Red Beet Cupcakes

Red Beet Cupcakes

We have an awesome cupcake store in our neighborhood and every now and then we take the kids by to enjoy a special treat. Without fail, their eyes are always drawn to the most colorful cupcakes in the display case. My kids may have no idea how a red velvet cupcake made with crimson food dye actually tastes, but put something like it in front of them and their immediate response is, “that one”.

Red Beet Cupcakes from weelicious.com

My take on these cupcakes have a rich flavor, and while they aren’t as artificially red as the red velvet cupcakes which use chemical food dyes (and of course chocolate which this one doesn’t include), they (and their icing) get their bright, reddish-pink color from a surprising, delicious and 100% natural guest, roasted beets. Especially given the never-ending speculation about the connection between food dyes and hyperactivity in children, having smart alternatives for the artificially colored food that kids crave means I don’t have to deprive my little ones.

This doesn’t mean we’re not frequenting our local cupcake store any less often, but I always like reminding myself that whenever there’s something out there I may not be thrilled about my kids eating, figuring out how to make a healthier version is not at all impossible.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 large beet, roasted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Beet Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup beet puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Sift the first 4 ingredients into a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet and combine.

5. Pour about 1/3 cup into lined muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

6. Cool completely before frosting.

Beet Cream Cheese Frosting (Make 2 Cups)

1. Place all the ingredients in a mixer and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy. 2. Spread on cupcakes.

 

 

Red Beet Pancakes

Red Beet Pancakes

Red Beet Pancakes came to me courtesy of my husband.

My better half has discovered a passion for cooking. For me, this newfound culinary obsession of his is both a blessing and a curse. While on one hand it’s a huge relief because I don’t have to cook, it can also be a total pain in my tush (and not just because of the potential mess I likely find afterwards) because while he is completely focused on his latest creation, I am left in charge of two cranky, hungry kids.

It’s hard for me to get upset though. Hubby gets so excited about the whole process and the two hour mental voyages he takes while focussed on a new dish are kinda hilarious to watch. It’s like witnessing a 4 year old trying to finish a 50 piece jigsaw puzzle for the first time. Plus, I love watching how jazzed the kids get seeing Daddy work in what they consider to be Mommy’s turf.

One recent Saturday morning, Daddy decided to make a beet pancake recipe he had seen in Good to the Grain, a fabulously gorgeous book by Kim Boyce. As soon as Kenya heard the words “beet” and “pancakes” he said, “no way, that’s gross”. It didn’t take long for Chloe to jump on the “yucky” bandwagon. It seemed like this experiment was going to leave two out of four of us with empty tummies, but as soon as the kids got into helping Daddy stir, mash and measure, they apparently forgot all about their initial aversion. By the time the beautiful ruby discs finally came off of the griddle and onto everyone’s plates, the kids downed about five a piece.

My favorite part of this story though, came later on when my husband asked Kenya why he was so resistant at first to the beet pancakes. Kenya just looked at him and said, completely matter of fact, “who knew they were going to be that good!”

I’ve simplified Boyce’s recipe here, adding some whole wheat flour, more pureed beets to further brighten the color and some Greek yogurt too, making these red beet pancakes a breakfast that will make everyone’s eyes as big as their stomachs when you set them on the table.

He may make a bit of a mess and take a while finding his way around the kitchen, but I have to say it’s unbelievably charming watching hubby take over what I usually think of as my kitchen….and make it more of ours!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp kosher salt
  • 2 medium beets, roasted and pureed (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/4 Cup milk
  • 1/3 Cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract

Preparation

1. Sift the first 5 ingredients into a bowl.

2. Place the rest of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine.

3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined (you don’t want to overstir the batter — some lumps are good).

4. Drop about 2 tbsp of the pancake mixture onto a greased griddle or pan over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes on each side.

5. Serve with desired accompaniments.

* To freeze: Place the pancakes in labeled zipper bags and freeze for up to 3 months

 

Waffle Heart Sandwiches

Waffle Heart Sandwiches

Nothing says I love you quite like these Waffle Heart Sandwiches for Valentine’s Day! Crunchy, creamy filled heart sandwiches full of deliciousness that kids and adults simply love.

