Today I want to share with an accidental success I ran across last week. I discovered how to make the best Lima beans ever! No really, hear me out.
Captain Cupcakeasaurus shared with me his least favorite food: Lima beans. I took this as a personal challenge to make the best dang Lima beans he’s ever tasted. I’ve never made Lima beans. Never. I’m not even really certain how other people make them. I don’t know how they are “supposed” to come out but these turned out freaking awesome and I’d be willing to voluntarily make them again.
My thought process for how to make these typically dry waxy beans delicious went as follows:
What makes everything more delicious?
Bacon! I shall start with bacon.
So I threw bacon in the pan and let that start simmering while I was figuring out the rest.
What adds flavor and pairs well with beans and bacon?
Onion! I have red and yellow onions. Let’s try the red one. That will be perfect!
I added chopped red onion and a tiny bit of butter so the onions wouldn’t stick to the pan. Next was figuring out the Lima beans part.
I grabbed the bag of Lima beans out of the freezer and since I’d never made them before, I read the back for instructions. Well, the instructions said something about boiling the Lima beans until tender and then draining them. That was not going to work. I didn’t want to drain off all the deliciousness and I did not want to mess up another dish. Can you tell sometimes laziness is inspiration for all sorts of life’s solutions? I swear, if I can prevent from having to create an additional dirty dish, I totally will.
So I took out a bowl and filled it with hot water and then added my beans to it just to unfreeze them. Then I added them right into the pan with the bacon and onions. Realizing I wanted them tender and not dry, I added some of that water to the pan as well. Not too much water,I wanted everything still sizzling.
I added a chicken bouillon cube to the water to help add to flavor. If I had chicken stock on hand I would’ve probably just added it in instead of just the water. This would be in the “How I could Do It Differently” section of new recipes. But, then came the flavoring part.
I wanted to make the Lima beans a bit sweet because I think people dislike them because they can be bland. So I added a bit of honey and a bit of brown sugar to make a sweet sauce for them. Add a little salt and pepper and we are almost done.
I am a bit of a seasoning fanatic. I have lots of seasonings and I use lots of seasonings. So I added a bit of garlic powder. You’re lucky I didn’t put actual crushed garlic in these things. And then I added my new favorite seasoning.
Being a born and raised Carolina girl, we don’t have this seasoning up there. But, since I’ve moved here to Florida, it is by far one of my favorites and most used.
It is perfect for just about everything. It does have salt in it so I’d be careful adding too much salt and Everglades simultaneously but the flavor is delicious.
So what do you do when you have a food someone doesn’t like to eat? Mask it with really delicious flavors of course!
Captain Cupcakeasaurus could barely believe he was eating Lima beans. I have never just had Lima beans as a snack but I did today because they are so good. Sweet and savory and probably not as healthy for you as those dry chalky Lima beans but they certainly do taste better.
What are your favorite ways to mask the not-so-desirable foods in your house? How do you handle the Lima bean situation?
So, as with Lima beans, just add honey and sugar to make life taste sweeter!
It is the week before Thanksgiving and we are all getting ready for our family and friends and good eating. Besides all the pumpkin we’ve been making with Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pecan Praline and Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, the next family favorite is always the Sweet Potato Casserole. Who doesn’t love the sweet crunchy goodness of brown sugar and nuts over sweet potatoes and my personal favorite the gooey toasted marshmallows? Yum!
Well, I say family. Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex swears up and down that he hates sweet potatoes. After these cupcakes, he is going to have a hard time getting away with that again. He ate it so fast he barely chewed and then wanted to argue with me when I told him the ingredients. Little Stinker! Suffice it to say, I think the boy likes sweet potatoes.
Sweet Potato or Pumpkin?
In many ways I treat sweet potatoes like pumpkin. I mean think about it, they are similar in color and once cooked pretty similar in texture. Their flavors are similar in many ways especially when you spice them up with things like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. In fact, unless they are side by side, bite for bite, I think sweet potato pie can easily pass as pumpkin pie.
