Healthy Carrot and Raisin Cake Muffins

Carrot Cake Muffins 2

What’s that? Healthy? I know most my baked goodies aren’t considered healthy. But surprise! I am actually sharing a healthy recipe with you. Well, mostly healthy.  I used  all purpose flour since I did not have whole wheat flour in my pantry.  Be sure to fill your muffin tins to the top as these muffins do not rise very much. You can see how squat mine are. Oh well. It’s always good to learn something new.  This recipe yields 12 muffins.  (Or 16, if you didn’t fill your muffin tins all the way like I did. Oops.)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 carrots shredded or grated
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (all purpose flour works too)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Prepare muffin/cupcake tin by greasing with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl whisk eggs until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and whisk again until mixture is smooth.
  4. Pour in the maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract. Beat the mixture again until smooth.
  5. Add the shredded/grated carrots, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and raisins over the wet batter. Using a rubber spatula to fold the wet and dry ingredients together just until combined.
  6. Portion the batter evenly into your prepared 12 cup muffin tin.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the muffins have risen and set.

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

  1. Beat the cream cheese in a small bowl until smooth.
  2. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and lemon juice and beat again until the mixture is well combined.
  3. Once the muffins have cooled add a dollop of frosting on top of muffins.
  4. Optional: garnish with grated carrots.

Carrot Cake Muffins 1

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Lemon Butter Cookies

Lemon Butter Cookies plated

Spring is here, but you wouldn’t know it by the dark and gloomy days we’ve been having around here. Cheer up. I have a cookie that will brighten your day. They are flakey on the outside and chewy on the inside. And the tangy lemon flavor combined with the sweet butter cookie is like a bite of sunshine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  •  1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 drops yellow food coloring
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. 1-2 minutes.
  3. Beat in eggs, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and food coloring.
  4. Beat in dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 F degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  7. Roll dough into 2 inch balls then roll in powdered sugar and place on baking sheets. Let sit for 2 minutes until sugar is absorbed, then reroll in powdered sugar.
  8. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets and bake until cookies crackle and set but still slightly soft in center, 17-19 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack  and let cool completely.
  10. This recipe yields 24-30 cookies depending on how evenly you roll your cookie dough. One day I am going to invest in a dough scoop so I can have uniform cookies. I  sprinkled a little extra powdered sugar on the cookies when cooled, but that is not necessary.

Lemon Butter Cookies

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Balls

Chocolatw Raspberry Truffle Balls

Although I like to make scratch recipes, sometimes taking a short cut and making something semi-homemade works best for me. These truffle balls would be fun to make with kids and since I’m a kid at heart, these were great fun for me to make. To be honest, I did not care for the raspberry gummy candies. Next time I will use a different type of candy. But others in my family loved them. So, it’s all a matter of preference.  This recipe yields 24 truffles.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 box your favorite chocolate cake mix
  • 24 raspberry jelly candies (I used Haribo Black and Red Raspberry Gummies)
  • sprinkles for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt butter in the microwave until in liquid form.
  2. Combine melted butter and chocolate cake mix. Be sure to mix well.
  3. Spoon a rounded tablespoon of batter into your hand and flatten.
  4. Place raspberry gummy in the middle of the flattened circle and enclose with chocolate batter.
  5. Roll into a ball between your hands.
  6. Roll the chocolate truffle into sprinkles.
  7. Set onto wax paper.
  8. Place in refrigerator to allow to firm and dry. Serve after chilling for one hour.

Cranberry and Pistachio Bark

Cranberry and Pistachio Bark

I had planned to make nine different cookies for my Christmas goodie boxes this year. But getting sick right before Christmas ruined my plans. I was able to make four differents cookies but I had to stop there. My ambition was there, but my energy level was exhausted by then. Since I had a ton of extra chocolates not being used now, I  decided to try my hand at making a chocolate bark. Surprisingly simple to make and quite tasty to boot.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided (1 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, place dark chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Microwave on half power in 30 second intervals, stirring between each time, until melted.
  3. Place white chocolate chips in a separate bowl with remaining coconut oil. Repeat microwave directions until chips are melted.
  4. Spread dark chocolate out on prepared sheet pan. Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 1
  5. Drizzle white chocolate over dark chocolate. Use a butter knife and drag through drizzles to make a pretty pattern. (Yeah, I know mine isn’t dragged or pretty. But I was sick!)Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 2
  6. Sprinkle with pistachios and dried cranberries. Chill until hardened. Break into small pieces and serve. Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 3

