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Friday, November 6, 2009

Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Gluten-Free? Eh eh--not for me. And, clearly "Mikey" don't live here either. My kids were NOT dancing to the tune of "give me, give me" with these, more like "err" (that's my one year old giving me his mushed food that he regurgitated). Now, the man of the house, played a different melody, his was more like..."baby give me one more try". After he devoured three consecutive gluten-free banana nut cupcakes, he mouthed in between chews--"not bad." Oddly enough, I actually believed him.

The aroma was quite appetizing, and they certainly looked better baked. Before that, I was scurred!! I wasn't sure what to expect. The process was pretty much the same. As usual, there was beating, whisking, mixing, sifting. No tricks. No magic. Besides, being gluten-free all roads led to the same bite size treat, or in this case maybe, a TRICK??? Hmm...... The batter had a sticky, slimy, snotty consistency, much like okra dipped in maple syrup. Yuck, get the picture? Mostly, I pipe the batter into the cupcake wells, not this time. This was more like the old-fashioned movement. Scooping was the technique of choice. In fact, it was the only way.

Why gluten-free you ask?

Well, by wikipedia definition a gluten-free diet is a diet completely free of ingredients derived from gluten-containing cereals: wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, and triticale, as well as the use of gluten as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent. It is recommended amongst other things in the treatment of coeliac disease, non-coeliac gluten intolerance, dermatitis herpetiformis, Lyme disease, and wheat allergy.

That's why!! It's a lifestyle for those who may have dietary restrictions or choose healthier eating habits. Aren't options great? Here is another example of a request from a neighbor whose friend, of a friend, of a friend....six degrees people- that's all, has dietary needs. Clearly, he's not alone, so I decided to try my hand at it. Why not? As I said, not my fancy, but definitely an alternative to living without your favorite treat. Did I try them? Sure. And, I'm sticking (no pun intended) to my story.

My tune would be more like..."girls just want to have flour too"!

posted by Nicole Friday for the Cupcake Craze

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

No Ordinary Pumpkin Patch

Recently I was asked, what's my inspiration for my weekly cupcake feature. Frankly, there really isn't a single answer to that question. I'm inspired by so many elements. Often, a friend or family member will ask--have you ever?...or more like, will you?... another one I've heard...perhaps, youuuu couuuuld? Clearly, there's a hidden agenda. Maybe a coincidence, but somehow those inquires usually happen prior to my Sunday baking routine. Usually, around Thursday or Friday is when the unsolicited suggestions come pouring in. At this point, everyone has heard- Sunday cupcaking at best- happens in my kitchen. Now, I'm not suggesting premeditation, but if the shoe fits...put it on! It's all good, though.

I also do a cupcake of the month on my blog. Have you noticed? Last month was creamy coconut, September was Lemon Meringue, August was Chocolate Mocha Chip and this month, Pumpkin Patch.

I drew my inspiration from our annual family hayride and pumpkin picking outing. My blurb language (as written on essence.com) even represented the desired experience: This pumpkin patch has more than just pumpkins turned jack-o-lanterns. Here you can take a delicious treat on your hayride while echoing “trick or treat give me some pumpkin patch cupcakes to eat”. Yeah, and then I woke up.

Actually, when I made these pumpkin cupcakes and the marzipan pumpkin embellishments-WHOA- can I talk marzipan pumpkins for a moment?

These delectable toppings are some conversation piece. You almost don't want to eat them. Almost. Seriously, they're like masterpieces...works of art. I had this idea for some time, I couldn't wait for Halloween to feature my skills. Honestly, I was a bit nervous- it had been months since I last attempted to make anything out of marzipan, and this time I didn't have my instructor to fix any screw ups. Good thing, there was no time limit. It took forever! Suffice it to say- patience, anyone? Indeed, you will be more than pleased with the finished product. I certainly was.

Then, I thought these would be fantastic to kick off the celebrated season, plus an unexpected alternative or addition to pie for Thanksgiving. And, that's how I arrived at the cupcake of the month for November. So, this month I invite you to try one of my holiday favorites, pumpkin patch cupcakes. Enjoy!

posted by Nicole Friday for the Cupcake Craze

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