I like to do this recipe in one consecutive baking session. Sometimes I will bake the cakes, then do a topping and then come back to frost them. This recipe is just much easier all at once. First preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Even though they won’t be needed until later, I went ahead and placed my pecans on a little baking sheet to toast.
While those are becoming nice and toasty, I then start on the sweet potato purée. Cut the sweet potatoes into about one inch cubes. I think the smaller pieces make them easier to mash but don’t stress on exactness here. Then just barely cover the potatoes in cold water and place on high heat. Similar to making regular mashed potatoes, just let them boil and get real tender. I used my wooden spoon to mash them into a purée but a fork or potato masher would work fine too. I felt like I was making homemade baby food or something while mashing these sweet potatoes.
The next step is to mix up the Pecan Topping. Mmmmm. There is quite the debate on whether this is the best part or the marshmallow is the best. I’ll let you decide. Mix together the Pecan Topping ingredients and just set to the side. It will be crumbly but that is the way we want it.
All In the Mix
Like many of my recipes, I whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl which is later added to the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, the sugar, butter and lemon zest will be creamed together. Add in the applesauce a little at a time. For conversion sake, if you are planning on making a cake and want to take the eggs out of it (or you ran out of eggs like a silly baking goose), then 1/4 cup applesauce is equal to one egg. However, you’ll want to add a bit more baking powder to balance it out. I would estimate about an 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking powder per egg being replaced. It is a fairly handy trick when you don’t have eggs or have a vegan in the house.
Add in the sweet potato purée and mix well. It is almost time for those dry ingredients to start making this batter look more like batter and less like sweet potato pudding.
Alternate adding the dry ingredients in with adding in the milk. I usually add in a third of the flour mixture and then half of the milk. Then, I will repeat that cycle by adding in another third of the flour mixture and the rest of the milk. The last third of the flour mixture you will want to fold in manually with a rubber spatula so as not to over mix the batter.
Fill the liners 3/4 of the way full of batter and then spoon the Pecan topping on top. Do not worry if the topping domes over the top of the cupcakes, just lightly press it down so that it really seeps in to the cupcake. Bake those for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean with just a few clinging crumbs.
Now, the original idea behind these cupcakes was to take the traditional Sweet Potato Casserole and turn it into an easy to eat delectable treat. However, at some point during the planning process, I overlooked the fact I was missing a baking essential! I didn’t have eggs! This did not pose a problem for the Sweet Potato Casserole cupcakes. In fact, by using applesauce instead of eggs, I feel like it really enhanced the flavor of the spices in the cake.
The problem really arose when I went to make the Whipped Marshmallow Frosting. Here is my disclaimer: The toasted marshmallow fluff in the picture is not the recipe posted below. Why? Well, here comes the embarrassing part. So, I get the bright idea to make Whipped Marshmallow Frosting. I have never made it before. Without reading a recipe (NOTE TO SELF: READ THE RECIPE), I began whipping up what I believed to be marshmallow fluff. Did I start with sugar or gelatin or marshmallow spread? Of course not. I started with a bag full of marshmallows. I have my off days guys. I’m allowed. 🙂
Anyway, as I’m mixing away at my bag of marshmallows, I finally decide to pull up a few recipes on how to make Marshmallow Frosting. Low and behold, that is when I see that I may need eggs for this project and now what is a girl to do? As a baker, I have powdered meringue on hand for just such occasions when I need egg whites and I don’t have them. So then I kind of try to follow the recipe but still including my original bag of marshmallows. None of it was really working. So I decided to save you the trouble of making my mistake so you can have beautiful tasty cupcakes instead of the mess I created.
Oh, you think that doesn’t sound all that bad? You haven’t heard the half of it. Since I did not follow directions, or started following them too late, or whatever, my marshmallow fluff was way wetter than it should’ve been. Even though I piped it onto the tops of the cupcakes, they quickly dispersed and spread across the tops of the cakes and down the sides of my tins.
