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Chocolate Macaroon Birthday Cupcakes

Making your own baby food is an awesome way to make sure your little one is getting all the nutrients they need with none of the additives that you don't want. But where to start? The Amazing Make-Ahead Baby Food Book by Lisa Barrangou is a life saver for busy parents. It's full of simple directions for making delicious purees your baby will love. After you've mastered those, use the purees as building blocks for incredibly yummy, wholesome recipes. Even though it's technically a baby food book, we'd eat all of this ourselves (and we do!)

These Chocolate Macaroon Birthday cupcakes are something special. They subtlety remind us of macaroon cookies (thanks to coconut in the batter) and are light and indulgent at the same time.

Birthdays are definitely a time to indulge, and this recipe does not disappoint. "I love that these cupcakes store so well in the freezer, because you can ration them out more easily," says Barrangou. "The apple puree provides moistness; for a bolder flavor, try cherry puree. Instead of regular eggs, this recipe uses "flax eggs," because I prefer the springier texture that results as well as the lack of "eggy" flavor. One "flax egg" is made by simply mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water. You can substitute this omega-3-rich mixture for regular eggs in almost any baked good, in a one-to-one ratio."

RECIPE: Chocolate Macaroon Birthday Cupcakes

Makes 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 11⁄2 flax eggs (11⁄2 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 41⁄2 tablespoons water)
  • 3⁄4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely shredded dried coconut, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 (2-tablespoon) cubes Apple Puree (page 61), thawed

Ingredients for Optional Chocolate Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. Prepare the "flax eggs" by combining flaxseed and water in a small bowl and whisking with a fork. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 to 10 minutes while you work on the rest of the batter.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, coconut, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the flax eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, and apple puree. Mix all ingredients together until just combined.
  4. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Divide the batter to fill 12 cupcake tins. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in a cupcake. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan. While cupcakes are cooling, make the chocolate glaze.
  5. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, butter, and water and bring to a slight boil, allowing the sauce to thicken. Remove from heat, drizzle the chocolate glaze over cooled cupcakes, and sprinkle with the additional coconut. Allow the glaze to set before serving.
  6. To freeze cupcakes for later, first remove the cupcake liners, then place the cupcakes in a freezer storage bag lined with waxed paper, taking care to squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing. Cupcakes can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Apple or Pear Puree

Makes 15 (2-Tablespoon) Freezer Tray Cubes

11⁄2 pounds apples or pears (about 5 medium fruits)

  1. Peel the fruit and cut it into 2-inch chunks, discarding the core. Place the fruit chunks in a steamer basket and set in a pot filled with 1 to 2 inches of simmering water. Cover and steam for 5 to 7 minutes, until the fruit slightly softens and can be pierced easily with a fork. Uncover and remove from heat to let the fruit cool down. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  2. Place the fruit in a blender or food processor and puree, adding reserved cooking liquid, if necessary (probably close to 1⁄2 cup), until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Pour the puree into a freezer tray and cover with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Place the freezer tray in the freezer for 24 hours, or until completely set, then transfer frozen cubes from the freezer tray into a labeled freezer storage bag.

Reprinted with permission from The Amazing Make-Ahead Baby Food Book, by Lisa Barrangou, copyright 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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