One Smart Little Cookie is a collection of everything that brings inspiration, comfort and beauty into my life and home.
I love to create a beautiful home and enjoy it with my family.
It is sharing
what I love to do; baking and cooking in a healthier way without sacrificing flavor
, crafts,
party planning, activities, organization, and home decor.

Being a "Smart Little Cookie" is not about being perfect, it is about knowing how to enjoy life and family to it's fullest~to your fullest.
Due to my creative process, my home gets messy, my kids play in their jammies-all day sometimes (the terribly relaxed days tend to be my favorite),
and my hubby has become much more patient and supportive over the years with all of this.
In fact, he often has his own creative ideas and we both find ourselves anticipating our upcoming projects together~love him!
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a clean house, but I've rejected denial, and with a toddler who is a budding creative type herself,
I feel accomplished when the dishes are in the dishwasher before naptime (not mine, hers).
I've accepted the fact that "spotless" cannot mean what I have always
envisioned in my mind, at least not with kids,
and I would rather enjoy my kids and beautiful home, than a spotless, sterile home.
I have learned to take each day, one day at a time, and everyday should leave us feeling inspired and more contented.
The day should leave us, whispering in our ear, "the day has been as well as it could have been done, and it has been done well."

Go ahead and take a bite, indulge yourself and try my recipes and crafty creations in your own home.
I hope to inspire you to feel like the "Smart Little Cookie" you are!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Maple-Walnut Cupcakes with Spiced Maple Frosting and Honey-Candied Walnuts

 Fall is in the air and I had an undeniable craving for maple this afternoon.  I could actually smell maple throughout my home and thought the scent was being carried in by the breeze through my windows! Summer is coming to an end and graciously handing the season over to Fall, like good friends.

I love the Honey-Candied Walnuts on top, they look like lovely little candied flowers.

The Recipe

2 3/4 c unbleached flour                                         1 c sugar plus 1/2 c pure maple syrup
1 T baking powder                                                  1 large egg plus 2 egg whites
1/4 t salt                                                               1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 t cinnamon                                                    1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t nutmeg                                                          1 c milk
1 c I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spread                   1 1/2 c walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line standard muffin pan with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.
In a large bowl beat sugar with butter until creamy.  Add egg and egg whites, one at a time and mix.  Add applesauce and vanilla and mix until combined.  Add flour mixture alternating with milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Stir in chopped walnuts.
Scoop batter into muffin cups until 3/4 full, bake until top bounces back when touched, about 18-20 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.  Frost with Spiced Maple Frosting and top with Honey-Candied Walnuts.

Spiced Maple Frosting

4 c powdered sugar
1/2 c pure maple syrup
1/4 c milk
1/4 I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spread
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg

Mix all ingredients until combined, add more powdered sugar, as needed until thick and creamy.

 Honey-Candied Walnuts

1 c whole walnuts
1/4 c honey

Place walnuts in a pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray, drizzle with honey, bake in oven at 350 degrees F, until honey is bubbling and golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Let candied walnuts cool on parchment paper on a flat surface.

Smart Little Cookie Tip:
I love adding vegetable purees into recipes when I can, so my kids get extra nutrition without some of the fuss.  They happen to love sweet potatoes, so I like to add 1/2 c sweet potato puree into the batter, along with 1/4 t ginger.  So Yummy!!

I hope you enjoy these wonderful treats with a good friend 
while welcoming this lovely season!