Lemon Icebox Cookies

Lemon Icebox Cookies

Lemon Icebox Cookies

Total tart throbs….that’s what I call these buttery, lemony confections.  Cookie nirvana!  Cookie heaven!  Cookie num-yums!   I think you get how much I love these cookies.

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Lemon desserts seem so perfect at this time of year, more than any other, I think.  So I took my recipe for luscious butter cookies, added some (lots) lemon zest, plus a few drops of lemon juice, and zing went the strings of my heart.  Just lemony enough, just buttery enough, and just satisfying enough.  In other words…..perfection 🙂

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As you look over the recipe you will notice that confectioners’ sugar is used instead of granulated.   Powdered sugar gives these cookies their crumbly, sandy texture without too much sweetness, thus the lemon and butter flavors shine through.  The dough is made entirely in the food processor, divided in half and chilled before slicing and baking.  The dough cuts beautifully, not like some others I’ve made that like to crumble when you go to slice them.  Before cutting the cookies each log of dough is rolled in granulated sugar, so the edges of the cookies are glistening and crunchy once baked.

LEMON ICEBOX COOKIES

Yield:  Makes about 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients:IMG_9519

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

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Directions:

1.  In a food processor, pulse together the flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt and lemon zest until combined.

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This is how I cut butter into small pieces.

 

Add butter and process until sandy.  Add egg yolks and lemon juice; pulse until dough comes together.

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2.  Divide dough in half and form each into a 1  1/2-inch-wide log.

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Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours, or overnight.  Or after wrapping, dough may be frozen up to a month.

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3.  Preheat oven to 350*F. , with racks in upper and lower thirds.  Spread granulated sugar on a piece of wax paper or parchment; roll logs over sugar to coat.

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Roll dough logs in sugar to coat well.

 

4.  Slice logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

This dough slices so nicely.

This dough slices so nicely.

Arrange 1 inch apart, on two (or more) parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

Lightly browned around the edges.

Lightly browned around the edges.

Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.   To store, cover and keep at room temperature, up to 5 days.

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These are the perfect little sweet to serve with a cup of tea, or alongside a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

 

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Call me sentimental, folks, but I think there’s something downright romantic about the way all those bright oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes show up in the produce aisles just when we’re needing them most.  When the wind is whipping and we haven’t seen green grass since I don’t know when, who couldn’t use a little warm weather fling to reminder them of warm, sunnier times?

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No matter if stirred into a salsa, or baked under a fluffy layer of meringue, these seasonal beauties remind me of how much I long for the sunshine, and so I do my best to incorporate citrus fruits into our diet and our lives whenever the opportunity presents itself.   I would never turn away from the kiss of citrus.

This grain-free lemon cake (also known as Torta Caprese Bianca) is just perfection in my mind.  I would like to say it is “to die for”, but that phrase is so over-worked, that I won’t use it, but you get my meaning, I’m sure.

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The cake is made with almond flour and is full of lemon flavor!  It’s yellow, like a ray of sunshine, a happy color.  Just the thing to cheer you up as this winter weather drags on endlessly.  If you love lemon, this is a dessert you will love.  There are three sources of lemon flavor;  lots of lemon zest, lemon extract, and limoncello ( or lemon juice).

After baking it may look a bit underdone in the middle, that’s what gives the cake its dense texture.  When you remove it from the oven it will be puffed up, but slowly sinks as it cools. It that doesn’t suit you, you can bake it a tad longer.  I loved the edges of the cake–kind of crispy and kind of chewy!   The texture reminds me of marzipan, but with the flavor of lemon.   We loved this cake so much, Mr. D. is asking when I’m going to make it again (his favorite flavor is lemon.)

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 ITALIAN LEMON ALMOND CAKE

Yield:   Serves 8 – 10

Ingredients:

  • 320 Gm (about 1 1/2 cups) almond flour, or blanched almonds ground into flour
  • 200 Gm ( a little over a cup) white chocolate, chopped ( I used white chocolate chips)IMG_9198
  • 2 Tbsp. cream or milk
  • 180 Gm butter, softened     1 stick + 4.5 Tbsp.
  • 130 Gm granulated sugar    about 1 cup
  • zest of 2-3 lemons,  2 Tbsp.
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 40 Gm (about 2 Tbsp.) limoncello or lemon juice
  • powdered sugar for garnish

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Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a 10-inch round pan ( a spring-form pan is good) and line it with parchment paper.