I also learned a handy lesson about broiling during this endeavor. Marshmallows only take a few seconds to toast. If you walk away for even just a minute, they could catch on fire like campfire marshmallows and you’ll have an oven full of fire and a smoke detector going off and trying to explain to your Fire Captain fiancé how you almost burnt the house down. That’s all speculation of course. But, please learn from my mistakes and lightly toast your marshmallows instead of torching them.
Thankfully, my friends are those funny people who like the more blackened pieces of the campfire marshmallows and they actually loved the taste of the Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes with the added charred marshmallow topping. But, if you’d rather not explain that your cupcakes are just charred and not chocolate, then I suggest a light toasting doing the trick.
Maybe this year, instead of pulling out the casserole dish, pull out the cupcake tins instead and enjoy the traditional family favorite of Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes with all the sweet delicious flavor and the added benefit of easy individual servings.
Enjoy the time with your family folks. I know I will be. Make life taste sweeter by sharing this recipe with the ones you love.
Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes
Spiced Sweet Potato Cupcake with toasted pecan topping and whipped marshmallow frosting.
Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes
Spiced Sweet Potato Cupcake with toasted pecan topping and whipped marshmallow frosting.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place pecans on cookie sheet and put in oven to toast while preparing batter.
Peel and cut sweet potatoes into one inch cubes. Cover in pot with cold water, just enough to top sweet potatoes, and boil on high until sweet potatoes are soft. You can blend them or mash them with a fork once tender. They are so soft it really doesn't take much to mash into a puree.
If pecans are toasted, pull out of oven. Leave at 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with 24 liners.
Mix Pecan Topping ingredients in a medium bowl. They will be crumbly. Set to the side.
In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the rest of the spices. Whisk together and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat light brown sugar and granulated sugar with the melted butter and lemon zest. Mix well. The mixture will become thick after 3-4 minutes.
Add in a applesauce a 1/4 at a time. Mixing well between each addition.
Add in sweet potato puree and vanilla extract until batter is creamy.
Take dry ingredients and alternately add them to the mixing bowl with the milk. Add a third of the flour mix, then 1/2 of the milk, etc. The last 1/3 of the flour mix you'll want to hand fold in with a spatula so as not to over mix the batter.
Fill liners 3/4 full with batter. Spoon Pecan topping on top of each cupcake and press down slightly to really get the topping down into the cupcake.
Bake 15-20 at 350 degrees. A toothpick should come out clean with maybe just a few crumbs.
Whipped Marshmallow Frosting
Place egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heatproof mixing bowl. Set over a saucepan with boiling water and whisk ingredients until sugar is completely dissolved.
Move mixing bowl to electric mixer. Add in vanilla extract and cinnamon. Mix starting at low and gradually moving to high speed until stiff peaks form.
The frosting is very sticky. Using a piping bag, pipe a dollop of Whipped Marshmallow Frosting on the top of each cupcake. Put in oven on high broiler for just a few seconds to toast marshmallow. You can also do this manually with a kitchen torch if one is available.
If you weren’t feeling it last week, you should definitely be feeling it this week. We are in full Fall swing now. Nothing makes me think of Thanksgiving quite like Pumpkin Pie. Since we made Pumpkin cupcakes last week, I was going to switch it up with some sweet potatoes this week.
But, you really can’t say no to these Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. That’s Pumpkin Pie AND a delicious cupcake. Two desserts in one. Double the dessert without doubling the calories. I’m pretty sure since Snickerdoodles are a cookie, it could technically be THREE desserts in one. I just couldn’t resist and had to share. We can always save the sweet potatoes for next week.
