Spring has sprung and the earth is dancing with fruits and veggies galore. Here in Texas, we’re looking forward to the juicy summer squashes, plump tomatoes and crunchy carrots the ground offers up. This time of year, grocery stores reduce prices of their produce abundance, which means more opportunities for you to enhance the sweet taste of vegetables and stock your pantry with tasty homemade treats.
But what to do with all those veggies? Sure, pickling or drying them is one way to go. But here at Imperial Sugar, we like to make things a little more sweet. When baked into tasty treats, like cookies, cakes and pies, vegetables take on a whole new persona.
Want to know what’s in-season in your area? Check out a guide online. Sustainable Table is one of our favorites.
The best veggies to include in your baked dishes already have a little bit of natural sweetness. You’ll also want to use tuberous vegetables because they hold up to baking well and don’t add much liquid to your batters. You’ve probably tasted some great recipes using squashes, potatoes, beets and carrots, which all have a delightful texture and taste in baked goods.
Whenever baking with vegetables, be sure to have plenty of paper towels or cheesecloth nearby. You’ll want to squeeze out all the excess liquid to maintain consistency in your batter.
Our archives are full of sweet treats to make with fresh vegetables this spring. We’ll be highlighting some of our favorites, which are in-season in Texas from April through June.
This soft squash offers a delicate flavor and plenty of moisture to baked goods. Because of it’s airy nature, it’s great paired with heavier ingredients, like nuts and chocolate. Try yours baked into brownies or packed into pancakes. And for zucchini purists out there, we have one of the best zucchini bread recipes around.
A surprising vegetable on this list, we know. But potatoes are a great blank canvas for experimenting with. Potatoes are also a great gluten-free option for your baking needs. Potato starch and even potato flour have made it onto a recipe or two on our site. Bake potatoes into the light and moist batter in a Bavarian Potato Coffee Cake. Mash potatoes and mix with powdered sugar to make candies. Use potato starch as a part of a gluten-free brownie or peach cobbler. You’ll never look at a baked potato the same way again.
These dense and demulcent vegetables are an obvious choice for sweet treats. We love these tubers for their nutty and caramelized flavor. When baked into sweet treats, they are best highlighted by spices like cinnamon and clove. The most classic way to use a sweet potato is in a pie, which is a mainstay on southern celebration tables. Cupcakes, cheesecakes, tarts and whoopie pies are all enhanced with this sweet treatment.
When it’s beet season, beets bleed their purple juice all over the kitchen. In some recipes, this purple and reddish dye has been used to color devil’s food cakes and other rouge desserts. We love the play of deep beet and light citrus flavors in this cake. If you love ‘em enough, turn them into muffins for a quick breakfast.
Oh, the humble carrot. The sweet root vegetable has been a baking favorite for years. It’s most prominent in the springtime when fresh and in full growth. You’ve baked carrots into cakes and cookies. But have you tried carrot doughnuts, pancakes or souffles? We can bet that by digging deep into these recipes you’ll come up with a new family favorite.
We all know that more servings of vegetables keeps us happy and healthy. Incorporate the seasonal produce you find in the grocery store and farmer’s market to keep you and yours living a vibrant and fresh life with the sweet taste of vegetables!