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Sweet Potato Cupcakes

December 17, 2013 12:26 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Hmmm I've been having more problems posting, but it looks like we're back online! Finally, here are the sweet potato cupcakes I made for Thanksgiving. It's a little late, but if you're making sweet potatoes for Christmas, this is a fun way to use up the leftovers instead of making pie. The batter was dense, but I was surprised about how light these cupcakes turned out. My mom and I made cream cheese frosting instead of the marshmallow in the recipe because it "goes with everything." It's true, cream cheese frosting really does go with everything. It's even delicious by itself! I've included both recipes here just in case you're curious.



  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 to 3 medium or 2 large)
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon (more to taste) ground ginger
  • Two pinches (more to taste) ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (190 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Roast sweet potatoes:  Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prick potatoes all over with a fork. Rest on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning once or twice, until soft. Let cool completely. Can be kept in fridge for up to 3 days, if baked in advance.
  2. Make cake:  Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 paper baking cups.
  3. Peel cooled sweet potatoes and run flesh through a potato ricer, or mash until very smooth. (Do not blend in a blender or food processor.) Measure 1 1/2 packed cups (about 12 to 13 ounces) from sweet potato mash; you may have a little extra, which you should warm up with a pat of butter and sprinkle of sea salt and not share with anyone.
  4. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until just combined. Mix in sweet potato puree, then stir in dry ingredients just until they disappear.
  5. Using a standard-size ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into a cupcake pan so each well is 2/3 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.


Marshmallow Frosting

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (will help stabilize egg whites, don’t worry if you don’t have it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.Place egg whites, granulated sugar, a pinch of salt and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Whisk mixture for 3 minutes, until whites are warmed and sugar granules feels mostly dissolved. Remove bowl from top of saucepan, then, with an electric mixer, beat egg white mixture on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 to 7 minutes longer. Add vanilla and mix until combined.

2. Using a very large round piping tip or the corner snipped off a freezer bag, pipe large dollops of frosting on each cupcake.

3. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the dollops so that they look (and smell!) like toasted marshmallows.


Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces cream cheese


1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer filled with the paddle attachment; beat until well combined. Be sure to beat on high speed at the very end for at least 2 minutes to ensure that the frosting is light and fluffy.

2. Transfer frosting into a plastic piping bag fitted with a round metal tip. Frost each cupcake with a swirl of frosting.

(Inspired by Smitten Kitchen and Lil Sugar)


Fun Fact: Why is Thanksgiving on Thursday?

November 28, 2013 12:06 pm · Posted by Lauren G

It's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and I'm so cool that I'm watching "The Real Story of Thanksgiving" on the History Channel. Don't hate...it's actually really interesting. It actually wasn't until 1941 that Thanksgiving was fixed to the fourth Thursday of November. Before that, the President had to declare the holiday every year since 1863. In the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln declared the last day of November to be a day of thanks for <span>the good that could be found despite the terrors of war and strife. But why a Thursday?

</span>Most historians trace the first nationwide day of Thanksgiving as Thursday, December 18, 1777 set by the Continental Congress and by George Washington. But again, why Thursday?

Back in the 1600's, Thanksgiving was actually a religious holiday. Thursday was the day the local minister would give his sermon, so it was only natural that Thursday would be the day to give thanks.

(Inspired by Wikipedia and Blue Star Equiculture)

Filed under: Facts, fun Tagged with: november, thanksgiving, History

Fun Fact: Turkeys

November 22, 2012 12:44 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Happy Thanksgiving friends! I hope you're all stuffing your faces right now. I know I am! Before you carve up that turkey, here are some fun facts about that tasty sucker.

  • Turkeys can drown if they look up while it's raining.
  • Oddly enough, the best time to see a turkey is during a light rain or a warm clear day.
  • Turkeys have excellent vision and hearing...not so good in the smelling department.
  • They can run up to 20 mph and fly between 50-55 mph.
  • Males "gobble" to attract females, but turkeys also "purr," "yelp," and "kee-kee."
  • Males and females look different but you can also tell them apart by their poop. Males produce spiral-shaped poop and females’ poop is shaped like the letter J.

(Inspired by Aristotle's Thanksgiving on the Web and Smithsonian.com)

Filed under: fun fact, Trivia, fun Tagged with: fun fact, trivia, thanksgiving, turkey, fun

Apple Cranberry Stuffing Muffins

December 13, 2011 3:15 pm · Posted by Lauren G

My favorite part of any Thanksgiving feast is the stuffing, so naturally, I was in charge of it this year. I found this awesome recipe and modified it into single serve muffins (even though I had 2).

