Clementine Cupcakes

Clementines are a thing of beauty. They're juicy, flavorful, high in vitamin C, perfectly transportable, easy to peel, easy to eat. The list goes on and on. Am I right? Plus, they've got to be one of the best accoutrements for a Halloween lunch. Just draw a pumpkin face on the peel and call it a day! 

Clementine Pumpkin

After buying two bags of clementines, I wanted to get creative with them. How about Clementine Cupcakes? My son was on board immediately. My older daughter and her friend bake together every Monday, so as it turned out, I didn't have any white sugar in the house. I used maple syrup instead and am happy to report that it worked out beautifully for these cupcakes! These cupcakes have a bold citrus flavor, so if you're looking for more of a "hint" of citrus, reduce the amount of zest that you use. I’ve also added cardamom to add brightness to these cupcakes, and I’ve made them dairy free by using olive oil. The flavor of the olive oil really comes through here, so choose something fruit and flavorful. I paired it with a chocolate sour cream frosting, (because chocolate) and that recipe is also below. 

Clementine Cupcakes

Clementine Cupcakes


1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup of maple syrup
2 large eggs
zest of 3 clementines (or one tightly packed tablespoon)
1/2 cup of orange juice (or a combination of freshly squeezed orange, lemon and clementine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
clementine segments for garnish

* Preheat the oven to 350. 
* In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil and maple syrup.  Slowly add in the eggs. Once thoroughly combined, add the zest, orange juice and vanilla extract. 
* In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. 
* Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and use a whisk to make sure there are no clumps. 
* Pour into a muffin tin lined with paper cups and bake for 20-24 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. This recipe makes 12 small cupcakes, or 10 large ones.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

What you'll need: 
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Once the chocolate chips are melted and slightly cooled, add the sour cream, vanilla and salt. Mix thoroughly. This recipe will make more than enough for your cupcakes, which is a good thing because it's kiiiiiiiiiind of irresistible! Garnish the cupcakes with clementine segments and enjoy! 

Sayonara, Halloween Candy

Here's the deal in my house: Halloween candy can stick around until Christmas. Yep, that's right. They can have a candy from their bucket once a day if they choose but as of December 25, whatever is leftover is thrown out. Stale. Garbage. I say this because just when I thought I was done with candy for a while, this morning I noticed Valentine's Day decorations and candy everywhere. And next to that? St. Patty's Day stuff. 

Halloween Candy 2014

But back to the Halloween candy... the Candy Fairy takes some of my kids' candy on Halloween night in exchange for a little gift - but that still leaves them with a bucket of candy.  Here's the funny thing: after about November 10, my kids don't even ask for Halloween candy. They're back to their usual dessert/treat requests. (Right now, my kids are all about Cuties, which are mini dairy-free ice cream sandwiches or mango sorbet). 

This year I chucked the Halloween candy on December 24 - a day early - when the stomach bug started to go 'round in my house. (I won't bother with those details, but suffice to say, the last two weeks have not been relaxing). That day, the kids watched me empty dozens of candies into the garbage without a word, as they have in years past, and I wondered - why didn't I do this a month ago? Maybe our Halloween tradition should be October 31 until Thanksgiving? Maybe earlier? 

As I gear up for the Valentine's Day onslaught, I'm thinking about holidays to come... perhaps 2015 will bring a new Halloween candy plan for us.

What's your Halloween/Valentine's candy strategy? 

Halloween Garden

Pinterest seems to bring out everyone's inner Martha Stewart, don't you think?  

My daughter and I were browsing Pinterest the other day looking for Halloween crafts and found one particularly popular food-related craft with clementine and celery "pumpkins" and banana-chocolate chip "ghosts." You know the one I'm talking about

I guess my daughter got inspired. She disappeared into the kitchen, shut the door and demanded absolute privacy. (Is 7 the new 12?) Anyway, here's the awesome Halloween Garden that emerged! 

Halloween Garden

Halloween Garden