2.  Combine the white chocolate and cream/milk in a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool.

3.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 100 Gm sugar (3/4 cup) until fluffy.

4.  Add egg yolks, lemon zest and extract and beat to combine.

Add eggs, zest and extract.

Add eggs, zest and extract.

5.  Add almond flour and melted chocolate.  Add limoncello and beat to combine.

6.  In a clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks,  slowly adding remaining 1/4 cup (30 Gm) sugar.  Fold into almond batter and combine gently.

Beat whites to soft peaks.

Beat whites to soft peaks.

Spoon into pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

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A toothpick is not a reliable test for doneness, as the center may still be moist.  The cake should be golden brown, puffed, and spring back when touched.  As it cools it will sink in the center a bit.

Baked when golden brown and springs back when touched.

Baked when golden brown and springs back when touched.

7.  When cool, invert onto a cake plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

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Note:  This recipe can be halved easily.  What you see here in my photos is half a recipe.  To bake the smaller volume, use a 7-inch round cake pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Unfortunately I do not have a 7-inch round pan, so I used an 8-inch cake pan, thus my cake is thinner than it should be.  A 7-inch pan will give you a taller cake.

P.S.  I will love this cake in any size 🙂

SOURCE:  Texanerin Baking

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

When I was a teenager I went blueberry picking with my mother.  When we came home with our buckets full of  gigantic blueberries, the first thing we made was blueberry pancakes for dinner that evening.  The second thing we made were these blueberry muffins.  I think they were the first item I learned to bake.   I have never deviated from this recipe even though I have looked at many others over the years.  They are just sooo good, and they taste like home.

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These muffins are so easy to make; no beater is involved.  They are made completely by hand.  Just measure everything out, whisk together the dry ingredients,  whisk the liquids, add the sugared berries, and fill your muffin tins.  Bake and be sure to have at least one while they are still warm.  I like to have some butter melted and ready when they come out of the oven, and a little cup of sugar.  Then I dip or brush butter all over the top of each one, and sprinkle on the sugar.   Mmmmm, Mmmmm.

You know you want one!

You know you want one!

Most likely everyone already has their favorite recipe for blueberry muffins, but I’m sharing mine with you in case you don’t.  What makes these muffins a little different from others is the lemon-sugar that coats the berries before they are folded into the batter.  Lemon with blueberries is such a wonderful taste combination, and it really works to great advantage in these muffins.  Give them a try and compare to others you’ve made.

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BLUEBERRY LEMON MUFFINS

Yield:   Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

Blueberries and lemon---made for each other.

Blueberries and lemon—made for each other.

  • 1  3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup salad oil
  • 1 cup blueberries, washed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted;  a little extra sugar for topping

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.   Line a muffin pan with paper liners, or grease well.

2.  Whisk together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt  in a mixing bowl.

3.  In another smaller bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and oil.

4.  Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg mixture all at once.  Stir quickly just to moisten.  There may still be some slumps.

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5.  Mix together the lemon peel with the 2 Tbsp. sugar,  add the damp berries and toss to coat.   Stir gently into the muffin batter.

6.  Fill the muffins cups–they will be quite full.    Bake at 400*F for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven when they are golden and test done.

7.  While still warm, brush tops with melted butter and then sprinkle with extra sugar.

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

 

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SOURCE:    An old recipe from my recipe box.

 

Braised Chicken with Honey Lemon Leeks

Chicken Thighs with Honey Lemon Leeks

Chicken Thighs with Honey Lemon Leeks

Some of the earliest vegetables to be harvested from the garden are those from the onion family.  Known as alliums, there’s more to these beauties than just the round white onions that we all know.  If you peel back the layers you’ll discover the delicate flavor of leeks, chives and young green onions.  Even the flowers taste good, and they make a lovely garnish on a platter when onions are in a starring role.

 

Leeks were in abundance at the farmer’s market this week;  big, fat ones with long white stalks.

Big fat leeks, honey and lemon.

Big fat leeks, honey and lemon.

