Friday, October 30, 2009

A Trick and A Treat

A Trick:
I was a weird kid. I always always always ate my veggies. Its not that I was super obedient or anything like that, no, I just really loved the taste ( I still do). But I know that not every kid is like me, and normally parents have to sneak in veggies in any way shape or form.

Now of course, just because I liked veggies doesn't mean I was a healthy eater; I loved my desserts so much that I once polished off an entire tub of Cool-Whip when my mom was not looking ( Ugh, I don't even like to think about that!). So, I understand the mentality of a kid, especially during Halloween time, when veggies are the last thing on their minds.
I also understand the mentality of a parent who wants her child to eat healthy. The solution: trick 'em!
These carrot cake cookies pack in enough nutrients that you can almost forget the sugar involved. Almost.

And A Treat:
Remember the joy of Halloween? Besides the fact that you can dress up and pretend to be someone new, you get free candy just by going and knocking on someone's door. But my favorite part of Halloween was always, in the evenings, when we got home and divided up the loot.
I learned quickly that, being the youngest of five had some drawbacks, one of which occurred every Halloween, when we'd dump our pillowcases full of candy on the floor and separate it into three piles: The throw-aways, the middle-men, and the untouchables. The throw-aways were always chalky candies like Necco-Wafers, or waxy things like those little bottles filled with juice. The middle-men were usually fruity candy, things like Starburst and Twizzlers that I liked, but didn't mind sharing. Then there was the Untouchables.

The untouchables were our favorites, the candy that we would not share, and the ones, unfortunately, that my brothers would often steal. For me, these were always chocolate, the mightiest of all being anything with chocolate and mint. Next in line would be chocolate and peanut butter, mostly Reese's Peanut Butter cups, which are the inspiration, and the key ingredient to Peanut Butter Cupcakes, which are the perfect treat for Halloween parties, or any time really.

Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

Carrot Cake Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies

1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Creme cheese Frosting ( recipe follows)

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy ( 3-4 mins). Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well combined.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Gradually add four mixture to butter mixture, stirring well to incorporate. Mix in oats, carrots, raisins and nuts. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake until browned and crisp, 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread about 2 teaspoons of frosting until the flat sides of half of the cookies. Sandwich together with the remaining cookies.

Cookies can be refrigerated in airtight containers up to 3 days.
Creme Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
1 stick of butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla.

Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, beat cream cheese until smooth, Gradually add butter and continue beating until well blended. Sift in confectioners sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

Peanut Butter Cups:
Adapted from Pillsbury: Complete Book of Baking

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
24 mini-Reese's Peanut Butter Cups ( unwrapped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper baking cups.
In a large bowl combine all ingredients except Peanut Butter cups. Mix at a low speed until incorporated then beat for 2 minutes at a medium speed.
Fill paper lined muffin cups 2/3 way full. Press a peanut butter cup into the batter until the top edge is even with the batter.
Bake for 18-24 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched.
Yield: 24 cupcakes


  1. I hope these are a preview of tonight ;-) I'd love to do those carrot cake cookies sometime!

  2. necco wafers = chalky nastiness. i'm completely on board with your ranking system, by the way. chocolate-mint anything is tops for me too! great cookies (complete with cream cheese frosting, yay!) and lovely cupcakes. happy halloween!

  3. Man! I wish I was a trick or treater at your house! Love to you both.