HAPPY SPRING FROM THE CHICKS!
A few cracked eggshells strategically placed were all I did to decorate the house for Easter this year. I had hopes of making a new Ukrainian Easter egg using one of the girl's eggs, but I never found the hours it takes to create one. Instead, I put out the collection made by Marty, me, the boys and family through the years.
The girls have been taking advantage of the warm weather by lounging about and sunning themselves. They spend hours finding the rays and spreading their feathers to soak up the heat.
Roxanne and Cleo
Roxanne used to join us, but lately she's more interested in food (I think she's getting fat with all her eating) and instead of joining the cuddle, she nibbles at my jeans hoping they'll yield a treat.
I've been into too many treats also, the problem with baking a lot (the eggs come in a little too handy). A few weeks ago I made what I think are the best ever Carrot Cupcakes. The recipe is from King Arthur but I've fiddled with it a bit and added more spices, toasted nuts and raisins for a deeper, richer, spicier version. Crowned with a luscious cream cheese frosting, they're truly irresistible.
Best-Ever Carrot Cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups slightly packed grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup raisins
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
Heat the oven to 350ºF. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice until blended.
Beat together the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until blended. Reduce the speed to low and spoon in the flour mixture until blended. Stir in the carrots, pecans and raisins. Divide the batter between the muffin cups.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt together in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-low speed until blended and smooth. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add enough powdered sugar until the frosting is of spreadable consistency. Pipe or spread the frosting over the cupcakes.