If they have been growing in particularly wet, muddy soil, they can be somewhat of a challenge to clean, requiring much rinsing to remove the grit.  However these were exceptionally clean, and I couldn’t wait to cook something with them.  Mr. D’s most favorite soup is potato-leek soup, and that is what I usually make (I probably will still make some), but I decided to give this recipe a trial run because it incorporates honey to help caramelize the leeks.

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Using chicken thighs with bone, allows you to cook this dish slowly so all the flavors blend.  Lemon partners well with the leeks, which cook twice.  They are first sautéed, then roasted to meld with the honey and lemon.  This is a dish that takes you by surprise at how “stinking” good it is;  nicely browned chicken, and tender roasted leeks nestled together.  Serve with a salad and some garlic bread, or rice and a green vegetable.  I think you will love this chicken dish.

BRAISED CHICKEN WITH HONEY-LEMON LEEKS

Yield:    serves 4

Ingredients:IMG_7318

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 8  bone-in skinless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 4 cups thinly sliced leek (about 3 large)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or chives (optional)

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.

2.  Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat.  Add 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat.  Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Massage lemon rind into chicken.

3.  Place chicken in pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.

Browning the chicken.

Browning the chicken.

4.  Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan swirl to coat.  Add leek and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 15 minutes or until leek begins too brown, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Remove pan from heat; stir in lemon juice and honey.

Sautéing the leeks.

Sautéing the leeks.

5.  Return chicken to pan.  Mound leeks on top of chicken thighs.  Bake at 400*F. for 20 – 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165*, and juices run clear.   Garnish with fresh parsley or chives, if desired.

 

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SOURCE:    Cooking Light

Check out these other recipes that also incorporate leeks:

Pappardelle with Salmon and Leeks

Brown Rice Pilaf

Mushroom, Leek and Cheese Frittata

Lemon Tarts

Lemon Tarts

Lemon Tarts

Sometimes being put on the spot with only a short amount of time does wonders for the imagination.  With very little time to plan and pull this off in grand style, I was asked to provide a dessert;  a “small finger-food” type that would not require a fork to eat it.  As most of you know by now, I would not be one to turn up with a pan of brownies cut into small squares.  I needed to come up with something with a little more pizzazz!!

So, an idea clicked into my head based on a picture I had seen of lemon-filled cookies.  I expanded on that concept and turned what would have been the cookie into a small tart, by pressing the dough into mini muffin pan/cups. Once baked, but still warm, I made a depression in the center of each one with a cork, then I filled it with lemon curd.   For this recipe I made a sugar cookie dough because I thought the sweetness of sugar cookie would be a nice contrast to the tart lemon curd.  As a time saver you could use a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough sliced and pressed into the mini-muffin pans to make the tart.  Lemon curd is available at the supermarket in the area where jams and jelly are displayed,  or of course, you could make your own, but this is intended as a quick recipe….let’s not do extra work here.

These are as yummy as they look.

These are as yummy as they look.

For a quickie dessert recipe, it got lots of compliments.  For the presentation, I dusted the whole tray of lemon tarts with confectioners’ sugar and topped each one with a small wedge of citrus-flavored jellied fruit slice candy.  When Mr. D. saw these going out the door with me, he said, “did you save any for us?’  Unfortunately I didn’t, so I really hoped I would be able to bring one or two home for him to sample.  (P.S. I rescued four.  You know—just to keep him happy.)

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LEMON TARTS

Yield:   Makes 36

Ingredients:

Simple Sugar Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1  1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Filling:

  •  1 ( 10-ounce) jar lemon curd

1.  In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Shape into 2 rolls, wrap each in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least an hour or until firm.

2.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease each cup of the mini-muffin pans.  (Need 3 mini-muffin pans)

3.  Unwrap dough; slice into 36 slices.  Place each slice into a mini-muffin cup.  Using your fingers press the dough up the sides of the pan to form a “cup”.

Form dough into "cups" with your fingers.

Form dough into “cups” with your fingers.

4.  Bake at 350*F.  for 8 – 10 minutes.

5.  While the tarts are still warm, use a cork or small spoon to make a depression in the top of each one.  Do not go all the way to the bottom.  When the tarts have cooled, remove from the pans, and fill the depressions with lemon curd.

Make perfect depressions with a cork.