So as difficult as baking a pie inside a cupcake sounds, it really isn’t too bad. A few extra steps but nothing that will make you feel chained to your stove. First, we bake pies. Yay Pumpkin Pie! Handmade crust in little mini muffin tins and voilà, mini Pumpkin Pies! I am , of course, sharing my Go To recipe for homemade pie crust which is great for quiches too by the way, but you are welcome to use pre-made pie crust dough if that suits you.
Pie crust dough is fairly easy to whip up but temperature is really important. You want to make sure that your butter and the water added are both cold. I don’t even thaw my butter I just cut it into tiny pieces to make it easier to mix into the dough. Some recipes may call for a pastry cutter to do the mixing for your pie crust but I have two good hands that work just fine.
I will let you know that I do have to put my engagement ring in the cabinet when I cook. I am terrified of it being on the counter or anywhere where it could be bumped or knocked off. So sometimes, Captain Cupcakeasaurus will be putting away dishes or something and happen upon my ring. I figure that’s better than having it be all buttered and floured or worse yet end up down the drain or baked inside a cupcake. Though the latter may sound romantic, I promise, it isn’t.
When pressing the pie crust in to the mini muffin tin, make sure to keep it as thin as possible. No one wants to bite into a delicious cupcake only to get a mouthful of pie crust. The crust will puff up a bit so just keep that in mind while crusting the tins.
I ended up putting about two teaspoons of pie filling in each mini pie. I tried to fill them as much as I could without running over. You will have quite a bit of filling left. You can either make a pumpkin pie with your remaining crust dough and filling or come up with something else to utilize the extras. I made a Pumpkin Pie “tart”. Meaning I couldn’t locate my pie pan and decided a bread pan would work just fine. I lined my bread pan with the remaining pie crust dough and after baking for a few minutes to harden the crust, I filled it with the remaining pie filling. So not only will I be serving Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, but MsCupcakeasaurus will have her own Pumpkin Pie to enjoy as well. Yum!
Alright, so once your little pies are cooling, now we get to do the cupcake bit. You can leave the stove on 350 degrees because it won’t take us long to whip up the batter.
The batter is a type of vanilla cake batter but I find that it comes out a bit more golden than a regular vanilla cupcake. By “golden” I don’t just mean in color. I guess, to me, it would be like the difference in a biscuit and toast. Both are bread and eaten during similar times but clearly a difference.
At the end of the recipe, you’ll notice where it says to beat the egg whites and fold them into the batter. If you are curious as to how stiff they should be, I took a picture just for you. This is an important step that really lightens up the batter. I haven’t tried it but I’m pretty sure without this step the batter would be way too thick and your cupcakes would come out really dense and heavy. We are already shoving a pie inside there, we don’t need it any heavier.
Put your pretty little liners in for 24 cupcakes. You’ll want to spoon about a Tablespoon of batter into the bottom of each cup. We don’t want the pies to sit on the bottom of the cupcake but rather float in the middle. Nestle your little Mini Pumpkin Pies on top of the batter and lightly press to secure. Then add another Tablespoon of batter to the top. I used a butter knife to spread out the batter evenly across the cupcake and help join the top layer with the bottom. I’m sure a spoon or any other preferred utensil would work as well.
I baked these for about twenty-five minutes. I checked on mine at fifteen minutes and realized that the outer cupcakes were looking more done than the inner ones. So, simple fix, I just turned both pans around for the final ten minutes to help them bake more evenly.
Be warned, these cupcakes will rise over the lip and create a bit of a muffin top. It is inevitable. We stuffed a pie inside of a cupcake. There is bound to be some spill over. I can only imagine how that poor Turducken must feel.
Once cool, I lightly brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. The tops will quickly look like every picture you’ve ever seen of a Snickerdoodle. They are so pretty, you could almost leave them just like that. But, to clearly distinguish cupcakes from muffins, we have to add that irresistible frosting.
