Wednesday, March 20, 2019

White Chocolate Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Spring has sprung and what better way to welcome its sunshine and blooms than with a delicious and Bettertarian version of this classic.  There are a few exchanges in this recipe that brighten and lighten without going skinny on taste.  The family received the recipe well and that makes it worthy to share with you.
 Organic coconut flour, flax meal and hulled hemp seeds really add depth, texture, flavor and wholesome goodness to a fantastically balanced treat. These cupcakes can be enjoyed with or without frosting, making it even more versatile and suitable for just about all dietary types.

2 1/3 c. AP flour
1/2 c. organic coconut flour
1/3 c. flax meal
2 tbsp. hulled hemp seeds
2 c. pure cane sugar
2 tsp.pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt or to taste
1 1/3 c. canola oil
2/3 c. buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. freshly grated carrot
20 oz. crushed pineapple, well drained
1 c. chopped white baking chocolate
1/4 c. chopped pecans
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cacao extract, optional

Preheat oven to 350*F.
Combine dry ingredients, mixing well in a medium bowl.
In another large bowl, cream sugar, oil, buttermilk and eggs until evenly blended and smooth.
Slowly add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, careful not to over mix, but stirring to incorporate ingredients well.
Once all dry ingredients are incorporated, fold and stir in carrot, pineapple, white chocolate and pecans.
Line cupcake pans with cups and fill 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool for several minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely and clear up space for baking remaining cupcakes if needed.
Makes 3 dozen.

1 lb. confectioner's sugar
4 oz. Neufchatel
2 tbsp. butter
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cacao extract

Blend cream cheese and butter.
Add salt.
Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add extracts and continue until cohesive.
If too thick, you may add a teaspoon or so of buttermilk to make desired spreading consistency.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

No Bake, Walking Cheesecakes

Cheesecake is one of those desserts you just can't go wrong with when looking to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Sometimes, we shy away from treats like this, thwarting the urge to overindulge.  With this quick and easy recipe, portion control is literally in the palm of your hand.  There are a couple of ways I made this recipe, the one below is the quickest, but also very gratifying.
An added plus of this recipe is a dramatic cut of fat and calories, by using a cake cup, instead of a traditional graham cracker and butter crust and the amount of filling that goes into the cup.  This is a part of a movement I refer to as "Bettertarian Cuisine".  We'll go further into detail on what Bettertarian Cuisine is in future posts, so let's get back to this gem of a dessert.  This was quite popular with my tween age girls. Kids respond more positively to food that they've had a part in preparing!
You can have a Walking Cheesecake Bar by offering a variety of toppings like strawberry, blueberry, caramel, fresh berries , candied walnuts,etc... and let each person customize their cheesecake to fit their needs. More cherries? no problem, no cherries? piece of cake, the possibilities are many fold and guaranteed to be just right. Creamy, light, crunchy and satisfying all at once.  Easy, Elevated and Delish!

Boxed no bake cheesecake mix
Pie filling of choice, chilled
Cake cups
Pastry bag, or resealable bag with corner snipped

Prepare the cheesecake mix according to directions on box and place in piping vessel of choice.
Chill for 2 hours.
When ready, pour graham cracker crust crumbs into a small bowl.
Dip cone rim into a small bowl of milk, water or melted butter, then dip into graham cracker crumbs.
Pipe the filling into cone to desired height and garnish with topping of choice.
These treats are made to order, so there's no waste and less waist! ;)

French Onion Bread Bowl w/ Fresh Dill and Cheddar

A fast and simple way I like to dress up the normal menu is by using a loaf of herbed bread as a bowl.  In just a few simple steps, your friends and family will be impressed and you can be the 'Belle' or 'Ben' of the ball(game that is!) or your next gathering.  This recipe shows a french onion dip, but you may fill it with whatever your heart desires. Add some fresh herbs and a sprinkle of cheese/cheeses or even toasted bread crumbs from the center of the loaf, for added flavor and texture. Cater the size bread needed, to the amount of filling you will have or use smaller bread vessels to spread around the table. Day old or more bread would be easier to cut and manipulate.  Easy, Elevated and Delish. 
A loaf of French Bread of choice
A small paring knife
Your favorite dip, store bought or homemade
Fresh Herbs
Cheese, optional

Using the paring knife, cut out center of bread to about 1 inch from the edge, lengthwise, about 1/2 inch the other way.
Hollow out bread roughly 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches into the loaf.
Fill with dip of choice.
Garnish as desired.
Serve with crudites, assorted chips,(bagel, pita) etc.