Make perfect depressions with a cork.

These will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days.

6.  To serve, dust the tops with a light coat of confectioners’ sugar, and decorate as desired.

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SOURCE:  Carolyn’s Originals, cookie recipe from Taste of Home

 

Lemon Ice Cream

Lemon Ice Cream

Lemon Ice Cream

I know that the heat of summer is on its way — although we have been spared thus far–and I am ready for it!.  Summer is a lot more bearable when you know there’s a batch of homemade ice cream in the freezer.  I really love ice cream, and  just about any flavor will satisfy me when I have a craving,  so we only splurge once in a while.

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Last summer I treated myself to an ice cream maker, and began to collect recipes for ice cream.  It’s amazing the variety of flavors that people come up with.  One of those flavors is lemon ice cream.  That in itself is not so unusual, but I usually associate lemon with sherbet, not ice cream, so I was very anxious to give it a go.  Also this recipe does not contain eggs, so there is no custard making involved.  What it does contain is a little cream cheese, along with half and half, some whipped cream, and milk, so the finished ice cream has a very smooth and creamy mouth-feel.  Not at all icy.  I particularly love it just as it comes out of the ice cream maker and it’s at the soft-serve stage.  That’s when you put it in a container in the freezer to further harden before eating it.  (If you can wait that long!)

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The flavor of this ice cream reminds me of cheesecake which got me to thinking that if I make it again I would increase the amount of cream cheese to further enhance that “cheesy ” flavor.  And I mean that in a good way!!   Really, though,  I don’t think there’s anything you can do that would ruin this ice-cream.  You could increase the cream and decrease the milk, for a richer product;  or to decrease calories and fat, omit the cream and increase the milk.   This is one really “cool” recipe to play around with.

LEMON ICE CREAM

Yield:  Makes a half gallon

This is what you need to make it.

This is what you need to make it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces cream cheese (use reduced fat variety if you prefer.)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 package lemon gelatin
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 4 cups milk  ( 1 quart)
  • yellow food coloring, optional

1.  With electric mixer on medium, combine the cream cheese, sugar and gelatin.  Mix well.

2.  Gradually add in the half and half, lemon juice, zest, and lemon and vanilla extracts.  Beat until smooth.

3.  In another small bowl, whip the cream.  Fold into the lemon mixture.

4.  Add the milk and incorporate evenly into the mixture.  If you are using yellow food coloring, add a few drops, and mix in well.

5.  Transfer to the canister of an ice cream maker and follow maker’s instructions for whipping.

6.  Place ice cream in a freezer container to harder sufficiently before serving.

Please note:  This recipe makes a large quantity (total of about 8 cups ) and in my ice cream maker I could only process half of the mixture at a time.  Since the ice cream canister needed to refreeze between batches, I spread the process over two days, keeping the ice cream mixture cold in the refrigerator over night.  The second batch of it came out as good as the first.

Creamy, cool, lemony, refreshing!!!

Creamy, cool, lemony, refreshing!!!

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

The series of posts Eat Out at Home continues with this recipe for Chicken Piccata, a dish readily found in most any Italian restaurant.  Since I had a package of chicken cutlets to use I was torn between making Chicken Parmesan or Chicken Piccata.  Somehow the Parmesan recipe seemed a little heavy and more suited to cold weather, so this one won out,  since the light lemony sauce of this recipe seems to go with spring.

This recipe is quite simple to make and takes very little time.  It requires only  basic cooking skills, so even if you’re a newcomer in the kitchen, you will be successful.  Preparing the chicken cutlets ahead of time is a time saver. You can pound them out and dredge in flour in advance, then refrigerate them till its time to cook the meal.  Because cutlets are lean and cook in just a few minutes, they produce  very little drippings to use in a sauce, so dredging in flour first, then cooking them will help them to brown and  the flour acts as an emulsifier to slightly thicken the sauce.  The addition of lemon, white wine, chicken broth and capers creates the classic piccata flavors.   Knowing how to make this dish assures you of success when serving guests, since many people know about this entree, but are unaware of how easy it is to make.

A common way to serve chicken piccata is with pasta.  Linguine is a good choice as it will get coated by the sauce.  In my version I added some baby spinach to my nearly cooked pasta in the last minute of cooking,  just so it got a little wilted .  Drain the pasta/spinach combo, place in a large bowl or serving dish and place the chicken cutlets with their sauce poured over the top.   Molto Delicioso!

