Thursday, February 19, 2009

Celebrate a Pop-culture Icon with Delicious Raisins

(ARA) – What do you think of when you think of raisins? Sure, you know they are tasty and nutritious, but does anything else come to mind? Perhaps you remember the groovy, sunglass-wearing raisins that danced on the TV screens and into the hearts of families across the country years ago.

In fact, the word through the grapevine is that the California Dancing Raisins are turning 25 in 2009. It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the 1980’s phenomenon. In addition to their status as pop-culture icons, California raisins have long been a family-favorite snack, as well as a tasty addition to recipes.

A perfect reason to celebrate is all of the nutrition that is packed into tiny California raisins. They are fat- and cholesterol-free, high in antioxidants and raisins also deliver valuable potassium and dietary fiber. Just 1/4 cup is a serving of fruit, which makes raisins a wise choice for snacking and ideal for adding naturally sweet flavor to recipes.

To kick-off the birthday festivities, try this delicious Happy Birthday Chocolate Cupcake recipe. Pureed California raisins are the secret ingredient that makes these moist and chocolaty cupcakes a wholesome treat. For more California raisin recipes to keep the celebration going all year long, visit www.LoveYourRaisins.com.

Happy Birthday Chocolate Cupcakes
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 18 to 20 minutes

Cupcakes
3/4 cup California raisins
2 to 3 tablespoons hot water
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup softened heart healthy vegetable spread
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
4 egg whites
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Frosting
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/4 cup softened heart healthy vegetable spread
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F and line 12 muffin cups with cupcake papers. Set aside.

Combine raisins and hot water in food processor or blender; process until smooth. Beat raisin puree together with sour cream, spread and extract in a large bowl until light. Beat in sugar, then egg whites. Add dry ingredients and beat until well mixed. Spoon into lined cups and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

For frosting, beat together 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar with remaining ingredients until smooth; spread the top of each cupcake with a thin layer. Stir remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar together with a few drops of half-and-half until thick and smooth. Drizzle a swirl on top of each cupcake.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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