Tag Archives: Purée

Blueberry Cupcakes

19 Aug

I made these scrumptious blueberry cupcakes ages ago and forgot to post them, so hopefully I’ll remember everything. I have the recipe written down, so maybe that will jog my memory. These came about as the perfect solution to knocking out two birds with one stone: I wanted one more recipe for in-season blueberries (they were in season at the time, anyway) and I needed a treat for my dad for Father’s Day (I said it was ages ago).

Usually blueberries are found in more pastry-like desserts — pies, crumbles, cobblers, etc. I was intrigued by blueberries in cupcakes and thought it would be great to try out.

I started with 2 pints of blueberries. I’ll go ahead and say it now — I personally thought the blueberry-to-sugar ratio was excellent, but I would guess that a lot of blueberry fans would want way more blueberry flavor than this, maybe even double the amount. Your call. Anyway, for the batter…

I preheated the oven to 350 F and lined my cupcake tin. I thought a monochromatic look would be nice, so I used blue paper liners. In a food processor, I pureed a pint plus a little more of the blueberries, and set it aside.

I sing that to the tune of Raspberry Beret.

I sifted 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and a pinch of salt into a small bowl and set it aside.

Dry Ingredients

In another small bowl, I whisked together 2 T milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and the prepared blueberry puree.

Batter IngredientsNow that I had my dry and wet mixes ready, I pulled out a large mixing bowl. I mixed 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) softened butter on low, and added 1/2 cup sugar. I beat it for a few minutes, until it was light and fluffy. Then I added one eggand mixed on low until just combined.Batter UpI added half the flour mixture, mixed briefly, added the milk mixture, mixed briefly, and then scraped down the bowl and added the rest of the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Then I poured the batter into the prepared cupcake tins.

Cupcake Batter

I baked them for about 20-22 minutes, until they passed the toothpick test. I let them cool a bit in the pan, and then transferred them out to cool completely.

I went ahead and got to work on the frosting because pureeing and straining the rest of the blueberries took some time. This time, I pureed the rest of the blueberries in the food processor, and then I pushed them through a fine mesh strainer. This took quite some time, but it took even longer to clean the damn thing afterward. I just used the back of a spoon to push the blueberry puree through. The result was a purple goo that was much smoother than the chunky mess that came out of the food processor. This worked out great because the cupcakes had a great speckled look to them, where you could see tiny blueberry chunks baked in, but the frosting had the ideal smooth frosting texture in a pretty light blue color.

Ignore the red polka dots and you can see a little blueberry goop down there.

In a large bowl, I beat 1/4 cup softened butter, 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla with my hand mixer on medium-low.

Adding Blueberry Puree

I added the blueberry puree a little at a time until I achieved the desired flavor and consistency — for me, that was all of it. Once the frosting was smooth and blue, it was ready! I spread it on top of the cupcakes and topped each one with a single fresh blueberry. Perfect!

Blueberry Cupcakes

Blueberry Cupcake, in all its monochromatic glory.

Broccoli Brownies

20 May

Sounds disgusting, right? But much like the spinach cupcakes, they were actually pretty good! Since I committed to creating one meal and one dessert for each seasonal crop in North Carolina this year, I was again at a bit of a loss for broccoli. I Googled “broccoli dessert” and had very little success with fitting results. A search for “Broccoli cake” turned out a little better. My favorite result was this Broccoli Forest Cake, which I may have to try out one day. But from reading the recipes, I wasn’t quite convinced that any of my findings would be sweet enough if I truly focused on the broccoli.  So instead I decided to pull another Jessica Seinfeld and just hide that broccoli in a delicious dessert. Brownies it is.

Fresh Broccoli

I started off by pureeing fresh broccoli florets in my food processor (best kitchen purchase EVER). It resulted in a consistency kind of between powder and sand. I pureed enough to make 3/4 to 1 cup broccoli and set it aside. I preheated the oven to 350 F and got to work on my batter.

About to get processed

In a large bowl, I whisked together the dry ingredients: 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Dry Ingredients

In a separate bowl, I combined 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. I stirred it by hand till it was just blended.

Ew, Wet Ingredients

Then I slowly added the wet mixture to the dry mixture, stirring by hand till it was just blended. Last, I stirred in the chopped broccoli and 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips.

Broccoli & Chocolate

Broccoli Brownie Batter

I greased an 8×8 pan and poured the batter in evenly. I baked the brownies for about 25-30 minutes. When you poke it, the brownies should indent just slightly. I let it cool in the pan before I cut it into slices.

Broccoli Brownies

How Sue Sees It:

  • Since the broccoli was pureed super fine, these look like normal brownies. You can’t see any green at all, just chocolate. Perfect!
  • Everyone who actually tasted them really liked them. I’d say about half of my tasters thought they were good and didn’t have any comment at all. The other half thought they were good, but did ask something like, “Hmm… this is good, but what is that?” They couldn’t quite place what they were tasting, but they did like them.
  • For a couple people, including my 16-year-old drama queen of a sister, the thought of broccoli was too much of a barrier. She ate the first half of it just fine and told me it was delicious, but when I told her there was broccoli in there, she refused to eat the rest. My brother was a similar story. I think they were being babies, but it was a good lesson: just don’t mention the broccoli at all.
  • Definitely take the time to completely puree the broccoli. If you don’t have a food processor, go get one. I got mine at Walmart for 30 bucks. The broccoli is pureed so small that you can’t taste or see it. It barely alters the flavor, and it doesn’t affect the texture at all.
  • I thought they were very tasty, especially with the chocolate chips added in for good measure. I just tasted chocolate. But similar to the spinach cupcakes, though they tasted relatively normal, they did have a bit of a funky smell to them. Store them in an airtight container to keep them moist, but open the container and let them air out a bit for a few minutes before you serve them. If someone gets a whiff of these as soon as you open the container, they may not be willing to taste them.
  • A perfect dessert for picky kids and spouses who aren’t getting enough vegetables in their diet!
  • If you would rather incorporate zucchini instead of broccoli, follow the same method, but increase the amount of flour to 1 cup to balance out the extra water content.