Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Apple Crisp

This fall we made sure we went to our local pick-your-own apple orchard. The apples were by far the best I had had in a long, long time. But of course, we ended up picking way more than we could have eaten before they went bad. So, I had, I just had to find a recipe or two for apple desserts that use a LOT of apples. :) Naturally, apple crisp was first on the list. And boy, was it an outstanding recipe! As I always do, I tweaked it a little bit to add my own touches, so to speak, and it was gone so fast, I had to make it again the same week! My kids had fun helping me make it too. It is incredibly simple!
Served warm with a scoop of  some excellent vanilla ice cream it is truly one of the best fall desserts you could dream of!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

Here is a terrific twist on pumpkin pie and cheesecake! It combines the favorite fall flavors of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice with the velvety creaminess of classic cheesecake. Plus, it is super fuss-free to prepare and a great make-ahead recipe for your Thanksgiving feast. :)


Cream Cheese Filling:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Note: If you are a huge fan of cheesecake, you may want to consider doubling the cream cheese filling. I think I may do this next time. :)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (I actually used 1/2 cup pumpkin and 1/2 cup pureed butternut squash)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp fresh orange zest (optional but highly recommended)

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. For the filling: With a hand mixer blend together softened cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
  4. For the batter: Combine the pumpkin, sugar, egg and oil in medium mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
  5. Stir in flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well to combine.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking dish, and spread to cover bottom of pan.
  7. Add dollops of the cream cheese mixture over the batter. Cut through the batter with a knife to make a marbled effect w/ the cream cheese mixture in an up and down pattern. Repeat going the other way. When marbling make sure you don't go all the way to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans.
  8. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool and cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator.
  10. Zest about half an orange on top of the bars just before serving. It adds wonderful brightness to the flavor profile of this delicious dessert.
  11. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: The girl who ate everything

Monday, November 17, 2014

Apple Walnut Muffins

These Apple Walnut Muffins are another fantastic installment in my fall recipe collection. But really, they would be terrific at any time of year! I was blown away by their moistness and how light and flavorful they were. In fact, they were so incredibly yummy, I ended up making them for my family twice in one week! :) They are not overly sweet and they are bursting with flavors- apples, cinnamon, walnuts... Such a great breakfast or anytime snack, also perfect with a cup of nice coffee or tea.

4 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 up oil (canola, vegetable, or coconut...)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp. ground flax seed meal
2 cups cored, peeled and grated apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease 2 muffin tin pans or line with paper liners. This recipe makes about 2 dozen standard size muffins.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, mix eggs with sugar and oil. Beat until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Add vanilla extract, cinnamon, and flax seed. Mix just until incorporated.

Fold in apples and walnuts. Using a large ice cream scoop, fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way, so they can form a nice dome while baking.

Bake for about 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Cool in pans for a couple of minutes, then take out on wire racks to finish cooling. enjoy plain or with a drizzle of simple Cinnamon Glaze (recipe below).

Cinnamon Glaze


1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsps. milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


Mix powdered sugar with 1 tbsp. of the milk. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. Mix in cinnamon. Drizzle glaze over cooled muffins. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: http://www.supichka.com

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Another great treat during pumpkin season: Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Super easy to make, ultra soft and moist, simply delicious! Plus, they have oats, flax seeds, nuts, and dried fruit in them, so that makes them qualify as almost healthy. :)

  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  •  1/2 cup chocolate chips (white, dark, milk- whatever floats your boat!)
  •  1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  •  1/2 cup chopped pecans
    (if you prefer to use different add-ins, that is perfectly fine; the possibilities are endless here- any dried fruits or nuts/seeds would work perfectly, just keep the total amount of add-ins to 1 and 1/2 cups)

  • Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats (I love my Silpat!)

    In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, pumpkin spice, salt, oats, and flax seed. Set aside.

    In a medium size bowl, mix the melted butter, molasses, and sugars. Once combined, mix in the egg. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and whisk until thick and fully incorporated. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The resulting dough will be heavy and sticky.

    Gently fold in the chocolate chips, dry apricots, and pecans (or other add-ins of your choice). Scoop cookie dough onto the cookie sheets- I use a medium size ice cream scoop that works great for this purpose. Flatten cookies just a little bit before putting in the oven.

    Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes, or until slightly brown around the edges (it took exactly 12 minutes for mine). Cookies will still be soft when you take them out. Allow to cool completely on the cookie sheets before transferring to an airtight container. The cookies keep soft and moist for more than a week and you can also freeze them for a couple of months. They are truly delicious!

