Tag Archives: vanilla

Mostly Organic Spinach Cupcakes

6 Apr

When I first started trying to figure out how to make leafy greens into a dessert, I thought of spinach. If you can make a carrot cake that doesn’t take like vegetables, why not a spinach cake? Thank goodness for the internet, because the only sweet spinach cake I could find was on this great blog about Turkish food. So I found Binnur’s original Spinach Cake (Ispanakli kek) recipe, adjusted it a little, and got to work.

I started with the spinach, which I bought organic since spinach is one of the Dirty Dozen vegetables. I bought 2 5-oz packages organic spinach, snapped the roots off, and pureed it all in the food processor. Side note: this was the first time I ever used a food processor, and it was amazing. I can’t wait to find other things to process.

BeforeAfter
I set the spinach aside so I could start the batter. First I preheated the oven to 375 F. In a large mixing bowl, I blended 3 organic eggs and 2 cups sugar with a hand mixer on low for about a minute. Then I added 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon organic vanilla, and all the spinach and blended until it all incorporated.

IngredientsThen I slowly added 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 tsp baking powder. I blended that for about two minutes longer.

Batter

Cupcake Batter
Then I scooped the batter into paper-lined muffin cups. I popped them into the oven and baked for about 18 minutes, until it passed the toothpick test.

Muffin or Cupcake? Muffcake!

Spinach Cakes

I tasted one and it was actually pretty good! It smelled like spinach but tasted like cake. Though I will say, I kept some plain ones in a sealed plastic container for a couple days, and when I took the lid off, that was some strong spinach smell. I decided it could use some frosting, so I whipped up some vanilla buttercream.

I dropped 1 stick softened organic butter (1/2 cup) into a mixing bowl and blended it with a hand mixer for just 30 seconds or so till it was smooth. Then I added 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar and blended on low until incorporated. Then I added 1 tablespoon organic vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons organic heavy cream. I blended on medium for about 2 minutes. Once it was the perfect texture, I frosted the cupcakes.

Spinach Cupcake!The vanilla buttercream balanced the spinach cake perfectly and made for a pretty light but sweet cake. And unusual too!

How Sue Sees It:
– You could probably serve these without the frosting and call them muffins, but they’re still pretty sweet. And they’re better with the frosting anyway.
– This is a great option for people who need to hide vegetables in food in order to get kids or spouses to eat them, a la Jessica Seinfeld.
– This would also be great to serve for a St. Patrick’s Day party!
– I took them to a party and was very hesitant and almost apologetic about serving spinach cupcakes. I explained what they were, and then went back outside to move my car to a more legal parking spot. By the time I got back 10 minutes later, there were only 3 left! I guess they were good.

Like hotcakes!

Lemon-Glazed Ginger Cookies

19 Mar

I haven’t been baking much lately, even though I’m supposedly a “Bake-aholic,” so I decided to stop being lazy and try something new. The original recipe for these delicious cookies was in one of my Martha Stewart holiday cookie magazines. I edited it slightly, using fresh ginger rather than candied ginger, and I thought they came out great. They’re more of a cake-like cookie, and the cookie itself isn’t very sweet, but it meshes perfectly with the super-sweet lemon glaze.

First, I prepared my ginger, because I used fresh ginger, and I figured it would take a while. But trust me, fresh ginger is worth it! It’s not that it even tastes way better than ground ginger spice, it’s just totally different. I used a flat grater to grate about 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger. Tip: Freeze your ginger first!! It will grate sooooo much more easily, it won’t be as messy, and you won’t lose any of the flavorful juice.

I whisked to combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt, and set it aside.

In a separate bowl, I combined 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter and 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar. Then I beat it with the hand mixer on medium for about 3 minutes, until it was a bit fluffy. I added in all that ginger I grated up and beat the mixture for another 2 minutes. Then I beat in 1 egg and 2 tablespoons vanilla until well combined.

I Need 3 Hands
I reduced the speed of the mixer to low and added the flour mixture a little at a time, beating until just combined.

Cookie Batter
The dough was much stickier than I expected, so I divided into two sections, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and left it in the fridge overnight.

So the next day, I came back, set the oven to 350 F, and got to work on the dough. I wasn’t going to try to roll the dough out and use cookie cutters, because we all know what happens when I try that alone, so instead I rolled it into a log and sliced it into rounds. To do it this way, it actually works better to be almost frozen because then the knife doesn’t mush it while you’re trying to cut it. And I’ll be honest here: one of the dough sections wasn’t cold enough, it mushed like crazy, and I ended up molding little flattened balls of dough onto the parchment paper with very sticky hands. This dough is sticky enough that if I had one, I would probably use a mini ice cream scooper or a melon baller to drop rounds instead.

Cookie Dough Rounds
So once they were all lined up on a pan lined with parchment paper, I put them in the oven for about 14 minutes, rotating once halfway through. Once they were slightly golden around the edges, I pulled them out and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

Looking at cookies through the grimy window of my oven.Cooling the Cookies
While they were cooling, I mixed up the lemon glaze. This was so delicious that I followed it exactly like the original Martha Stewart recipe. First I cut a lemon in half and juiced one half of it to get about 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Then I took that same half and grated the peel on the flat grater — just like I did for the ginger — to get about 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest.

Zesting a Lemon
I whisked to combine 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, the lemon juice and zest, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 1/2 tablespoons water, and a pinch of salt. It was pretty easy to get this nice and smooth, and ohmygosh it was so good. I was dipping my fingers in it the entire time I was baking. I will be putting this lemon glaze on everything.

Glaze IngredientsLemon Glaze
Then I just took my lemon glaze and put it on top of my cooled ginger cookies. The whole drizzling thing was just not working for me.

Drizzling Was Not Working
So instead I just spooned it on top in big blobs and let it run to cover the whole top of the cookie.

Glazing a CookieGlazing
For the second half of the batch, I set up a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and then rested a wire rack on top of it. I set the cookies on the wire rack and glazed them there, so that the excess glaze could run off the sides and be caught by the pan below, instead of pooling unattractively around the cookie. This gave the cookie a really nice look. I was in a hurry (when am I not?), so I popped the cookies in the fridge so the glaze would set more quickly. But it would harden enough to be transportable in probably half an hour.

Lemon-Glazed Ginger Cookies

 

How Sue Sees It:
– I suggest storing these in an airtight container with wax paper between layers of cookies. Martha says they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days. I think throwing away cookies after only 2 days is ridiculous.
– I ran a little short on the lemon glaze near the end, and I tried to quickly whip up a second batch with some of that lemon juice that’s in the plastic lemon bottle. DO NOT DO THIS. It was disgusting and I threw it away.
– Line anything going into the oven with parchment paper and everything else with either parchment or wax paper. Then you can just throw away the mess.
– You can add food coloring to the glaze if you want. It looks kind of freakish and a bit less appetizing, but I dyed some of it green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Rudolph Cupcakes

29 Dec

Breakaway cupcakes are all the rage these days, so here’s some Christmas-y ones for you. My cousin and one of my sisters made these, so I don’t have a recipe, but you don’t really need one.

They used yellow cake mix for all the cupcakes, baking them in red and green paper liners. For the face, they spread on canned chocolate icing. And for the antlers, they piped on canned vanilla icing in wide zig-zag lines. They added graham cracker crumbs on top of the antlers.

Rudolph Cupcakes

For the facial features: the eyes are two Double-Stuf Oreos painted with chocolate and white icing. The nose is another Double-Stuf Oreo painted with red icing. The mouth is black gel icing.

And that’s it! Super cute, and very festive!

Rudolph Cupcakes!

Merry Christmas!