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    Entries in hidden vegetables (5)

    Saturday
    Apr192014

    Carrot Cake Cupcakes

    I’ve been wanting to make cupcakes, and since Easter is this weekend, I thought carrot cake ones were appropriate. After all, what could be more fitting for a holiday that celebrates a giant rabbit? What’s that? The holiday isn’t about a huge, mutant rabbit you say? I’m pretty sure it is. Although, there are a lot of chocolate eggs on the candy aisle, as well, so perhaps that’s where the confusion comes in. I’m about 97% certain even mutant bunnies don’t lay eggs. Anyway, all that aside, these are fabulous cupcakes that you should make, even if you don’t plan on sharing them with said rabbit.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • ⅔ cup flour
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon each of other spices
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ⅓ cup buttermilk
    • 3 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 egg
    • ½ cup finely grated carrot 

    First things first. Grate your carrot on the fine side of your box grater and set it aside. Then, turn the oven to 350° and drop cupcake liners into your pan. You'll need 6. Now onto the spices. Place a teaspoon of cinnamon and your other spices into a small dish. I used about ⅛ teaspoon each of nutmeg, mace, ginger, cloves, allspice, and just a pinch of cardamom. You can use any combination of those you'd like.

    Stir those together and place them in a mixing bowl, along with the rest of the dry ingredients.

    Whisk until everything is evenly distributed. Then add the buttermilk, butter, and vanilla. (make sure they’re all room temperature)

    Mix on lowish speed until it comes together. It’ll look something like this.

    Turn the speed up to medium high and let it go for a good 90 seconds or so. It will become nice and light and smooth.

    Scrape down the sides and mix for another 30 seconds, then add the egg. (also room temperature)

    Beat until it is thoroughly incorporated.

    And last but not least, add the carrot. Feel free to also add nuts or raisins if that’s your thing. Hubby’s allergic to nuts, so if I want them, I just have to put them on top of the icing so we can be sure which ones have them. And well, raisins are just evil.

    Stir those in and spoon the batter into cups.

    Fill them about ⅔ full. (I always like to place things like this on a sheet pan, just in case.)

    Turn the oven to 425° and pop in the cupcakes. Leave them at that temperature for 5 minutes and then turn the temperature back down to 350°. Continue baking them for an additional 12 – 15 minutes.

    If you insert a toothpick into the center of one, it’ll come out with just a few crumbs clinging to it.

    After 2 or 3 minutes, remove the cupcakes to a cooling rack.

    Now, carrot cake wouldn’t be carrot cake without cream cheese frosting, right? So let’s start on that.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
    • 4 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 2 – 2 ½ cups powdered sugar 

    *I should probably mention that these recipes don't match up very well quantity wise.  The cupcakes one will make 6 cupcakes, while the frosting one will make more than enough for a dozen.  Feel free to double one or halve the other.  

    Make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature, then beat them together until they’re nice and smooth.

    Add the vanilla and salt and mix until it’s incorporated.

    Sift in the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time.

    Beat well after each addition, and scrape down the sides.

    Continue to add the powdered sugar until you’ve reached the consistency you like. I needed 2 ½ cups, but it was a rather humid day, so you may not need that much if you’re in a dry climate.

    Pipe or spread the frosting onto your cooled cupcakes.

    Et voilá!

    They are certainly beautiful just as they are, but I thought I’d show a few ideas for dressing them up. I have one with chopped pecans, one with a light sprinkling of ground allspice, and one with a pinch of cinnamon. Anyway you do it, they are going to be absolutely fabulous!

    Otto's usual snack when he gets hungry is carrots, so he was sure I must be making these carrot cake cupcakes for him.  

    So Easter, what are your thoughts?

     

    Friday
    Aug162013

    Zesty Zucchini Bread 

    If you have a garden and are growing zucchini, this is about the time of year you have them coming out your ears.  We have a handful of recipes using them, like Seeley’s zucchini fettuccini, my potato and zucchini pie, and quiche.  Today, however, I’m going for a more traditional option.  Everyone has had zucchini bread before, but this recipe is made with buttermilk and lots of spices so it’s moist, flavorful, and delicious. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 1 ½ cups flour
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ½ teaspoon allspice
    • ¼ teaspoon cloves
    • ¼ teaspoon ginger
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 ¼ cups sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • ¼ cup butter, softened
    • ¼ cup oil
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
    • 2 cups grated zucchini, room temperature

    I know that looks like a long list of ingredients, but most of it is just spices… and speaking of spices, if you happen to have cardamom or mace in your cupboard, feel free to add ¼ teaspoon of either or both.  I just didn’t have any on hand.  I have since remedied the situation with a trip to Penzeys with my friend Elise Logan. 

    Before you start with the ingredients, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350° and butter a 2 quart loaf pan. 

    Then, into a bowl go all of the dry ingredients except the sugar.  (First 10 on the list)

    Whisk that together so that everything is evenly distributed. 

    In a separate mixing bowl, go the butter, oil, and sugar. 

    Mix until it’s nice and smooth and creamy, then add the eggs and vanilla

    Mix until the eggs are completely incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl at some point. 

    Add the zucchini.

    Stir that in and add the buttermilk.

    Once that’s incorporated, add the flour mixture. 

    Now that the flour is in, you don’t want to over mix, so just gently stir until the flour is barely incorporated. 

    Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. 

    Level it out on top and place it onto a sheet pan before putting it in the oven.  Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes.  It should be nice and brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. 

    After 20 minutes, remove the loaf from the pan and place it on a rack to cool. 

    Allow it to cool completely (or nearly) before slicing.  Then inhale the aroma of all those fabulous spices and enjoy.  Spicy, sweet, moist, deliciousness. 

    What's growing in your garden this year?