Chocolate Chip Applesauce Muffins

[donotprint]Here are our Hurricane Irene muffins. I’ve stopped listening to the news because I just sends me into a complete panic. I just spent the day doing load after load of laundry and baking.

By the way, my family’s new favorite dinner entree is a Tomato Tart. I’ve been using the recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook which includes a bunch of smashed roasted garlic covering the tart shell topped with lucious ripe tomatoes, olive oil, salt & pepper, and a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese. It is then baked for 45 minutes until the cheese is perfectly golden and tomatoes are starting to melt. Please go make yourself one right now. Holy moly.

I  just now got a call from the automated Connecticut Emergency Alert System specifically telling people in my town that Irene is going to be all up in our business starting somewhere around midnight. Time to get crackin’! Here’s hoping it’s all getting blown out of proportion and everyone out there stays super safe.[donotprint]

Chocolate Chip Applesauce Muffins Recipe

This recipe is adapted from Kitchen Stewardship’s Easy One-Bowl Muffins which is found in Katie’s Healthy Snacks To Go ebook. It’s extremely moist, tender, and perfectly sweet.

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup cold water
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farhenhiet.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter, water, eggs, and applesauce. Stir well. Add the chocolate chips and stir to incorporate.

Fill greased mini muffin cups 2/3 of the way. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Once cool, freeze or store in an airtight container.

Yield: about 38 mini muffins
Prep-time: 15 minutes
Bake-time: 15 minutes

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Homemade Blueberry Fruit Leather

Who wants to place a bet on how soon my kids are going to get a cavity? I can’t stop making dried fruit purees this year and it is going to be my downfall.

Well, que sera sera. Frankly, not a bad way to go.

Dehydrated fruit purees I’ve posted about already such as the Strawberry Roll Ups and the Polka Dot Roll Ups contain very small amounts, if any, added sugar. For this reason, they are thinner and a little more brittle than traditional fruit leather. When fruit puree is loaded up with sugar the finished product is thicker and more flexible.

Turns out it doesn’t take gobs of honey to make thick fruit leather, just a 1/4 cup is necessary for this recipe. It’s not super sweet like grocery store fruit leather. I think it’s just right. 

1 pint fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup honey
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Heat the blueberries and water in a medium saucepan over med high heat until it comes to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium low so that the mixture is at a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove saucepan from heat and add the honey, applesauce, and lemon juice. Puree the mixture with a hand/immersion or regular blender until smooth.

Prepare a 15 x15-inch dehydrator tray with a lightly greased liner. Pour the blueberry mixture onto the middle of the lined tray and spread it out evenly with a large offset spatula or a spoon until it is 1/3-inch thick. It should be an approximately 12 x 12-inch square. Having the outside edges thicker is fine as they tend to dry more quickly.

Insert the tray into the dehydrator and set the temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Run the dehydrator for 8 to 10 hours. The finished fruit leather may have a couple sticky spots on the surface, but for the most part it should be dried yet pliable.

Remove the fruit leather from the tray. Cut with a knife or scissors into individual servings. Wrap pieces in wax paper. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 10 pieces
Prep-time: 15 minutes
Drying-time: 8 – 10 hours

Homemade Polka Dot Fruit Roll Ups

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All we have here is dehydrated applesauce, blackberry puree, and peach puree. And I’m hoping that it will make the my second grader’s classmates green with envy.

Darianne commented on my Homemade Strawberry Fruit Rolls Ups post that her kid is less than happy with the lack of stamped images on her homemade fruit roll ups. It got me thinking.  And I have rapidly ripening fresh local produce coming out of my ears right now. With Darianne’s kid in mind, we made a fruit roll up that kicks it up a notch. Who can say no to polka dots? Or better yet, fruit leather they’ve decorated themselves?[/donotprint]

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
Fresh blackberry sauce
Fresh peach sauce

Spread applesauce out onto a lightly greased lined dehydrator tray to 1/4-inch thickness. I find a large offset spatula works well, but if you don’t have one spread the applesauce out evenly as best you can with the back of a spoon. “Decorate” the applesauce with the blackberry and peach sauces using separate plastic squeeze bottles.

Place the prepared tray in the dehydrator and set the machine to 135 degrees Farhient. Run the dehydrator for 4 hours or more until the fruit leather is no longer tacky and completely dry. The amount of time necessary depends on the thickness and amount of sugar in the fruit.

Remove the fruit leather from the tray and cut into approximately 2-inch wide strips. Store rolled up in wax paper in an airtight container. Should keep for weeks, if not months.

Yield: 1 12-inch square sheet (4 or 5 rolls)
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Dehydrating-time: 4 hours or more

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Homemade Strawberry Fruit Roll Ups

I’ve seen plenty of recipes for fruit leather using very low temperatures in a traditional oven. But I freed myself from having to fool around with that when I bought myself a refurbished food dehydrator for Mother’s Day a couple years ago.

I find myself using the machine more during the summer and the fall when we are suddenly surrounded by fresh local produce. And since we’re on the go so much more during the summer, I’m sure we’ll have no problem using up whatever I can find time to make.

There is a great deal of flexibility in this recipe. I’ve used all different kinds of berries along with the applesauce.

2 cups unsweetened applesauce, preferably organic*
1 pint fresh strawberries, preferably organic*

Lightly grease two dehydrator tray liners and place them on trays. (My trays are 15-inches square. You may need more or less trays if your machine isn’t a similar size.) Set aside.

Wash and hull the strawberries. Combine strawberries and applesauce in a medium mixing bowl. Puree the mixture with an immersion/hand blender until smooth.

Transfer half of the mixture to each prepared tray and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon until it is approximately 1/4-inch thick. A large offset spatula might do an even better job of spreading.

Place trays in dehydrator for 4-20 hours depending on the machine, thickness of puree, etc. Set temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Mine only takes about 5 hours at this temperature. Rotate the trays a couple times if you think of it.

When the puree has dried completely (I always seem to have one stubborn thick spot.) remove it from the tray and cut it into 2-inch wide strips. Layer strips with wax paper and store in an airtight bag or container. The roll ups, if completely dry, will keep for months.

Yield: 13 2 x 12-inch strips
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Dehydration-time: 4-20 hours

*Note: I encourage using organic ingredients in this recipe because the food, along with any pesticides it may contain, is concentrated by the process of dehydration. At least, that’s what I read somewhere once. I’m not entirely sure if it’s really an issue.