Tag Archives: Blog Hop

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats 2012

 

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Here begins the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats for 2012! Remember when I participated last year? Well it’s time again! Hard to believe it’s really twelve weeks until Christmas!

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I decided to try something new this year. Last year most of my entries for the blog hop were gluten free (the red velvet cheesecake brownies being the lone exception). This year, I will continue to make all my entries gluten free, but I will also be experimenting with some grain-free options. They are certainly not low-carb in most cases, and keep in mind, treats are treats and I will treat them as such. I make no presumption that these are “healthy,” though I do choose to use real food ingredients and keep dietary limitations in mind. When it all comes down to it, these are for pure enjoyment and seasonal celebration. As they should be!

Now let’s get on to it!

To start things off this year, we’ve got to head right into the pumpkin. And for the record, making these cupcakes required the last of my first stash of canned pumpkin for the season. One of the things I love about pumpkin is that it’s essentially pumpkin season four months out of the year. These translate well from fall right into Christmas time! The fact that I eat pumpkin year-round is entirely beside the point…

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Grain-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes

Adapted from Elana’s Pantry
Makes 1 dozen

1.5 cups raw almonds
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
3 tbsp applesauce
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp molasses
1 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or combination of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor or high speed blender, combine the almonds, arrowroot, salt, and baking soda together until you get as fine of a meal as possible without turning it into weirdly seasoned almond butter. Then add all the rest of the ingredients and process for an additional 2-5 minutes. This will help smooth the mixture.

Fill a cupcake pan lined with papers with the batter, filling each cup about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20-22 minutes. I bake these for a bit longer than I do flour-based cupcakes. This helps the protein structure set a bit better, I think.

Allow to cool completely before frosting. I’ve learned that almond flour-based baked goods tend to taste better the longer they are out of the oven.

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Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick butter
1/2 package of cream cheese
1 lb powdered sugar (normal powdered sugar contained cornstarch, making this not grain-free. However, organic varieties sometimes use arrowroot in lieu of cornstarch. Or you can blend your own granulated/turbinado/coconut sugar for makeshift powdered sugar)
1 tsp vanilla

In a mixer, whip butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until soft and smooth. Then slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Smear or pipe onto cooled cupcakes!

 

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Here are my submissions to last year’s blog hop!

Oatmeal-Apple Cookies
Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Nutella Cookies
Gingerbread truffles
Aztec Brownie
Orange-Cranberry Scones
Chai Cupcakes

 

 And check out all these other lovely blogs!



11 Weeks Left: Get your swirl on!

It’s Thursday again! That means it is time for another installment of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies & Sweets!

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This week, I moved away from the cookies and made something extra special.

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The idea for this came out of a happy mistake. Last January I was baking and selling cupcakes for a fundraiser, and one of my flavors was red velvet. Well, one day I was testing a red velvet recipe and I accidentally used baking powder instead of baking soda. The result was an dense, fudgy, red velvet brownie.

I never served those to the public. I’m not sure they ever left our kitchen. They were swallowed practically whole with its equal weight in cream cheese frosting. But they have never been made since.

But just the other day I asked Edgar what his favorite dessert I ever made was.

“Those red velvet cupcakes you messed up on.”

Er. What.

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I resolved not to purposely repeat my mishap in hopes of more brownie-ish goodness. Instead, I was inspired to try something new with this week’s treat!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies!

Most the recipes I found for this varied very little between them, but I took the advice of several different commenters on the original recipe I tweaked it to my liking. I also used spelt flour because I can’t leave well enough alone.

The best part is swirling!

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Well, not really. The best part is eating. Fresh out of the oven, these feel lighter than air in the mouth, but if you let them completely chill in the fridge, they become rich, fudgy, and the red velvet flavor really comes through!

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Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from Sonny Anderson

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp red food coloring (Um. I ran out and didn’t have enough to really get a rich red. But it still worked. Used as much as you want!)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (you use white distilled or apple cider vinegar if you wanted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat pastry flour, or all-purpose flour)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, pour in a separate, medium-sized mixing bowl. Add sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar, stirring after each addition. In a separate, small bowl, beat the eggs with a fork lightly. Then mix the eggs into the batter. Mix well.

Gently fold in the flour. Do not overmix.

Pour batter into baking pan, but try to reserve about 1/4 cup of the batter for later.

In a mixer, blend the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Pour into the pan on top of the red velvet layer and smooth.

Take the reserved batter and dollop on top of the cream cheese layer. It doesn’t have to look pretty.

Take a knife and hold it vertically, point-down into the batter and swirl. Have fun with it! But don’t go nuts or the top will look more pink than marbled. Less is more!

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until brownie and cream cheese are firm and edges start to lightly brown.

Let cool completely before cutting.

In fact, let chill completely before eating. Your patience will be rewarded. Winking smile

In the meantime, check out the other great recipes for this week’s episode of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies & Sweets!

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