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.


  • 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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  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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  • 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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  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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Sweet Potato-White Chocolate Cookies


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.



  • 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)



  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

Sweet Potato & Banana Muffins with Pecans


These muffins are the healthy version of funfetti. The inside is studded with bits of sweet potato, banana, and pecan. In addition, these are low in fat and made partially with whole-wheat flour. They’re not too sugary, but the natural flavors of the ingredients make them sweet enough for dessert. The pecan-brown sugar topping helps with that, too.

I tend to make heavier, filling baked goods that I can eat for breakfast or as a energy boost before a bike ride. These muffins are dense, but they also rise high during baking. They’re moist, but not mushy like some produce-filled cakes can be. I’m really happy with the texture and was pleased to bring these to a family Easter celebration as a healthy dessert.



  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 small sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp chopped pecans
  • 3 tbsp pecans
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar


  1. Wash and dry the sweet potatoes. Place them on a plate lined with paper towel and poke holes in them with a fork. Microwave on high for 6 minutes; then flip and microwave for another 7 minutes. Let the potatoes cool for 3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the bananas, brown sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla, and eggs in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, and cinnamon.
  4. Peel the potatoes and discard the skins (as shown here). Mash the flesh and add it (about 3/4 cup of mashed potato) to the wet ingredients. Use a fork to break up the potatoes and bananas as well as possible.
  5. Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in the pecans.
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  7. In a mini chop, pulse the pecans and brown sugar about 10 times, until the mixture is uniform.
  8. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter into 12 paper-lined muffin tins. Sprinkle each cup with the pecan-sugar topping.
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  10. Bake the muffins for 18 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out nearly clean. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.

Makes 12. Active time 30 minutes; total time 50 minutes. Adapted from http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/side/potatoes/sweet-potato-banana-bread.html

Maple-Butternut Muffins (The Leftovers Club)


These muffins are dense and filling—perfect for breakfast or for a snack on the snowshoe trail. They’re also moist and sweet, and the sugar-walnut topping makes them craveable. The combination of squash, apples, and nutmeg is reminiscent of autumn’s pumpkin mania, but I don’t mind. I can’t wait nine months to cook with these flavors!

You can defrost a package of frozen squash for this recipe. It’s a great addition to oatmeal and sauces, just like canned pumpkin. I had some leftover roasted squash (35 minutes at 425 degrees, coated in cooking spray), so I mashed that with a fork. If you use leftovers, make sure they haven’t been salted.

I sent these muffins to Jennifer of Recipe for Random for this month’s edition of The Leftovers Club. If you’re a blogger who has leftovers and you want to receive baked goods in the mail, sign up and join us! Click below to see what everyone baked this month.



  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp white flour
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • heaping 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash puree
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 a Gala apple, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 heaping tbsp walnuts
  • pinch of cinnamon



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  2. Use an electric mixer to beat the egg, sugar, maple syrup, oil, applesauce, and vanilla on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients in a few batches, mixing on low speed until well combined.
  3. Add the butternut squash puree and oats and mix for 2 minutes. Stir in the walnuts and apples by hand. IMG_4980
  4. Make the crumble topping by pulsing the sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in a mini-chop until blended.
  5. Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into 9 paper-lined muffin cups, and sprinkle with the topping.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.


Makes 9 muffins. Adapted from