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Hello everyone! I know I’ve been missing in action lately. I had every intention of blogging my Christmas goodies prior to Christmas. But alas, the week before Christmas I came down with the worst cold I have had in years. So I was lucky enough to get through the holiday and get my Christmas goodie boxes out to the family and friends. I just didn’t have the energy to blog afterwards. Here are my red velvet cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. They came out really well considering it felt like everything I baked or cooked this Christmas was on autopilot due to all the cold medicine I had flowing through me. This recipe makes 30 cupcakes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 ounce bottle of red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 package (6oz total) Baker’s White Chocolate bars
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cup powdered sugar

CUPCAKE DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 f degrees. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color, vanilla and vinegar. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. Red Velvet Cupcakes 1
  3. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt chocolate according to package directions.
  2. Beat cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add melted chocolate, vanilla extract, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Beat for another 2 minutes.
  4. Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish with sprinkles of your choice. Red Velvet Cupcakes 2

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes

Did you get a chance to see my Sugared Cranberries recipe? Well, here is where I used some of mine.  They paired well with my white chocolate cream cheese frosting on top of the cranberry poke cupcakes. I tried these out on my family at Thanksgiving. They were well received. If you can’t find cranberry Jello gelatin, substitute with raspberry Jello gelatin. And if you prefer to use a shortcut, just use a box of your favorite white cake mix. I won’t tell. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened (Do not soften in microwave)
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cranberry JELL-O gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 package (6oz total) Baker’s White Chocolate bars
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cup powdered sugar

CUPCAKE DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Add cupcake liners to cupcake pans.
  2. In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, almond extract, milk, & sour cream. Whisk until blended & set aside.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients (cake flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt) in the mixer for 30 seconds so the baking powder and salt will be well incorporated into the flour and sugar.
  4. Slowly add the pieces of butter a few at a time while the mixer is on medium speed. Beat for approximately 1 minute or until the dry ingredients are crumbly and moistened by the butter, giving it the look of coarse sand. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl.
  5. It is important to SLOWLY add approx. 1/2 of the egg mixture with the mixer on very low speed then increasing to medium speed for 1½ minutes — the batter will be thick and fluffy. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings, scraping the bowl and beating for 20 seconds after each addition. It is now ready to pour into cupcake liners.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Pierce tops of cupcakes with fork immediately after cooking.
  7. Combine boiling water with JELL-O gelatin. Stir until dissolved. Spoon gently over cupcakes, allowing to sink into fork holes. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight is best.

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt chocolate according to package directions.
  2. Beat cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add melted chocolate, vanilla extract, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Beat for another 2 minutes.
  4. Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish with sugared cranberries.

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcake

Sugared Cranberries

Sugared Cranberries

Hello everyone! It’s officially the holiday season once again. It’s also my favorite time of the year for baking and cooking. I thought I’d start off with something really easy to make. Sugared cranberries are great for garnishing your desserts or dessert trays or even as a sweet and sour treat all on it’s own.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups granulated sugar divided (2 cups & 1 cup)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine 2 cups of sugar with the 2 cups water in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Do not bring to a boil!
  2. Remove from heat as soon as sugar is dissolved.
  3. In a large bowl, add cranberries. Top with the sugar syrup you just made and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight is best.
  4. After your cranberries have soaked, drain off syrup completely and allow to sit in strainer for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Pour remaining  1 cup of sugar in a gallon Ziploc bag.  Add cranberries and shake until all cranberries have been well coated.
  6. Empty contents of bag onto a wire rack (with pan or foil underneath to catch excess sugar.)
  7. Let cranberries dry for at least an hour.
  8. Store in refrigerator until ready to use as garnish.

Sugared Cranberries Close Up