Chicken with its sauce poured over pasta with spinach.

Chicken with its sauce poured over pasta with spinach.

CHICKEN PICCATA

Makes  4 servings.   Increase all quantities accordingly to make more servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2  boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise and pounded into cutlets.  (I was able to purchase a package of 4 chicken cutlets ready for use at the supermarket.)
  • salt and pepper

    Chicken cutlets, white wine, lemon, garlic and capers produce the classic flavors of this dish.

    Chicken cutlets, white wine, lemon, garlic and capers produce the classic flavors of this dish.

  • all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. drained capers
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • fresh lemon slices
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1.   Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.  Add oil to a sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat.

2.  Saute cutlets 2 – 3 minutes on one side.  Turn cutlets oven and cook the other side, covered,  1 – 2 minutes.  Transfer cutlets to a warmed platter and keep warm.  Pour off any fat from the pan.

Browning the cutlets.

Browning the cutlets.

3.  Deglaze the pan with wine and add minced garlic.  Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with wine and garlic.

Deglaze the pan with wine and garlic.

4.  Add broth, lemon juice, and capers.  Return cutlets to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute.  Transfer cutlets to serving dish.

5.  Finish sauce with butter and lemons.  Once butter melts, pour sauce over cutlets.

Finishing the sauce with butter and lemons.

Finishing the sauce with butter and lemons.

6.  Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Chicken Piccata served with pasta and spinach.

Chicken Piccata served with pasta and spinach.

SOURCE:    CUISINE at Home

Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta

Lemon panna cotta.

Lemon panna cotta.

Panna Cotta is a dessert that I’ve been wanting to make for such a long time, but just never seemed to get around to it.  I have collected several recipes for making it, all just a little different from each other.

Panna Cotta, which means “cooked cream” is Italian in origin, and can be made with milk, cream, half and half, buttermilk, or any combination of these.   I also have a recipe  using yogurt.  Panna cotta is a cool, silky, creamy dessert that is often served with fruit or caramel sauce.  The higher the fat content of your base liquid, the richer the dessert will be, and of course, more calorie laden.

A light refreshing dessert.

A light refreshing dessert.

Happily this is a dessert that can be adjusted in terms of calories and fat content.  The recipe I’m offering here is a lighter version that makes good use of lemon for flavoring and still produces the silky texture of the classic with a pleasing hit of sweet and tang.  Meyer lemon–a lemon-orange hybrid–is sweeter than conventional lemon.  If you don’t have access to Meyer lemons, you can use a regular lemon and enjoy a dessert that’s a bit less sweet.  I used a regular lemon in my panna cotta and it had a nice mild lemon flavor, and was neither tart nor overly sweet,—-just right!

Silky, smooth, creamy and cool.

Silky, smooth, creamy and cool.

I also sliced some strawberries, added about 2 Tablespoons of sugar and 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar to them, and then served a few spooned over the panna cotta for a very pretty presentation.

MEYER LEMON PANNA COTTA

Servings   4

Requires just a few ingredients.

Requires just a few ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Meyer  or regular lemon
  • 1/2 cup  plus 3 Tablespoons 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup half and half  ( I used light cream)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1  3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, ( 1 envelope)
  • 1  1/2 cups reduced-fat buttermilk
  • cooking spray
  • Mint leaves and lemon rind strips (optional)

Directions:

1.  Remove rind from lemon using a vegetable peeler, avoiding white pith.  Squeeze 3 Tablespoons juice from the lemon and save.

Peel the lemon very thinly to flavor the milk and squeeze the lemon for juice.

Peel the lemon very thinly to flavor the milk and squeeze the lemon for juice.

2.  Combine lemon rind, 1/2 cup milk, half and half, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan;  bring to a simmer over medium heat ( do not boil).  Remove pan from heat;  cover and let stand 20 minutes.   Discard lemon rind.

Heating the milk mixture with the lemon peel.

Heating the milk mixture with the lemon peel.

