More Fall Baking

I did some more all baking last night and really love to do it. There was a short span of time when I felt that I couldn't bake sweet things because they weren't "good" for you to eat and I needed to focus on healthy things but then was reminded that there are more important things than health - like love, fellowship, enjoying life, and bringing joy to others lives. There really isn't an easier way to connect with neighbors than bringing them baked goods. I'm really excited about baked gifts for our neighbors this Christmas season.

I'd also like to add that I think I was making healthy eating an idol in my life. I felt that if I could feed my family the most nutritional things and the least unhealthy things other areas of my life would fall into place. I would be a better mother, wife and person. The only way I will become a better mom, wife or person is through Christ. I'm not even sure how it works exactly. I just know that I can't do it by myself. My best efforts will fall short of Christ's perfection and since He created everything and knows just how it should work I should ask for His help constantly. He gives me each day and each breathe. It's a pretty huge deal.

He's also given me a desire to love others and to share the joy of baking and eating wonderful foods. So bake I do. Here are the two recipes that I made last night and they were both given several thumbs up.

Almond Butternut Squash Muffins/Cupcakes (based on this recipe)
1 cup butternut squash puree
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup of butter, room temperature
2/3 cup of sugar (half brown sugar if you desire, I'd use even less next time, maybe only 1/2 cup)
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 1/4 cups of flour
1/2 tsp almond flavor (or vanilla if you don't like almond but how can you not like almond?!)

1. Quarter and seed the squash. Place in a 9x13 pan with about 1/4 inch of water and bake for 40-60 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool and scoop out insides and puree in a food processor or blender if you desire. I didn't puree mine so there were some small chunks after I mixed it in. You could see the chunks in the final muffins but couldn't detect the texture or taste so I'll skip the pureeing again in the future.

2. In a large bowl, cream sugar, eggs, and butter. Add squash and flavoring.

3. Add dry ingredients being careful not to cover your kitchen in flour. I mix my dry ingredients in with a spatula before turning on my mixer but if you have a nice big stand mixer you of course don't need to worry so much. I'll admit I'm jealous of you fancy stand mixers - and even your not so fancy ones.

4. Divide batter evenly in greased or lined muffin tins, filling each cup about halfway. Bake at 350 F until tops spring back when touched, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-22 minutes.

I made mini muffins and they took about 15 minutes to bake.

I was going to frost these with a chocolate buttercream but didn't have enough powdered sugar. They were delicious without the frosting but would have been quite amazing with. In case you'd like to frost them here's an easy recipes for you.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temp.
1 1/2 to 2 cups powerdered sugar
2 to 3 Tbs. cocoa powder
a few splashes of milk to reach the right consistancy

Cream the butter until smooth, add the sugar and cocoa and mix until smooth adding milk as needed

If, like me you have lots of apples this fall that need to be used you should put some into these apple bars. The first time I made them I added a layer of almond paste and last night I added a layer of caramel instead. Both were quite delightful. Neither time did I put the layer of corn flakes as I didn't have any and wasn't going to buy them just for this recipe. If you try a different variation (or use corn flakes) let me know how they turn out!!