Chocolate cupcakes

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*The blender was the very start of this experiment, and I was a little apprehensive. They baked up beautifully and were delicious.

Chocolate carrot cupcakes

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup applesauce

1 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or sucanat)

3 eggs

1 1/4 cup steamed carrots

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup cocoa

2 cups whole wheat flour (white wheat, finely ground)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease 9X13 pan or line muffin tins (I would spray the liners).  In a blender jar puree the carrots. Add the applesauce, coconut sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, and eggs, blend until combined. Add cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and blend until combined. Pour into 9X13 pan, or portion into muffin tins and bake. The 9X13 will bake for 30 minutes or until done, test with a toothpick. Cupcakes will cook for 14-18 minutes, check them after 14 minutes and adjusting cooking time as needed. Makes 24 cupcakes.

My kids were begging for cupcakes two weeks ago to celebrate Ariel’s (a Little Mermaid doll they have) birthday. I knew that with two October birthdays coming up that I wanted to be able to celebrate and enjoy cake with my birthday loves. Ariel’s “birthday party” was the perfect, low stress event to test out this cake recipe. To my surprise my entire family really liked these cupcakes, and I thought they were fantastic. Veggies, whole grains, and less sugar is something to celebrate! Definitely an special occasion treat, and one I will savor.

*This recipe was heavily altered from greensmoothiegirl’s beet cake.

Pumpkin Muffins

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Pumpkin Muffins

1 3/4 cups flour (I used all purpose today, I will try whole wheat soon)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup coconut oil (or oil of choice)

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree

2 eggs

1/2 cup applesauce

1/2 cup honey (or agave)

1/2 cup coconut palm brown sugar (recipe here)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray muffin tins, or use liners. It makes 36 mini muffins or 18 regular sized muffins.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg. Whisk to mix well, set aside.

In a medium bowl add can of pumpkin and coconut oil and mix until well combined. Then add eggs, applesauce, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla, and mix well. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined, some streaks of flour will remain, that is ok.

Portion into muffin tins, bake mini muffins for 10 minutes and regular muffins for 14 minutes at 375. Gobble them up!

My only complaint about pumpkin baked goods is that sometimes the pumpkin isn’t the main event, that is not the case with these muffins. Todd, my kids, and my parents RAVED about these this morning. They were so delicious, and tender, and so pumpkin-y. Todd told me how fantastic they were at least 3 times, and ate 5 or 6. Try them and let me know what you think! They will be on heavy rotation around here this fall/winter.

*I found the original recipe on lovelylittlekitchen.com, and I adjusted the sweeteners and seasonings.

Oatmeal Cookies

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Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed coconut palm brown sugar (tutorial here)

1/3 cup honey

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat in the second batch, and they were yummy)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups oatmeal

1 cup chocolate chips

Fall variation: 1/2 cup sliced almonds, 1/4 – 1/2 cup pepitas, 1 tsp. pumpkin spice (as well as cinnamon)

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheets. Beat together butter, brown sugar, and honey. You will want to mix this for 4-5 minutes so the brown sugar gets well incorporated. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, mix well. Add oatmeal, chocolate chips, and fall add ins if desired, mix well. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets, and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

I was so excited to make and eat cookies after 2 months, and a little apprehensive. These did not disappoint. Also husband and kid approved, and they still eat sugar, so I feel safe recommending them wholeheartedly. I will still reserve them for occasional treats, and enjoy every bite.

Coconut Palm Brown Sugar

imageCoconut Palm Brown Sugar

3 cups coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup molasses

In the bowl of a mixer, or a large bowl, combine sugar and molasses. Mix at a medium speed for 2-4 minutes, until it is well blended. Store in an airtight container, and use 1:1 in recipes in place of brown sugar.

I wanted to make cookies, but I know how important brown sugar is for the chewy factor. I was thrilled to use this to make delicious oatmeal cookies. Try it out, and let me know what you think.

Honey Pear Muffins

image image*I used Bartlett pears, but I believe you could use any  variety. I love to use my cookie scoop to load up my muffin tins. I fill it 2/3 for mini muffins, and two full scoops for big muffins. I am the only one in my family who likes nuts in muffins, so I put 3 in between the 2 scoops of batter. Makes 24 big muffins, or 12 big and 24 mini muffins.

Honey Pear Muffins

4-5 pears, peeled, cored and grated (need 2 cups grated pear)

2/3 cup honey (you could use 3/4 cup if you want them sweeter)

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup melted butter, or oil

2 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 1/2 whole wheat and 1 white)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease your muffin tins. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, stir with a fork to combine, and set aside. Peel and core pears, then grate them, need 2 cups total. In a large bowl combine butter or oil, grated pear, eggs, honey, and vanilla, stir until well mixed. Add flour mixture and gently stir until flour disappears. Gently fold in nuts. Portion into your muffin tins, and if desired sprinkle tops with coconut sugar. Bake for 14-18 minutes for regular muffins, and 10-13 minutes for mini muffins. Remove from oven, and transfer to cooling rack. Enjoy!

This was a delicious Friday morning treat, and my kids loved them. It has been really fun to get baking with natural sweeteners, and I am excited to keep trying new recipes.

*I originally tried this recipe from smittenkitchen.com. I modified it to use honey, whole wheat flour, and adjusted some seasonings.