Tis’ the Season!

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I am obsessed with any holiday food. Something about the warm spices and bold flavors of seasonal holiday food that really gets me excited! One of my favorite types of cake is gingerbread. It is so intensely flavored, and if made correctly, decadently moist. Growing up I’ve always loved a company called Gingerbread Construction Company’s gingerbread muffins with cream cheese frosting. I have taken a recipe from a friend and molded it to remind of my childhood favorite. Here’s what’s in it…

Ingredients

1 cup Guiness Stout (helps with the rich flavor)
1 cup Molasses
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 cups AP Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger (this seems like a lot but its necessary!)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (you can used freshly grated)
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Vegetable Oil

Step 1:
Boil molasses and Guiness for one minute, take off heat and whisk in the baking soda. Cool.

Step 2:
In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and spices. Set aside.

Step 3:
Whisk together sugar, oil and eggs. Slowly add in the room temperature molasses/stout mixture. Fold the dry ingredients to the wet. Bake at 350 degrees until done.

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I topped mine with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting and Homemade Candied Ginger!

 

Frosting

1 8 oz. Package Cream Cheese Frosting, softened
1 Stick Butter, softened
1 Tablespoon Orange Zest
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Powdered Sugar To Taste (Some like it sweeter, I like the tang of the cream cheese to be in tact)

Beat all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Top with candied ginger or any other garnish you may want…Try candied orange peel or sprinkle with cinnamon :-)

 

Culinary Wonder: “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt

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Guys… this product is just what the home cook has needed. The whole “low-fat” cream cheese which we all know, is not as tangy or smooth as the full fat version. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt is dare I say…better than any brand of full fat cream cheese out there today.

Let me tell you why. This product has that beloved tang that cream cheese gives you with an amazing creaminess that is provided from the Greek yogurt. Not only is this product a healthier alternative, the results with my baking and culinary endeavors have been just. that. good.

I will be using this product, testing it out in different savory and sweet recipes. Check back here! More to come…for now check out this excellent substitute for cream cheese frosting!

“Greek” Cream Cheese and Yogurt Frosting

  • 8 oz. whipped “Greek” Cream Cheese Yogurt (The whipped variety is extra fluffy and light!)
  • 4 oz. light sour cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (feel free to omit, these can be pricey but are so yummy)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • honey to taste (I say to taste because you can always add but cannot subtract once its in the frosting! I started with a few tablespoons)

Start by using an electric mixer on medium speed beating the cream cheese and sour cream together. Whip until light and fluffy about 1 minute. Add in the remaining ingredients and beat till combined.

*this particular brand of cream cheese has lower calories, as does using light sour cream instead of butter. Honey is also a natural, healthier alternative to white sugar :-)

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I used this batch of frosting on a traditional yellow cake recipe that I lightened up with apple sauce and egg whites.(i know, i know skeptical….but just as tasty I promise)  I garnished the cake with fresh berries to resemble the American Flag, in lieu of the recent tragedies in Boston it is nice to show your patriotism!