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Cute Muffins!

Cute Muffins!

Hattie keeps asking me if we can bake cupcakes again. I've learned that this mostly means she will do some stirring and a whole lot of eating cupcakes and frosting. I'm not opposed to letting my kids eat sugar, but I thought it'd be reasonable (and yummy) to temper it with a few other ingredients, so we made these carrot-apple "cupcakes." (It's just a slightly modified version of this recipe from Williams Sonoma.)  

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup grated apples
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely shredded (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup raisins, dried currants or golden raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts - I used almonds, pumpkin seeds, and pecans, a bit of each.

Mix dry indgredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another bowl; fold together just until they're mixed completely. We used mini muffin tins, so they baked for about 15 minutes at 425. And we made cream cheese frosting, which is basically just softened cream cheese mixed with confectioners sugar and a few drops of milk until it looks like frosting. 

Hattie picked the bright purple and turquoise blue food coloring! We had a bag of sliced almonds so we used those to make the flower petals, and a tiny chocolate candy for the middle of the flowers.

  Hattie enjoying our healthy cupcakes recipe

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Staying warm, baking cookies.

Staying warm, baking cookies.

We've been taking advantage of a few quiet winter moments to bake a few batches of our favorite cookies. Hattie's a great helper, she's not really gotten the concept of cutting or frosting cookies yet, but she's pretty good at mixing and very good at tasting. The recipe is from The Joy of Cooking, and it's been my go-to cookie recipe since I was as little kid helping my mom with baking. We always add a few extra drops of almond extract for extra yummy cookies. 
Rich Roll Cookies from The Joy of Cooking
Copyright 2006: The Joy of Cooking
Yield: About thirty-six 2- to 3-inch cookies

Beat in a large bowl until creamy:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
Add and beat until combined:
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or almond extract
Stir in until blended:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Divide the dough into thirds or quarters, shape into disks, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm enough to roll.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease or line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Working with 1 portion of dough at a time, roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies using 2- or 3-inch cutters and arrange about 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets.
Reroll and cut the scraps. If desired, sprinkle the cookies very lightly with:
(Colored sprinkles, decorating sugar, or nonpareils)
Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are lightly colored on top and slightly darker at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool. 
I make icing for these with cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, a bit of milk or cream, and a few drops of vanilla. I start with mixing up a cup of confectioner's sugar, a half package of cream cheese, and a few tablespoons of cream, and then just add a bit of this and a bit more of that until the consistency is right. If you let the frosted cookies set up for a few hours, the frosting gets nice and firm! For fancy decorating, I mix in food coloring and spoon the frosting into zip-loc bags, then snip a tiny hole in the corner for writing or drawing. The results aren't always very tidy, but they are always delicious! 
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