Carrot Cake


Have excess apple butter and carrots laying around?  Problem solved.

Carrot Cake

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¾ tsp. ground ginger
1 cup brown sugar (or 1/2 cup if you like it less sweet or plan to serve it for breakfast)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
½ cup sweetened apple butter (or apple sauce)
3 cups finely grated peeled carrots
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Position racks in the top and bottom third of the oven, and preheat to 325°F. Lightly grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round pans. Or line a muffin tin with paper cups. 

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Whisk well to blend.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar and oil until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well to incorporate after each addition. Add the apple butter, beating to mix. Add the flour mixture, and beat to incorporate, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed. Add the carrots and the pecans, and beat briefly.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  If making cupcakes, bake only 20 minutes.  Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes; then turn them out onto the rack to cool completely.

Frost it with your favorite cream cheese frosting or just slice and eat.  If you still have apple butter left, put a layer between the cakes or fill the cupcakes with it.

Black Bean Brownies


Black Bean Brownies
Adapted from "Amazing Black Bean Brownie Recipe" on

Yes, these have black beans in them.  And yes, they are still very tasty.

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (or 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (canned is OK)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons instant coffee or instant espresso powder
1/8 teaspoon (or big pinch) sea salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup light honey

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8X8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper (or foil) and lightly grease with butter or oil.

Melt the chocolate (or cocoa+butter) and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high or in a double boiler. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely.

Place the beans, 1/4 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until *very* smooth. Scrape down the bowl often. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the honey and beat well. Set aside.

Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.

Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/4 cup. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set.

Refrigerate overnight before cutting!

(Photo to come)

Winter Squash in Coconut Milk


Winter Squash in Coconut Milk
Source: NY Times

Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling
Yield: 4 servings


1 1/2 pounds dense-fleshed winter squash, like butternut, peeled, seeded and cut into big chunks
2        tablespoons butter (optional)
3        cups (2 cans) coconut milk
1/2     cup brown sugar, or to taste
Pinch salt
1/2     teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. In a saucepan, combine squash, butter, coconut milk, sugar and salt and bring to a slow boil. Cook, stirring, until squash is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature or refrigerate.

2. Just before serving, stir in vanilla. Purée mixture in a blender or leave it chunky; serve cold or at room temperature.

  • Cook it uncovered so that the coconut milk can reduce a little.
  • I would recommend either leaving the chunks of squash whole (i.e. don't mash them up) or pureeing it in a blender or food processor.  I pureed mined and after chilling it was the consistency of thin yogurt.  I think I would have preferred it chunky. 
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