We were all sitting down watching one of the many cooking shows that usually graces our television set. As we watched and giggled at a bunch of very inept adults trying to cook and one in particular trying to peel and chop garlic extremely unsuccessfully, Ben at 12 years of age declared “Even I know how to do that.”
One of the best decisions we made in the past year was allocating each Tuesday night to the kids as their night to cook a meal and spending the time supervising them honing their skills and giving them tips to make things easier in the kitchen. Tips such as putting the salt in after the water has boiled or understanding the ratio of a good vinaigrette. They alternate each week and create a meal of their choice from scratch. No frozen food. No packaged sauces. No boxed meals. They scour my ridiculously large selection of cook books and find what appeals to them, write out their shopping list and get cooking. Much to Grant’s dismay they seem to be veering towards vegetarian meals mainly.
My ultimate aim is that they are gaining skills that won’t leave them relying on prepackaged meals and fast food and give them the courage to experience new things. And once you experience new things in one area of your life, it opens you up to experiencing other things in your life too.
As for me, I’ve become a baking fiend recently as I try to create snacks for the kids for their lunchboxes and after school snacks instead of relying on sugary muesli bars and overprocessed snacks. Its not hard to find a cookie or cake recipe they will love but it is hard to find one the is at least less bad for them, let alone good for them, that they love. So our home is littered with oatmeal raisin cookies and banana bread at the moment as I experiment and find some good choices. If you are coming for a consultation anytime soon, be prepared to be wowed by my baking prowess because no doubt I will be trying to palm some off to you too.
I came across this recipe on Cook Yourself Thin, an awesome cooking show. It substitutes sweet potato for butter and is just 336 calories per cupcake, including the icing. The original recipe can be found here. I adapted it a little bit to the flavours I wanted and my adapted recipe is below. I have seen the kids try new things more readily and when Ben helped me make these cupcakes and I put in the sweet potato, it wasn’t received with a “Gross!” but a simple “Oh” and he was interested to see what they tasted like. They were awesome by the way and totally worth trying.
I felt like indulging my feminine side and went for pink icing with sprinkles. Sometimes life is better with sprinkles.
MAKES 12 CUPCAKES : 336 CALORIES PER CUPCAKE
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 heaping cup of peeled and finely grated sweet potato
1/2 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper liners.
Using a handheld or stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes until pale and quadruled in size. Add the grated sweet potato and whisk again. Whisk in the ground almonds, flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking powder until they are well combined. Add the chocolate chips and using a spatula mix until just combined and distributed.
Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners so each liner is half filled (Hint: Use an icecream scoop to get exactly the same amount in each liner)
Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Once cooked, remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before icing.
For the icing, I started with 2 tbsp unsalted butter (at room temperature) and added 2 tbsp icing sugar and food colouring. Mix well. Then alternate between 1/4 cup cold water and additional icing sugar, mixing well until you get the right consistency and quantity. Ice and enjoy 🙂 If you have any left over, refrigerate.