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Simple Christmas Baking: Part 1

December 12, 2011

I enjoy baking during Advent and Christmas, but because neither my husband nor I really have a sweet tooth, sometimes baked goods can sit around a bit longer than I’d expected them to. Of course, Evelyn (19 months) would eat them, but I try to be a good mother and encourage other choices.

But I love to use my Christmas cookie cutters! And I love to have special foods to serve at this time of celebration!

So, the next few recipes are devoted to simple and (mostly) healthful foods that taste festive without being loaded with fat and sugar. (And, for one of them, you can use your Christmas cookie cutters!)

Harvest Nut Corn Muffins

You can serve these for Christmas breakfast (remember: Christmas is on a Sunday this year!) or frost them as a cupcake with hidden vegetables.

3/4 C. cornmeal, blue or yellow

3/4 C. flour, all-purpose, or whole-wheat pastry

1 1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

3/4 t. salt

2 t. cinnamon

3/4 t. ground ginger

1/2 t. nutmeg

1/2 C. oil

1/4 C. applesauce

3 large eggs

1 C. packed light brown sugar (You can reduce this to 1/2 or 3/4 C. if you’re making the muffins.)

1 t. vanilla

3 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely grated (about 2 C.)

1/2 C. raisins

1/2 C. coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Heat oven to 350. Line muffin tin with liners. (I really enjoy the silicone liners that have become popular recently; they clean well and you can reuse them over and over.) In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking power and soda, salt, and spices. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, applesauce, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla until just combined. Mix in dry ingredients until combined. Fold in carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Divide batter between muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are springy and tester comes out clean. Cool on rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely or eat warm.

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