This frosting is a nice smooth cream cheese frosting with added Pumpkin Pie spices to really bring the whole cupcake together. First, you’ll want to cream your cream cheese and butter. It is important to really cream it well or else you’ll end up with little butter or cream cheese chunks in your frosting. Though that may not bother your taste buds, it can easily clog your Wilton 2D decorator tip. Pro tip though, I do use a knife to carefully pull open the prongs to help frosting not get stuck in there.
I am so excited about these Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes I can barely contain myself. My taste tester, Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex, has already demolished one for snack today. The rest will be accompanying me this weekend to that Turkey Shoot I mentioned. I’m sure they will be a crowd pleaser.
Let me know what your family favorites are this time of year. Are there any special dishes that MUST be on your Thanksgiving table?
Place flour in mixing bowl. Cut butter into slices for easier manipulation. You can use your hands to mix the flour and butter together.
Add salt and cold water to the mixture. Hand mix until dough is formed.
At this point, it could be rolled out for regular size pies. For our purposes, I hand mashed little discs for the mini muffin tin. Poke with a fork in the bottom and bake at 375 degrees until light brown (about 10-20 minutes).
Mini Pumpkin Pies
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
Add in eggs and pumpkin puree and whisk until well mixed. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
Pour pumpkin pie mixture into pre-prepared mini pie crusts still in mini muffin tin. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes. Toothpick in center of pie should come out clean.
Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Continue to leave oven at 350 degrees.
Line cupcake tin with 24 liners.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in egg yolks only and mix well. Mix in the vanilla extract as well.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Alternating with the milk, add the dry ingredients in with the creamed ones. Mix well.
In a separate bowl and with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter using a rubber spatula.
Spoon one tablespoon of batter into each cupcake liner. Gently set a Mini Pumpkin Pie on top and lightly press into the batter. You do not want the pies to sit at the bottom of the cupcake. Spoon a second tablespoon of batter over top of the Mini Pumpkin Pies. Use a spoon or spatula to spread batter out evenly in cupcake liner.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Edges will be light golden brown. Cool on baking rack.
Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter. Lightly brush the tops of each cupcake with melted butter. Sprinkle Cinnamon Sugar mixture over cupcakes to create the Snickerdoodle effect.
Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese Frosting
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
Add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until well mixed. Add in vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. Mix well.
Using piping bag and decorating tip of choice, frost medium peaks on top of cupcakes. Leave the rim showing to reveal the Snickerdoodle topping.
Since we are making mini pumpkin pies, you will have a significant amount of pumpkin pie filling remaining. You will also have enough crust remaining to make a personal Pumpkin Pie if you wish while making these cupcakes.
The frosting above is doubled. In order to have enough icing for all 24 cupcakes, it required more than just one batch. However, at the doubled rate, you will also have some extra frosting. I'm sure we can think of something fun to put that on.
Will someone please phone Florida Weather Control and let them know that it is Autumn? That means temperatures should not be above 75 degrees and even that is high. How the heck am I supposed to get into the holiday spirit when I’m roasting in 90 degree temperatures? At least I have my pumpkin to help me feel better.
Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex carved his up and we got to watch it whither and melt over Halloween. I decided not to carve mine. So he’s just been chilling out in a corner of my kitchen. This pumpkin does not look like a carving pumpkin anyway. He is large and really really lumpy all over. He is my Lumpy Pumpky!
It’s Friday y’all and as always I’m baking some tasty treats to share. In true Fall fashion, we are baking up some pumpkin favorites that can be a great addition to your Thanksgiving tables. Next week, I’ll be attending a turkey shoot and these treats can be appreciated there as well.
I started with the praline. This is so super easy it isn’t even funny. This recipe is more than enough to top your cupcakes so feel free to snack on a little too. I did!
Go ahead and lay out a cookie sheet and cover in parchment paper. Wax paper could work but parchment is so much more baking friendly. It makes the praline super easy to remove.
You’ll put two cups of granulated sugar in a saucepan on medium high heat and let it melt. I used my metal spoon to stir it up as it was heating and it was neat watching it turn from the white granules to the amber syrup. Then just add in two cups of whole pecans. I didn’t have to stir them in long, just a quick few flips with the spoon to make sure they were covered.
