest 5 weeks ago) and starting some toddler pickiness.

So this morning I made eggs.  And served them with avocado.  And berries (which she scarfed; kiddo loves her fruit too!).  And these.

Oh my.  These.

They are nothing short of delicious.  You must know I like “healthy” (and don’t need things to be quite sweet).  But even if you are a little less ready to try “healthy” food, do give these muffins a try.  They really are extremely tasty, and have a lot of great nutrients inside!

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Kale Carrot Applesauce Spice Muffins

Adapted heavily from 365 Days of Kale

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raw kale
  • 1 large carrot (you could really even use two)
  • 1/2 cup plain (full-fat) European-style or Greek yogurt (more protein this way!)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar or honey
  • 2 tbsp good oil (I used olive)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (honestly you could probably use all whole wheat but I didn’t want them heavy)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In the food processor, finely chop kale and carrot.  I added the yogurt and applesauce and just blended the whole thing up together until it was all the texture of applesauce.

Put Kale mixture in a large bowl and add the rest of the wet ingredients (egg, sugar/honey, oil, and extracts).  Mix well.

In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flours, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices).

Carefully mix the dry and wet ingredients until just combined. Scoop into lined muffin cups. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a light touch on the top of the muffin meets resistance.  Makes about 16 regular-sized muffins.

These don’t have a lot of fat in them, so they WILL stick to the liners.  It’s ok – they’re still delicious. 😉

 

Oh yes, and the obligatory birthday cake shot. <3!Image

Carrot Zucchini Breakfast Bread

4 Dec

For the last couple of days I’ve really wanted carrot zucchini bread.  Not just one or the other.  Both.  Zucchini are out of season, of course, so I thought I was out of luck.  Until I went to the Farmer’s Market today and saw some lovely zucchini just sitting there, three for $2…  I nabbed them!  And then I looked for a recipe.

But the recipes out there are so sweet.  They have a ratio of 1:1 sugar to veggies, and a cup or more of oil, which is just flat-out not healthy for me right now (especially since I really wanted this bread as a mid-morning snack).  What’s a girl to do but come up with her own? 😉

This is a seriously simple recipe.  Add everything except the flour and baking powder to a bowl and stir well before mixing that in too, pour into bread pans, bake, enjoy.  It’s a not-too-sweet and not-too-healthy breakfast bread (no cakes or doorstops here!) with tons of flavor from spices and a kick of almond extract, a little extra protein, and a 5:1 ratio of veggies to sugar.  Seriously, it hits the spot!

Carrot Zucchini Bread

Elisa’s Carrot Zucchini Breakfast Bread

  • 1 1/4 cups shredded and drained zucchini
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used grapeseed because we happened to have it around, but olive oil would be excellent, and any oil you like will do)
  • 2/3 cup almond meal or ground almonds
  • dash salt
  • dash ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup white flour

Like I said, this is a dead easy recipe.  Add all the ingredients except the flour and baking powder, stir until well mixed, add the flour and baking powder all at once and just stir until the flour is incorporated (don’t overmix!).  I divided it between two greased and floured loaf pans because I didn’t know how much it would rise, and baked them at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  It didn’t rise too much though (it barely doubled), so you can very likely have great success with just a single loaf pan, but you’ll probably need to bake this for upwards of an hour and fifteen minutes (as you might see from the photo, the bread I made tonight is slightly wet still – that’s what happens with so much vegetation in the batter!).  The bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  You could, of course, make this into a dozen muffins; adjust time accordingly.

This bread is soft, tender, flavorful, and not overpowered by sugar or fat like so many zucchini bread recipes are.  I’m totally smitten!!!

Lemon Brown Sugar Tea Cookies

9 Feb

I evidently have a thing for lemon and brown sugar.  Last week I bought a bunch of lemons at my local ethnic market (5 for a dollar!) and wanted to make something just a little bit sweet to nibble on after dinner.  I was sure I could find a recipe online for cookies, but either I’m looking in the wrong places or the recipe gods just want me to get creative, because I couldn’t find a single one anywhere!

That’s where these came in.  I looked at several sugar cookie recipes and sort of mushed bits of them together and messed around.  I quite like the result – a thick, slightly dense and crumbly wedge cookie that goes brilliantly with tea or coffee (if you’re a dunker, you’ll be pleased to note that this cookie doesn’t disintegrate into your drink!).  I would imagine that these would be excellent rolled in powdered sugar, but none of them lasted long enough.

Lemon Brown Sugar Tea Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened; I was thinking you might be able to use cooled brown butter as well but I haven’t tried it)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used light brown sugar because that’s what was open in my pantry but I think dark brown would be fine.  Just a little more molasses-y)
  • zest of 2 lemons (about 1 1/2 tbsp; be sure to cut the zest into little pieces so it’s evenly distributed)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract (I think you could probably add up to 1 tsp of this, as my original cookies were more of a “hint of lemon” flavor)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (you could probably go a little heavier on this too)
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • dash salt (about 1/8 tsp)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

With an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and zest until the mixture is light and creamy and there are no lumps.  Add the extract and beat to combine.  Add the egg, milk, and juice, beating to combine after each addition.  Add (or, if you’re feeling especially fancy, sift) the baking powder, salt, and flour and mix with a spoon (the batter will be soft but the mixer will probably have trouble).

