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Friday, March 16, 2012

Spinach Cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day

Once again, I have resorted to hiding vegetables in my kids' food. I'm not proud of it.

But the cool thing is that on St. Patrick's Day, my children would never think that there is anything amiss with green food. They are all about leprechauns and rainbows and not at all about what veggies I am cajoling them into eating.

Actually, I saw these cupcakes and thought that they were super cute and a fabulous shade of green... prefect for St. Paddy's Day... before I read the part about the green coming from spinach.

It just seemed like a fun snack to make the kids, and has the bonus of a wee little bit more nutrition from the applesauce and spinach than they would get from oil and food coloring.

This recipe comes from Amy at A Little Nosh. They were super easy to make... just puree raw spinach into the applesauce, mix it with some basic dry ingredients, and bake.

The kids were completely fooled. The cupcakes are a little dense, as I have found cakes are when applesauce is substituted for oil. Other than that, though, you would have no idea there was anything different about them. As long as you're color-blind.

And one more thing before I go... a friend from Ireland asks that you not write St. Patty's Day. Patty would be a lass. Paddy is the proper abbreviation for Patrick. (And we don't want to offend the auld bloke). There is a very funny explanation of the dear StPádraig's name here, if you're interested. 

Enjoy St. Paddy's Day, folks! I'll be looking for people I can pinch.

Green Spinach Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup nonfat dried milk
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 cups baby spinach

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with 18 cupcake liners.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Puree the applesauce and spinach in a blender.  You may need to add the spinach in batches. Add the spinach mixture and the vanilla to the flour mixture and mix thoroughly.  Divide evenly into the muffin pan.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

(I make my buttercream frosting by softening a stick of butter, and then adding powdered sugar and tiny amounts of milk until I have a consistency and an amount that I like. Just keep stirring in more milk and more sugar until you have enough. One of life's great miracles is how one stick of butter can become enough loaves and fish for the masses frost anywhere from 12 to 50 cupcakes.)