1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread

3 3/4 cups cubed white bread (Feel free to use different kinds of bread such as sourdough or baguettes. This recipe is also perfect for your slightly stale bread)

1 pound ground turkey sausage (most any sausage will work in this recipe)

1 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped celery

2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage

1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

1 cooked turkey liver, finely chopped

1 1/4 cup turkey stock (can be modified depending on desired consistency)

1 egg

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degree F (175 degree C). Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.

Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, parsley, and liver. Drizzle with turkey stock, egg and melted butter, and mix lightly. Spoon into paper-lined muffin tins. Bake 25 minutes or until top crusts.

(Inspired by allrecipes)



Maple Pecan Butter

December 8, 2011 12:22 pm · Posted by Lauren G

This Maple Pecan Butter is the perfect enhancement to the Sweet Potato Tamales. It brings out extra sweetness and the pecans add wonderful texture.


1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
3 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until solid, about 2 hours.


(Inspired by Bobby Flay)

Filed under: BUTTER, Yum, Thanksgiving, recipe Tagged with: pecan, maple, Yum, thanksgiving, butter, recipe

Sweet Potato Tamales

December 6, 2011 12:17 pm · Posted by Lauren G

First item on the Thanksgiving menu were these sweet potato tamales. After going visiting Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Las Vegas, my mom found this recipe that's perfect for the holidays. They definitely take a lot of work, so be prepared for the time and effort you have to put in. However, it's fun to get a bunch of people together...nothing like some family bonding over Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Tamales
40 dried corn husks

24 dried corn husks
4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 small onion, chopped
1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon shortening, melted

1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes (roasted at 375º for about 1 hour or until soft, peeled)
4 ounces yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Two hours before you form the tamales, clean the husks under running water. Soak them in warm water for 2 hours, or until softened.
2. Puree the corn, onion, and water in a food processor. Add the butter, shortening. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and add the cornmeal. In the food processor, combine the sweet potatoes, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, syrup, honey, salt and pepper. Using a large rubber spatula, mix the sweet potato and cornmeal mixtures until combined. The mixture will be a lot looser than you think it should be, but when the tamales are steamed it will dry out. Place mixture in the refrigerator while you prepare the corn husks. (Colder masa is easier to handle)
3. Remove the corn husks from the water and set aside 40 husks for rolling the tamales. The best husks for this tend are softer and larger. Drain and pat dry. Tear the remaining husks into 1-inch wide strips to be used for tying. Coarser husks work best for tying. Lay 2 husks flat on a work surface with the tapered ends facing out and the broad bases overlapping by about 3 inches. It works best to use a wider husk as the bottom layer. Place about 1/3 cup of masa mixture in the center. Bring the long sides up over the masa, slightly overlapping, and pat down gently to close. Turn the top husk with the masa over and roll into the second husk. Tie each end of the bundle with a strip of corn husk, pushing the filling toward the middle as you tie. Be sure to tie as tightly as you can as the masa tends to expand while steaming and pop the ties off. Trim the ends to about 1/2 inch beyond the tie.
3. Arrange the tamales in a single layer on a steaming rack, cover tightly with foil, and steam over boiling water for 45 minutes.

To Serve: slice a slit on top of each tamale and push both ends of the tamale toward the middle to expose the masa. Top each with a heaping tablespoon of pecan butter. (Recipe coming on Thursday...)



(Inspired by Bobby Flay)

Filed under: tamale, Yum, recipe Tagged with: tamale, sweet potato, Yum, thanksgiving, recipe

Fun Fact: Thanksgiving

November 24, 2011 1:01 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Every year on the fourth Thursday of November we stuff ourselves with turkey, graving, and stuffing (my personal favorite) of course. You probably remember your 4th grade play where you and your friends dressed like Pilgrims and Native Americans and said something about making life long friends on Plymouth Rock. Well you weren't entirely off. Thanksgiving is a combination of European and Native American celebrations at the end of a harvest season to give thanks for a good harvest. There is evidence of a harvest festival thrown by Spanish explorers in Florida in 1565, but the he Thanksgiving tradition has actually been traced to a 1621 celebration in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In 1623, there wasn't enough food to feed over 100 of the colonists, but the Wampanoag Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to fish and gave them seeds.

It wasn't until 1863, by presidential proclimation, that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated on the same day by all the states. Before that, each state decided when to celebrate on their own. In order to foster a sense of unity between the Northern and Southern states, Presdient Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving to be on the final Thurday of November. Then, on December 26, 194, President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed to sign a bill into law with Congress, making Thanksgiving a national holiday on the fourth (not final) Thursday in November with the reason of giving the country an economic boost.

So, Happy Thanksgiving! Stay tuned to see what my family made for our Thanksgiving meal :)

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