If you know anything about me you know I love coming up with fun, creative ways to make lunch for my kids. If there’s a holiday, you better believe I’m going to try to make their lunch box holiday themed! Valentine’s Day is no exception. In fact, it’s one of my favorite holidays! Every year I make these Waffle Heart Sandwiches for Kenya, Chloe and Gemma’s bento boxes and they absolutely love them!

These sandwiches are a fun treat to make with your kids too. They love cutting out the bread into hearts with a cookie cutter, filling them with cream cheese and raspberries, and finally, popping them into the waffle iron! I love these sandwiches too because they’re totally customizable. You can add any filling you want and they’ll be equally delicious!

We’ve made these with peanut butter and jelly before and they are absolutely incredible! The way they get crispy from the waffle iron cannot be matched. And it’s so easy! If you haven’t been making sandwiches in your waffle iron, this is your sign to do so asap!

I love any excuse to use my waffle maker too. There are tons of weelicious recipes for your waffle maker you’ve got to try like Waffle French Toast, Rainbow Waffles, and even Waffle Iron Eggs! There are endless way to use your waffle maker and it’s so much fun!

Valentine’s Day is one of the most fun holidays to come up with recipes for! We make these adorable Raspberry Cream Cheese Heart Tarts, Puff Pastry Berry Hearts and this really cute Valentine’s Day Snack Board. They’re great if you have a school party too and look adorable on any table!

 

Ingredients

  • 4 slices sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons whipped cream cheese
  •  honey, to taste
  • 6-8 fresh raspberries

Preparation

1. Preheat waffle iron.

2. Using a large heart shaped cookie cutter, cut the bread into hearts.

3. Spread half the cream cheese on 1 heart and drizzle with honey to taste. Flatten the raspberries by opening them up with your fingers. Place 3-4 raspberries on top of the cream cheese and top with another plain piece of heart bread. Place the sandwich in the waffle iron for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Repeat with remaining ingredients and serve.

What’s The Difference Between Macarons And Macaroons?

What’s The Difference Between Macarons And Macaroons?

Do you get confused between macarons and macaroons? You’re not alone! Many people use the two names interchangeably, when in fact, they refer to very different sweet delights. So read on to find out the differences between these two exquisite confections.

Differences in Ingredients

The main difference between macarons and macaroons is their ingredient list. Macarons are meringue-based and consist of almond flour, egg whites, and sugar. Macaroons, on the other hand, are coconut-based and comprise of grated coconut alongside powdered sugar and egg whites.

Looking at the history of macarons, they are single recipe cookies that were brought from Italy and introduced to France by the famous chef, Catherine de Medici. When macarons got to France, they were upgraded and a new sandwich cookie recipe was created. The method that was created is not the recipe most pastry chefs use today. If you’re looking for a recipe for the kind of macarons you’ve probably sampled at high-end patisseries, see here for a guide to how to make macarons for beginners.

There seems to be some confusion about the origin of macaroons because there are numerous stories. The most famous tale told about the history of the macaroon is that it was an American version of the French macaron. With an increased import of coconut into the Americans in the 1800s, Americans quickly re-invented the original macaron recipe which was later referred to as the macaroon. Or so the story goes.

Main Differences in Characteristics

Macarons are characterized by their delicate egg-shell like crust with an inner meringue texture while macaroons are characterized by their dense and lumpy texture that creates that delectable chewy experience in the mouth.
Macarons come with a delicious filling of fruit jam, ganache or buttercream, and the ratio of cookie to filling must be 2:1 respectively. On the other hand, macaroons’ shredded coconut gives them their signature texture and taste.

Another characteristic difference between macarons and macaroons is that macarons are moderately sweet while macaroons are extremely sweet. Macarons come in a wider variety of colors while macaroons are only known for three popular variations which are; chocolate-dipped, lemon-flavored and original coconut.

Preparation Differences Between Macarons and Macaroons

Macarons are the more challenging and fiddly to make of the two, especially for beginners. They require significant practice and patience to get right. The key step is the “macaronage” process, where ground almonds and sugar must be carefully folded into the meringue before being piped onto baking sheets. The macaroon, on the other hand, can be prepared in under 20 minutes, and there is even one variation that requires no baking at all.

https://pixabay.com/photos/dessert-food-macaroons-macro-1850216/

Other Differences

Macarons are best enjoyed within a few hours of baking, and will last a couple of days when kept in the fridge, whilst macaroons can last for more than two months when frozen. The average cost per macaron cookie is almost double the average cost of the macaroon cookie. Whilst the macaron and the macaroon are very different confections, they are both sweet treats worth making the effort for!