At this point you could take rounded spoonfuls of your mixture, plop them on a cookie sheet, and place them in an oven preheated to 375 degrees.  But I’m the type of girl who would prefer to have cookie dough in the freezer  so I can make small batches over time.  So if I’m making most cookies I like to roll up the dough in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer.  For this dough, I found that thick wedge-shaped cookies’ texture was better than thin disk-shaped cookies (I tried both), so here’s how to do it: Place your dough on a piece of plastic wrap in a 2-inch tube shape (the dough is soft so it’s going to be a rough tube).  Wrap it up well and place it in the freezer for 1 hour (up to several weeks).  When you’re ready for your cookies, cut thick slices (between 1/3 and 1/2 inch) off the end of the tube.  Cut each slice in half to make a wedge and smooth out the edges.  I suppose if you wanted to get really creative you could carve detail onto each slice to make a lemon wedge, but I don’t have that kind of patience!

Pop your cookies onto a cookie sheet and bake them for 7-12 minutes or until golden (the more frozen your dough, the more likely you’ll need to cook them a little longer).  Bakes approx. 36 small cookies.

These cookies may be tiny but they're totally yummy, and easy too!

Lemon, Brown Sugar, Olive Oil Cupcakes

25 Oct

Yesterday hubby and I went up to Riverside County; he wanted to check out Tom’s Farms in Corona (we’d seen it on a recent drive up to LA – yes, we went up the 15; it was rush hour on Friday and we got there a lot sooner than if we’d have taken the 5!) and do a little wine tasting.  Plus, we’d hoped to go olive oil tasting with friends earlier this month but it didn’t work out.

We spent the whole day meandering around – first at Rancho Bernardo Winery, then up at Tom’s Farms, Bella Vista Winery in Temecula, and lastly at the Temecula Olive Oil Company.  We were really impressed with the last one – you can try all of their oils and vinegars for free!  I’d definitely reccommend stepping into the front room before your tasting, though, and picking up a (gorgeous, cheap, and super-yummy!) cibatta bread to dip into the oil.  They say it dulls the taste, but really most of us aren’t used to taking olive oil as shots.  And after a few, it gets just a little heavy on the tummy!

That said, we decided to pick up a lemon olive oil while we were there.  All evening and this morning, that olive oil was on my mind – I had to use it in a baking project!!  I ended up googling olive oil cupcakes and came up with a few recipes; ultimately I adapted this one, from a blog I hadn’t yet seen (but quickly bookmarked – YUM!).  I wanted something that would be nice and light, with a good flavor of lemon and brown sugar.  But I’ve gone off by myself too many times and come up with would-be recipes that don’t have the right proportions, so I had to start somewhere!

This recipe was supposed to make 12 cupcakes; either my cupcake pans are smaller than hers or perhaps I didn’t fill mine enough; anyway, I filled up all 12 of my cupcake cups and had plenty to spare.  But that was okay – it gave me a chance to experiment and bake a little cake!

Lemon, Brown Sugar, Olive Oil Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1/2 wheat pastry flour and 1/2 unbleached white; you could probably use cake flour as well but sifting the flour made it nice and light)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar (you might be able to use all brown sugar, but I didn’t want it too molassess-y)
  • 1/2 cup lemon olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, combine zest, sugars, olive oil, and lemon juice.  Combine with an electric mixer.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/3 of the milk, beat well.  Add 1/2 of the remaining flour mixture and 1/2 of the remaining milk, beat well.  Add the remaining flour and milk and beat until smooth.  Pour into cupcake cups (I used 1/4 cup measure) and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (I decided to go for 350 instead of 375 because I didn’t want them to dry out – you could probably go up to 375, as the original recipe suggests).

Lemon, Brown Sugar, Olive Oil Cupcakes

Lemon, Brown Sugar, Olive Oil Cupcakes

I didn’t frost these yet (they literally came out of the oven 20 minutes ago), and I might actually not frost them at all but eat them with vanilla ice cream and strawberries.  Otherwise I think they’d be really nice with a lemon or almond buttercream or whipped cream.  They have a really beautiful dainty and soft texture; they’re not very heavy, but they’re incredibly moist.  They taste lightly of lemon and brown sugar – if you want more of a lemon flavor, you could up the amount of lemon juice in them and remove some of the milk – and are not too sweet.  Just the way I like a cupcake!

We just couldn't resist trying one!

We just couldn't resist trying one!

As I said, I had some leftover batter once I poured all the cupcakes into their cups.  So I decided to be daring! 🙂  I know how much I love basil and lemon together, and I had some fresh basil we’d bought last week at Henry’s.  So I pureed a little of the basil (a good handful – sorry, I didn’t measure) and threw it into the batter before I baked up a little cake out of it!  It came out a little strange-looking, but it’s very tasty.  It’s unexpected and doesn’t really taste very “basil”-flavored, but it really adds a little kick to the recipe!

The little cake with the basil in it - yes, it's a little brown on the top... oops...

The little cake with the basil in it - yes, it's a little brown on the top... oops...

 Edited to add: I frosted these with a quick C&H buttercream variation: I used half a box of powdered sugar, 2 tbsp of butter, 2 tbsp of lemon juice, a tsp of almond extract, and some cream (I have no clue how much – it just had to be the right texture).  It was tangy and sweet but balanced, and since the cupcakes themselves were pretty mellow it just was a little wakeup call for them.  Very nice!  I still like them plain, though, too, or with berries…

Lemon Olive Oil Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Lemon Almond Buttercream

Lemon Olive Oil Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Lemon Almond Buttercream

:)

🙂

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