Oct 272013
 
 October 27, 2013  food, Halloween, natural parenting, recipes

Healthy Halloween Cupcakes: Make Your Own Natural Orange Food Dye - Alldonemonkey.com

Yes, I am the mom in the neighborhood that passes out organic lollipops and toys instead of candy.  Yes, I used to tell my son that the candy he got trick-or-treating was “yucky.”  (He’s old enough not to believe me anymore!)

It’s not that I’m against sweets.  Far from it!  I’m just against all the artificial, chemical nastiness in most candy.  So when we have sweet treats, I just try to make them natural, simple ingredients.

I have had a lot of success using natural dyes in baking, so this year for Halloween I decided to make some healthy (but still yummy!) cupcakes for Monkey and his friend.  (You can find more Halloween ideas on my Fall Fun for Kids Pinterest board!)

Healthy Halloween Cupcakes: Make Your Own Natural Orange Food Dye - Alldonemonkey.com

I started with a delicious recipe for sweet potato muffins from one of my favorite cookbooks: Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh, and Easy Recipes.  Monkey and I both love them, and they already have a warm, brownish – orange tone.

I wanted to use this recipe for another reason – it uses grated, not cooked, sweet potatoes.  I added some raisins and told Monkey and his friend the cupcakes had bugs and worms in them!  I thought their eyes were about to pop out!  I finally told them the truth because I wasn’t sure they would eat them otherwise 😉  A good carrot cake recipe would also serve the same purpose.

Healthy Halloween Cupcakes: Make Your Own Natural Orange Food Dye - Alldonemonkey.com

To make them into cupcakes, I created a variation of the cream cheese frosting I did for our fruit pizzas last spring.  I made half a batch of frosting as usual to make the “ghost” cupcakes.  (I did substitute agave for the honey, so Baby could try some, too).

The other half batch was my experiment.  I really wanted to make orange frosting for “jack-o-lantern” cupcakes, and I read in several places that carrot juice could be used for this.  I was concerned, though, that the juice would make the frosting too runny, so I experimented with using what’s left over after you juice a carrot.  The color from this alone wasn’t bright enough, but it let me use less carrot juice and added an extra nutritional boost!

Healthy Halloween Cupcakes: Make Your Own Natural Orange Food Dye - Alldonemonkey.com

I was so happy with how the frosting turned out that I added a little dollop in the middle of each cupcake before baking – mmm!

Here’s how you can make these healthy Halloween cupcakes yourself:

Make Your Own Natural Orange Food Dye 

I will continue to tinker with this formula, but I was pleased with how it turned out on my first go:

Juice enough carrots to make about 1/2 cup of juice (you won’t need this much, but while you’re at it you might as well make a little extra!)

Mix 3 T of the carrot juice with 1 – 1/2 t of flax seed meal.  Set aside.  (The flax seed meal will help the juice to thicken).

Take about 1/2 c of the carrot pulp and spread it in a thin layer on a baking sheet.  Bake at 200 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, until dry but not toasted.

Healthy Halloween Cupcakes: Make Your Own Natural Orange Food Dye - Alldonemonkey.com

Let cool then grind it.  (I used my baby food grinder, though a spice grinder should also work).  It won’t quite be a powder but it should be in very small, fine pieces.

Healthy Halloween Cupcakes: Make Your Own Natural Orange Food Dye - Alldonemonkey.com

 

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

(for one dozen cupcakes)

4 oz cream cheese, softened

3 T carrot powder (see instructions above)

3T carrot juice

1 T coconut oil

3 T agave nectar or to taste

1 – 1/2 t flax seed meal

Note: If you want to avoid artificial dyes but don’t mind using sugar, skip the flax seed meal and agave and use powdered sugar instead.  This traditional ingredient in frosting also works as a thickener.

Healthy Halloween Cupcake: Make Your Own Natural Orange Food Dye - Alldonemonkey.com

Mix flax seed meal and carrot juice and set aside.  Mix cream cheese, carrot powder, and coconut oil in a medium bowl on medium speed until well blended and fluffy.  Add carrot juice mixture slowly, mixing well.  Add agave to taste.

White Cream Cheese Frosting

(for one dozen cupcakes, thinly spread)

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 T coconut oil

3 T agave nectar or to taste

Mix cream cheese and coconut oil in a medium bowl on medium speed until well blended and fluffy.  Add agave to taste.

The white frosting I used for the ghosts, of course, and the orange for the jack-o-lanterns.  I decorated some of the orange cupcakes with dots of white frosting, and other cupcakes with raisins and dried cranberries.  The kids loved the “spooky” faces.

Healthy Halloween Cupcakes: Make Your Own Natural Orange Food Dye - Alldonemonkey.com

These Halloween cupcakes were a big hit at our house, so we will definitely be making them again!

This post has been shared at the Kids Co-op.

  7 Responses to “Healthy Halloween Cupcakes: Make Your Own All-Natural Orange Food Dye”

  1. I certainly applaud your desire to keep “nasty stuff” away from your kids. Those cupcakes look delicious!

  2. Bugs, and worms in them? Really? LOLOLOLOL That was too funny! On another note, these cupcakes came out nice! I’m going to pin this :)

    • Thank you! Yes, he was a little skeptical about eating them until I told him it was just for pretend!

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