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
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
Preheat the oven to 350°F
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
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
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.