Saturday, October 10, 2009

Comforting Fall Recipes!

I love fall, and I especially love all the comfort foods that come with this cooler season! My family especially adore all the yummy treats that arrive with fall--caramel corn, hot cocoa, etc... So what's a girl to do when all of these treats are considerably unhealthy (lots of sugar, processed flour, etc..)? I've been revamping some of my family's favorite fall treats into healthier versions that we can induldge in without the guilt! Here are a few I would like to share with you:

Pumpkin Cake

2 c. pumpkin puree or solid-pack canned pumpkin

2 c. rapadura (natural sugar alternative)

1 c. olive oil or melted coconut oil

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp. baking soda

2 c. whole-wheat pastry flour

2 tsp.cinnamon

1 tsp. ground clove

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

dash sea salt


4 oz cream cheese, softened

5 tbsp. melted butter

1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 c. heavy whipped cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Chopped nuts to top (I use a candied pecan recipe that I found at Passionate Homemaking)

For the cake: In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingreedients; set aside. In a seperate bowl, combine all wet ingreedients; add with dry ingreedients and mix well to combine. Pour batter into a well-greased brownie pan or 2 round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool.

For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth; gently fold in whipped cream.

Assemble the cake: Just leave the cake in the pan (if using 2 round cake pans, take them out!) and frost the top with cream cheese frosting. Garnish with nuts.

**What I did to make it healthier: The original recipe called for white flour, which I replaced with whole-wheat pastry flour. I suppose you could also prepare it with 1 c. whole-wheat and 1 c. white flours, if you like. I also substituted rapadura for regular sugar, and coconut oil for vegetable oil (olive oil works as well). For the frosting, I pretty much stuck to the original recipe, only I substituted whipped cream for the powdered sugar the original called for, thus making a frosting with a lighter texture. I prefer the original frosting, but until I can find a better substitute for powdered sugar, this is it! Also, I tried soaking my flour for this cake mix the night before I baked it, and it just didn't turn out so well. I will continue to improve that process!

Mulled Cider

1/2 gallon fresh, unpasturized apple cider

3 cinnamon sticks

2 tbsp. whole clove

2 oranges, cut in halves

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

rapadura to taste

Combine all ingreedients in a large stock pot; simmer on low for about one hour. Strain all the solids before serving in mugs.

Caramel Corn

1/2 c. popcorn kernels

olive oil for popping

dash sea salt

4 tbsp butter

1 c. sorghum

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Pop the popcorn in olive oil in a large pot; remove from heat, add salt and set aside. In a saucepot, melt the butter; add sorghum and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stirring continuously. Add vanilla. Pour hot syrup over the popcorn and allow to cool a bit before serving.

**What I did to make it healthier--I adapted this recipe off of my mom's caramel corn recipe. To improve it, I substituted real butter for margarine and sorghum for brown sugar, with similar- tasting results!

Cinnamon Rolls

Proof the yeast: 2 tbsp. dry active yeast, added to 1 c. hot water with 1 tbsp. honey for 5 min.

2 1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. honey

4 tsp. sea salt

8 c. whole-wheat pastry flour

While the yeast is proofing, melt butter in a large saucepan; add milk, honey and salt. In a large mixing bowl, add flour with the milk mixture; add yeast mixture, stirring until all ingredients are well-combined. Knead the dough 5-10 min.; place in a large bowl, cover and let rise about 1 hour.


1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. rapadura

1 tbsp. cinnamon

Mix all ingreedients in a bowl and set it aside.

Assembling the Rolls: Punch dough down and knead out all the bubbles. Cut the dough in half. Roll each half of dough out into a large rectangle; use a pastry brush to brush on the cinnamon mixture. Roll dough up, jelly-roll style, and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Place on a greased cookie pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Caramel Frosting

2 c. heavy cream

1 c. sorghum

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp. butter

Combine all ingreedient in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to boil and immeadiately remove from heat. Continue to stir, 1-3 minutes, or until thickened. (You may need to add a bit of cornstarch/water slurry to thicken it). Frost over cooled cinnamon rolls.

**What I did to make it healthier: I substituted whole-wheat pastry flour for white flour, butter for margarine and rapadura for sugar. Although I love traditional cream cheese frosting on cinnamon rolls, once again I ran into the powdered sugar problem. So instead, I created this ooey-gooey caramel frosting, which is a delicious alternative, using sorghum, a natural sweetener.

I hope you enjoy my healthier alternatives to some of falls finest treats. I would love to hear what fall favorites your family enjoys!

1 comment:

  1. That first recipe looked heavenly! I'll be trying that one. Thanks for sharing!