Pumpkinhead Cupcakes (The Leftovers Club)

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It’s rare that I make a dessert for The Low-Acid Kitchen that doesn’t try to mask whole-wheat flour, do without oil, or otherwise be very healthy. These cupcakes are a true dessert, though, and they’re a treat with their light texture and delicious spice blend. They’re naturally moist from the pumpkin puree, and the fat content isn’t problematic if you eat only one. This recipe also includes a secret ingredient: Shipyard Pumpkinhead, my favorite autumn ale.

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The key to keeping this dessert heartburn-friendly is to omit the frosting. Cream cheese frosting would be fantastic on these, but it’s not necessary. I topped each cupcake with shredded coconut instead of frosting, and the pop of sweetness and texture was the perfect finish. The part of the coconut that isn’t directly touching the cake gets browned and crispy and is divine!

I sent these cupcakes to Ginger of Stark Raving Delicious for The Leftovers Club. She made me a moist and well-spiced pumpkin loaf, and I wanted to reply with a seasonal treat. If you love to bake and want to receive goodies in the mail each month, consider joining Ginger and me in The Leftovers Club.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • a few dashes of cloves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and add paper liners to a standard cupcake tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix well.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugars, oil, vanilla, egg, pumpkin, and beer. Stir until smooth.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in several batches into the wet ingredients, and stir until all lumps have disappeared. 2014-11-02 19.21.55
  5. Fill each cupcake liner with a scant 1/4 cup of batter. Sprinkle each cake with coconut, and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

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Makes 12. Active time 10 minutes; total time 26 to 28 minutes. Adapted from http://shipyard.com/article/pumpkinhead-cupcakes

Healthier Apple Crisp

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Apple crisp is a fall favorite, and it can be a healthy one, too. I made this version low in fat by cutting over half of the butter and replacing it with applesauce. This particular recipe makes more of a granola topping, rather than the traditional buttery crust, but it is delicious.

The key to making this recipe good for heartburn is to use mostly red apples (which have a higher pH than green apples and thus are easier on the throat) and throw in one green apple for tartness. I used a mixture of red, green, and tan apples that a friend picked at the orchard and left at my house. I’m not sure where tan apples fall on the spectrum of acidity, but I come across them so rarely that I’m not going to worry about it.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 or 4 large Gala apples
  • 1 green apple
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole-wheat white flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat white flour
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Core and thinly slice the apples, measuring them (about 10 cups) and placing them into a 9 x 13 inch glass baking pan.
  3. Mix the sugar, 1 tbsp flour, spices, and pinch of salt in a medium bowl, and sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Stir to coat.
  4. Combine the oats, 1/4 cup flour, almonds, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, melted butter, applesauce, and salt, and use a fork to mix well. Use your fingers to sprinkle the mixture evenly over the apples. 2014-10-09 15.55.25
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Serves 8. Active time 25 minutes; total time 70 minutes. Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/healthier-apple-crisp-ii/

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Pumpkin-Applesauce Muffins

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Looking for a good use for a little bit of canned pumpkin? This recipe uses only half a cup, and it’s combined with applesauce for sweetness. I tried several variations on this recipe, and this version had the best texture. Adding chopped apples never led to a good result, but use chunky applesauce if you’re looking for a bit of fruit in your muffins.

These are low in fat, and the sprinkle of pumpkin seeds makes them feel special. If you don’t have any seeds, though, chopped almonds would work just as well. Either crunchy topping will complement the spices and the soft, carby muffin goodness.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat white flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs lightly. Mix in the oil, pumpkin, applesauce, milk, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together both flours, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices until blended. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until incorporated.
  4. Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup. Sprinkle the surface of each with pumpkin seeds, and press them gently into the surface of the batter with your fingers. 2014-10-15 18.24.05
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Makes 12. Active time 15 minutes; total time 35 minutes. Adapted from http://www.hannaford.com/recipe/Sunny-Double-Apple-Muffins/11102.uts#

Apricot-Banana Oatmeal Bites

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I wouldn’t call these cookies, but they satisfy a sweet tooth and come in cute little packages. The texture is crispy on the outside and oatmeal-like on the inside. This is the kind of snack I would serve to my all-female book club, but it probably wouldn’t fit in as well at a Superbowl party.

Be sure to use Turkish apricots if you’re worried about heartburn. If not, any dried fruit will work here. If you want the bites to be more gooey and less oatmeal-like, try reducing the oats to 1 cup. This recipe is very forgiving, so throw everything in the bowl and bake!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups oats (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1/2 cup nuts (I used pecans and almonds)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, chopped

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and move the racks to the top and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the oats and nuts until finely chopped.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. IMG_5924
  4. Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of dough into your hand and roll it into a ball. Place it on the parchment paper and flatten slightly. Repeat with the remaining dough. IMG_5928
  5. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Then switch the cookie sheets and bake for 13 to 15 more minutes, until the bites are golden brown and the air in the kitchen smells toasty.
  6. Move bites to a cooling rack. Once cooled, store in the fridge or freeze for later.

Makes 20 to 24 cookies. Active time 15 minutes; total time 45 minutes. Adapted from http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/banana-oatmeal-snack-cookies

Sweet Potato-White Chocolate Cookies

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Who says nutmeg is a winter spice? These cookies have traditional fall flavors, but I’ve been eating them all summer. They’re so moist that each cookie feels like a piece of cake, and they always please a crowd.

This is a variation on pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips. I replaced the canned pumpkin with sweet potatoes because my farm share sends me piles of them; pumpkin would give you the same result, though.

I mixed in white chocolate and pecans to replace the chocolate chips so this recipe would be heartburn-approved. Both versions are delicious, but to be honest, I usually use semisweet chocolate when I make these for others! Total chocolate deprivation is not a sustainable lifestyle. These are some of the healthiest cookies around, so I don’t feel guilty about having a few bites of chocolate once in a while.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat white flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato (from 2 medium potatoes; directions below)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash the sweet potatoes and prick them each several times with a fork. Put them on a plate and microwave for 7 minutes. Flip each potato and microwave for 6 more minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Use a dull knife to peel each potato (as shown here). Discard the skins, mash the flesh, and measure out 1 cup, setting aside any extra for another use.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar until smooth and light in color, about 1 minute. Mix in the applesauce, oil, sweet potato, and vanilla until blended.
  6. On low speed, mix in half of the flour and then the other half after a few seconds. Work quickly, as the dough will form a sticky ball around the beaters. Finish mixing by hand if necessary.
  7. Mix in the white chocolate chips and pecans (if using) by hand. IMG_5905
  8. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the dough onto the cookie sheets. You should have 14 to 16 cookies.
  9. Bake the cookies until the tops feel firm and a toothpick comes out clean, 15 to 16 minutes. Let the cookies rest for 5 minutes on the sheets; then move them to cooling racks to cool completely.
  10. To store, leave the cookies uncovered and unrefrigerated overnight. (Otherwise they will get soggy.) Move to an airtight container the next morning, and refrigerate if you haven’t devoured them all.

Makes 14 to 16 cookies. Adapted from http://baker-bookworm.blogspot.com/2010/11/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies.html