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Mini Cupcakes with Dried Fruits
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Good things come in small packages, so they say. I’ve to agree—especially when it comes to food. In terms of calories, they carry less and less is more when it comes to calories. Agree? Also, small is beautiful—they’re adorable all dressed up in petite allure. So, when I was making some cupcakes the other day, I thought, why not make mini cupcakes? They’ve all the flavor of regular-sized cupcakes but none of the monstrosity (and evil) of calories. If you eat two mini cupcakes, you won’t feel all bloated and then, guilty for luxuriating in culinary pleasures.
As the name implies, it’s the smaller version of regular cupcakes, so you can just make cupcakes the way you normally do but use tiny cupcake cases. I’m a big fan of dried fruits, so I decided to make dried fruit mini cupcakes. I ransack my pantry and easily came up with three different types of dried fruits—prunes, apricots (unsulfured) and cranberries. In terms of flavor—winner—since they have all the nectar-like sweetness and they’re balanced with a little tart-a little sweet. And just thinking off the bat, these dried fruits are full of fiber. I know, I’ve been told to eat prunes for constipation, cranberries for urinary infection and apricots for heart and eye health. These are generalizations, of course. If you read the nutrition panel, they mention a bunch of nutrients such as potassium, calcium, antioxidants and vitamins--we'll go into details later.
So, these mini dried fruit cupcakes are health-friendly to a certain degree. There will always be naysayers who beg to differ but then, even too much of a healthy thing can be unhealthy. So instead of getting too technical, lets’ go on with our mini cupcakes and enjoy life a little.
- 1 cup malt 0-meal
- 1 cup flour
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¾ cup low-fat milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil or softened butter
- 1 tbs baking soda
- A pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- ¼ cup rum
- A dash cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped prunes, cranberries and apricots
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- Soak chopped dried fruits with rum and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside for at least half an hour.
- Measure all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Add milk, eggs, vanilla essence and oil. Mix well.
- Line cupcake tins with mini paper- cupcakes cases.
- Ladle one heaping tablespoon of batter.
- Top with some of the dried fruit medley.
- Pop into oven and bake at 400 degree Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes.
Smell the goodness of homebaked cupcakes? Well, it's time to take those dainty treats out and enjoy them with a cup of latte or tea. They're so irresistably delicious. Got to trust me on that one, unless you want to find out for yourself.
And why not? It's your turn to turn out a batch and enjoy.
Enjoying food is good and the ability to enjoy food is a blessing as some are quick to point out. But we also like to know that what we're eating are beneficial as well. Bear in mind that dried fruits are concentrated and dehydrated and are therefore higher in sugar and lower in certain nutrients than their fresh counterparts. Portion control is the way to go with dried fruit--a handful is about right. With that in mind, let's chew on these benefits:
Health Benefits of Prunes (aka dried plums)
- High in vitamin K, a quarter cup yields 32.3%. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting, bone health and prevention of calcification of arteries.
- A good source of soluble fiber, useful in stabilizing blood sugar level by slowing the absorption of glucose. Fiber, as we know, also promotes regularity, hence the dried fruit most connected to relieving constipation.
- Propionic acid produced by insoluble fiber in prunes helps to lower cholesterol.
- Helps to promote heart health.
- Promotes strong bones with its calcium content.
Health Benefits of Dried Cranberries
- Fresh cranberries belong to a group of superfoods. In terms of antioxidants, they beat out almost every fruit and vegetables. In the dried form, it's rich in vitamin C and fiber. One gram of dried cranberries has 3 grams of fiber.
- Clinical studies show that cranberries may be useful in fighting urinary tract problems.
- Fights bacterial infection.
- Strengthens immune system
Health Benefits of Dried Apricots
- RIch source of soluble fiber--helps to prevent constipation and reduce total cholesterol.
- High in potassium, crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure.
- High in carotenoids and antioxidants.
- Great source of vitamin A, the water-soluble vitamin responsible for cell growth, boosting immune system and enhancing skin health and eye health.