3.  Sprinkle gelatin over remaining 3 tablespoons milk in a small bowl, and let stand at least 10 minutes.

4.  Return half and half mixture to medium heat; cook for 1 minute or until very hot.  Add the gelatin mixture, stirring with a whisk until dissolved (about 1 minute).  Stir in buttermilk and 3 Tablespoons lemon juice.

5.  Lightly spray  4 ( 6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups.  Divide the lemon mixture among the cups.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

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6.  To serve:  run a knife around outside edges of panna cotta.  Place a plate upside down on top of each cup; invert onto plate.  Garnish with mint and lemon rind, if desired.    Or you may wish to serve with a fruit sauce or sliced fruit as I did.

Panna cotta served with sliced strawberries.

Panna cotta served with sliced strawberries.

Nutritional Profile:    Calories  185;   Fat  6.3 g.;  Protein  7 g.;  Carb  26 g.;  Sodium 258 mg.

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Tropical Pineapple Cupcakes

The occasion—-High School Graduation.   The graduate—- my Granddaughter.  Future Plans—-Culinary school!   YEAH!   someone who loves to bake as much as I do.   I wanted to make something special,  yet cool and refreshing looking.  My  idea grew out of my finding a bag of marshmallowy, chewy candies in pastel colors that I thought would look cute as cupcake toppers.  So then I went on the hunt for a recipe for the base cupcake and its frosting, to tie the whole thing together into a theme.

I started with a yellow cake recipe to which I add chopped pineapple and a little pineapple juice.  The frosting is a butter cream with added lemon zest and lemon juice, tinted pale yellow.  The candies are pale green, peach and pale yellow.  So that is the color scheme I worked with,  and it was light, delicate and cool looking.

TROPICAL PINEAPPLE CUPCAKES

Yield:  I got 15 cupcakes, probably could have made each a tad smaller, and gotten 16.

Ingredients

  • 4 canned pineapple rings, finely chopped.  (or  1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained)
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 12 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup self rising flour***
***To use all-purpose flour, add  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and  1/2 teaspoon salt to the flour measurement.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Drain the pineapple, and reserve 2 tablespoons of the juice.  Finely chop the pineapple, or use crushed.

Place the butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Remove from mixer.  Sift in the flour, and using a large spoon (wooden?), fold into the batter.  Fold in the pineapple and the reserved 2 tablespoons juice.

Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling about 2/3s full.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until risen, golden, and test done with a toothpick.  Cool in pan a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • about 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • tiny dot of  yellow gel food coloring

Put butter and cream cheese in a beater bowl and beat together until smooth.  Add the lemon zest.  Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the mixture, then beat  until well mixed.  Gradually add the lemon juice until the frosting is of spreading consistency. Add the dot of gel food color, and beat for consistency of color.   Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.  Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake.  Sprinkle with sanding sugar in yellow and/or green.  Top with a marshmallow candy.  ( The candy I found at the grocery store is called “Mallo-Licious”).   I also think tiny palm trees would make a great topping too.—–next time!

SOURCE:   Adapted from a recipe in The Cupcake, by Angela Drake

Lemon Ginger Scones

The first time I had a piece of crystalized ginger, I immediately loved it;  my imagination went a little wild as I thought of all the ways I could use it.  Since then I’ve experimented with putting it in a variety of baked goods.  I found out that it likes being “center stage”, without a lot of other ingredients to compete with.  That way you get the full impact of its gingery, spicy, sweetness.  This recipe for scones with lemon and candied or crystalized ginger is a great example of that.  It’s one of my favorites—I hope you like it too.

LEMON GINGER SCONES

Makes 6 large or 12 small scones

 Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped crystalized ginger
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • egg wash and turbinado sugar for tops

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Mix all dry ingredients together ( flour through salt) with a whisk.  Cut in cold butter with pastry cutter or two knives.  Stir in lemon zest and chopped ginger. Add buttermilk.  Stir just to moisten.

Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead gently to unify. With hands form into a disc about  7 inches round by 1 1/2 inches thick.

Cut into 6 large or 12 small triangles, and place on prepared baking sheet.  Brush tops with egg wash ( I use a little Egg Beaters) and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick tests clean.

Serve warm with jam.  I particularly like blackberry jam that I make in the summer when blackberry season comes around.  I’ll save that story or another day!

SOURCE;    A  Carolyn Original