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Carrie's Kitchen: Puree recipes inspired by baby food

When people found out I was pregnant last year, they started asking if I would be sharing baby food recipes in my food column.

I am at the stage now where I am making homemade vegetable and fruit purees for my son, and I am really enjoying it. I'm the girl who would go to other women's baby showers and refuse to do the blind taste test from a jar of baby food and try to guess what it is. No thank you, I didn't even want to smell it.

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So I vowed to make my own baby food, and after reading a couple of baby food cookbooks and Internet recipes, I must say, it's really easy and probably more affordable than buying all those little jars. And what I like best is that my son is learning to eat the same foods that my husband and I enjoy, though in a pureed version that requires no teeth. Hey, 40 years from now, that's how we may be enjoying them as well.

Since baby foods don't have any seasonings or even any technical methods required to them, I think its kind of silly to share baby food "recipes"- since all you do is cook and mash/puree in the food processor.

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But, I thought it would be fun to share some recipes that use purees in them. I had this idea when I apparently made way too much prune puree. My son likes the prunes, but a little goes a long way. My prune puree is sort of the consistency of apple butter, though not as sweet since there is no added sugar, so I thought of using it as a replacement for some baking recipes that used apple butter. But first I looked up "prune puree baking" and came across this recipe for a chocolate prune cake that the blog author described as being a religious experience when eating. I already have the prune puree - why not give it a try?

The second type of puree I tend to make too much of is sweet potato. Sweet potato puree is awesome, because it is basically mashed sweet potatoes, without the butter or whatever else you might put in them if you were making them for a meal. I have to thin mine out with a little water for my son, but they still taste delicious, even to the adult palate. So the second recipe is for sweet potato biscuits with honey. I've made a different variation of sweet potato biscuits before that were much higher in fat, so I'm looking forward to giving this recipe a try.

I hope you are interested in these recipes, and who knows, baby food may be my inspiration again in the not-too-distant future.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Prune Cake
12 ounces pitted prunes
3 cups weak brewed tea (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
In a large saucepan, cover the prunes with weak tea or water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the prunes become tender, about 30 minutes. If necessary, add more water to keep the prunes covered with liquid. Cool the prunes in the liquid, then drain it off and reserve it. Measure 2 cups of the stewed prunes and puree in a food processor. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour, or line, two 10-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Stir well. In a separate bowl, combine the prune puree with the milk.
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in a third of the dry ingredients, then mix in half of the prune puree. Scrape the bowl. Beat in another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the prune puree, and the remaining dry ingredients.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake emerges clean. Cool the cake layers in the pans for 10 minutes before placing them onto cooling racks.
Cover with chocolate butter cream frosting and serve.
Source: http://www.pastryaffair.com

Honey Sweet Potato Biscuits
1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes
Ï cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons raw honey
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon melted butter
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place the sweet potato in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to boil until potatoes are soft, approximately 25 minutes. Drain the water and puree the potato, either by mashing, ricing or placing in a food processor and pulsing until smooth.
Measure out ¾ cup of sweet potato puree and chill in the refrigerator. The remaining sweet potato mash can be saved for alternate uses or frozen for biscuits at a later date.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix the ¾ cup sweet potato puree with the buttermilk and honey. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and the salt, stirring to mix. Add the butter. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until crumbly. Incorporate the sweet potato mixture until a soft dough is formed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it lightly. Roll the dough 1-inch thick. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out rounds, as close together as possible. Place the rounds on a baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with the melted butter.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until tops are just turning a golden brown along the edges. Remove from oven. Serve warm with extra butter and honey, if desired.
Makes 12-14 biscuits.
Source: http://foodformyfamily.com

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