Deep Fried Oreos

Deep Fried Oreos

fried oreosOreos!  I think just about everyone loves Oreos, those chocolate cookies with the creamy filled centers.  Of course everyone has their own preference when it comes to eating those yummy cookies.  Do you bite into the whole sandwich or do you twist one side off and eat the creamy filling first?  Personally I’m the bite the sandwich kind of gal!  Now as much as we love oreos we also love funnel cake, that oily sweet crunchy treat you find at fairs, carnivals, and theme parks.  Well have you ever had Deep Fried Oreos?

The only way I can describe Deep Fried Oreos is to say they’re a marriage of Oreo cookies and funnel cake.  Yes it’s a battered and fried treat that has recently been added to the fried treats found at the state fairs and carnivals across the country.  But it’s so easy to make at home so you don’t have to wait until the fair comes to town!

All you need is pancake batter, eggs, milk, oil, and of course the oreos.  It’s so easy you can make a batch of about 2 dozen in less than an hour.  I fry mine in coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, the coconut oil gives it that little bitty taste of coconut, yummy!  But you can fry it in any oil you normally use.  So with out further delay here’s the recipe.  Hope you love these treats as much as we do!

Deep Fried Oreos

Ingredients:

1 Egg

1 Cup Milk

1 1/2 cups Bisquick mix

1 Tsp. Vanilla

24 Oreos

About 2″ oil for deep frying

Powdered Sugar

Directions:

Beat Eggs and milk together in a small bowl.

Mix in Bisquick until the batter is smooth not lumpy.

Stir in Vanilla

Heat oil over medium high heat.

Dip each oreo in dough and drop into hot oil.

Fry until golden brown.

Drain fried oreos on paper towel

Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Some folks like them hot, they’re crunchier when served hot.  But others like them cooled.  I’m not sure how well they keep as we never have any left over that needs storing!

fried oreos

Almost Homemade Chocolate Cake

Almost Homemade Chocolate Cake

We love Chocolate Cake!  It’s one of my favorites!  I mean seriously what’s not to love?

So whenever I get hungry for a quick fix of chocolate cake I grab a box of my favorite mix, add a few extras, and bake an almost homemade chocolate cake. Of course I could make it from scratch, but sometimes I just don’t have the time.  When I’m pressed for time it’s either box mix or make a run to the store and many times it’s just easier to use the cake mix.

But just because I use a cake mix that doesn’t mean my cake has to taste like it came out of a box.  By adding and substituting a few things anyone can make a box mix cake taste like it was made from scratch!

Here’s how I make my almost homemade chocolate cake.  I’m pretty sure you’ll have the ingredients in your kitchen.  I usually have a box or two of cake mix, one yellow and one chocolate, and a couple of cans of frosting in my pantry; I like to stock up on them when they’re on sale.

What you’ll need:

1 Box Devil’s Food Cake Mix – or any type of chocolate – any brand will work

1 Cup Milk

1/3 Cup Butter, melted

5 Large Eggs

2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 Tsp. Instant Espresso Powder

2   9″ Round Pans

Raspberry Preserves

1 Can Chocolate Frosting

Cooking Spray

Here’s what to do:

Heat oven to 350º

Grease the 2 pans

Substitute the water the box mix calls for with milk, and use melted butter instead of the oil

Use 5 eggs instead of however many the box mix calls for

Place the mix, milk, butter, and eggs in a bowl and mix on medium speed with electric mixer

Stir in vanilla extract and espresso powder

Pour equal amounts of batter into the 2 pans

Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean

Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes

Flip cakes onto a rack and cool completely

When cakes are completely cooled use a wire or sharp knife to level the tops and make them flat

Dust off any crumbs

Place 1 layer on cake plate, bottom side on the plate

Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserve on top to seal the crumbs

Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserve to the top of the second layer

Spread a layer of chocolate icing on the first layer

Flip the second layer over and place it on top of the first layer – your cake should be top sides together

Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserve on the top and sides of your cake – this seals in any crumbs

Frost the top and side of your cake

Garnish with fresh fruit or whatever you like before serving.

 

This cake is really great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a cold glass of milk!