Spoon out the amber sugar syrup and pecans on to the parchment paper. The nuts will want to stick together and may make this a little difficult. Just smooth it out and try to get just one single layer of nuts on the cookie sheet. Then just set that to the side to cool. It actually doesn’t take too long at all. I sat it to the side while whipping up the batter and by the time I put the cupcakes in the oven the Pecan Praline was ready.
Making the praline brings back memories of baking and candy making with my stepmother years and years ago. During the holidays she would make a peanut brittle and a holiday peppermint bark. Maybe I can get into the holiday spirit after all.
Now for our delicious pumpkiny batter, we’ll start by sifting together our dry ingredients and then the wet ones. In a medium bowl, add in your flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Wait, do those last ingredients sound familiar? They should. That’s your Pumpkin spice flavoring. Almost the exact same ingredients are used for Apple Pie spice. I like to pretend I’m funny and make a joke about the difference between Apple Pie spice and Pumpkin spice. The ginger makes all the difference. Okay, so maybe that goes over better with my redheaded pals.
In your mixing bowl cream the butter, one cup of granulated sugar and half a cup of brown sugar. Similar to our butter cream in Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcakes, it will become light and fluffy looking. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing between them. Then you will mix in your dry ingredients in three parts alternating with the milk and lemon zest. This you’ll want to do on low speed because we don’t want flour flying everywhere. Last, add in the pumpkin puree and mix until well blended.
Fill the liners 3/4 full and then pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean when they are done. They look like little pumpkin bread muffins and the whole house will smell heavenly.
I’ll be honest this icing is not what I expected it to be. At first it was supposed to be a light whipped cream type topping but my whipping cream was not cooperating. I will blame that on the 90 degree November I’ve got going on here. So a few additions turned this into a creamy, cheesy, brown sugary goodness.
I named it Pumpkin Brown Sugar frosting because I liked that the anagram would be PBS. I know that is silly but Whipped Cream Pumpkin Brown Sugar Cream Cheese frosting just seemed exorbitantly lengthy.
Pour your whipping cream into your mixing bowl. Set your mixer to medium and basically just walk off for awhile. I’m serious, I got the mail, had some lunch, watched some Arrow on Netflix and then came back to my cream. Then you will add in the brown sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract and Pumpkin spice. Again you can pretty much walk away while it beats itself to death. You’ll want to beat it until it is smooth, no lumps. Don’t be Lumpy Pumpky!
If the frosting is a bit wet, like mine was, just add in the powdered sugar. It thickens it right up and makes it much more manageable for piping.
Using Wilton’s 2A decorating tip, I piped the frosting on top. Then, it was time to add the crunch. Break off a few pieces of the Pecan Praline, try a bite, and then put the rest in a Ziploc bag. Since the praline tends to be glass sharp, I also laid out a kitchen towel and sandwiched the baggy between it. Then, SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER! I’m kidding. You don’t really need a hammer. I just used my body weight to crush the praline into little crumbly bits. Sprinkle as little or as much as you’d like on top of your beautiful cupcakes.
I also experimented at adding the Pecan Praline in a different way. I broke off a few larger pieces and stuck them up like Frozen’s ice walls. It looked okay, but it requires their removal before eating the cupcake. To get the full on flavor and texture effect, I find it best to crumble the Pecan Praline over the top, heavily.
Hopefully, you are able to enjoy these treats with a nice chill in the air overlooking beautiful Fall foliage. If not, you can still enjoy them almost as much with a nice AC breeze in the air overlooking palm trees. Either way, they are a pretty sweet way to make life taste sweeter.
Pumpkin cupcakes with Pumpkin Brown Sugar Frosting and Pecan Praline
Pumpkin cupcakes with Pumpkin Brown Sugar Frosting and Pecan Praline