    Recipe courtesy: pumpkin oatmeal cookies

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    The Perfect Fall Salad!

    I love fall and I absolutely love salads... And I think I just may have managed to reach perfection when it comes to combining fall flavors- and colors- into a salad bowl. I have made my fair share of salad combos in my many years of daily salad consumption and I can truly declare this arugula salad mixed with roasted butternut squash and topped with chopped pecans, crumbled gorgonzola cheese and succulent (and oh, so good for you) pomegranate seeds to be my winner in the fall category. Hands down. It is not only beautiful (yes, breathtakingly beautiful!) to look at, but more importantly- it will send your taste buds over the moon and back with every. single. bite. Bursting with richness of flavors, delighting with a variety of textures, and so esthetically pleasing to the eye, this is by far The Perfect Fall Salad.



    (serves 2-4, depending on whether you are serving it as a first course or as an entrée)

    3 cups arugula
    1 cup roasted butternut squash *
    1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
    1/4 cup chopped pecans
    1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
    a simple drizzle of olive oil and the vinegar of your choice, to taste
    freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste


    In a large salad bowl, lay arugula and top with butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, chopped pecans, and gorgonzola cheese. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar just before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy as a first course at lunch or as a light but super satisfying and nourishing dinner entree.

    * I roast peeled and chopped butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil in a 450F oven for about 40-45 minutes, or until cooked through. Sometimes I add a chopped onion as well- it adds a nice flavor when it roasts and gets caramelized. It's a great side dish or an addition to salads, such as this one.

    Friday, October 24, 2014

    Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze

    To keep in line with the fall spirit here, I have another pumpkin recipe for you today: Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze! If you are a fan of scones and like pumpkin, well, this is right up your alley then! They are very easy and fast to prepare and since they are not too sweet, they make the perfect breakfast or snack at any time of day. The spiced glaze lends an extra flavor dimension to them with the warmth of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves... Let's celebrate the season! :)
    Pumpkin Scones

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    7 tbsp. granulated sugar
    1 tbsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    1/4 tsp ground cloves
    1/4 tsp ground ginger
    6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter
    1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
    3 tbsp. half-n-half
    1 egg

    Preheat oven to 425F.
    Mix dry ingredients. Add butter and cut it in using a pastry blender or in food processor. Combine wet ingredients and fold them into dry mix until just incorporated. Form into a ball. Do not knead!
    * The key to flaky scones is to handle the dough as little as possible.* Pat the dough onto lightly floured surface to about 1 inch thick. Cut in triangles. Bake for about 14-16 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Once cooled, drizzle with Spiced Glaze.

    Spiced Glaze
    1 cup plus 3 tbsp. powdered sugar
    2 tbsp. milk or half-n-half
    1/4 tsp cinnamon
    1/8 tsp nutmeg
    a pinch each of ground ginger and ground cloves

    Mix all ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over cooled scones. Enjoy!!! :)


    Recipe courtesy: browneyedbaker.com

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Glaze

    Yes, it is fall!!! In my book, that means pumpkin season, apple season, pear season- you get my meaning... :) I have a ton of recipes with all these ingredients waiting to be posted here, like the Pear-Pecan Muffins I just blogged about yesterday. :) Here is a new recipe for cookies with a delightful pumpkin flavor and maple glaze that are just perfect for this time of year. I made these for a ladies' gathering at our church this week and was asked for the recipe multiple times. So, here it is, as promised: super easy to make and just right to satisfy any pumpkin lover's cravings.

    Pumpkin Cookies
    (makes about 5-6 dozen cookies)

    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 cup granulated sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
    1/2 tsp ground ginger

    Preheat oven to 375F.
    In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream butter and sugars together for 1-2 minutes.
    In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour with baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.
    Once butter and sugars are creamed, add pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and mix to incorporate.
    Gradually add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and beat until just incorporated.
    Using a medium-size cookie/ ice-cream scoop or a spoon, drop batter onto lightly greased cookie sheets (or on sheets lined with silicone mats), about 1 inch apart. If you like smoother looking cookies, shape each one into a ball with your hands, place on baking sheets and slightly flatten out with your fingers.
    Bake for about 12-14 minutes. Cookies should still feel soft when you take them out, they will harden a little as they cool. Do not overbake. Transfer to wire racks and leave to cool.
    Once cooled, the cookies can be glazed. I used the following Maple Glaze which complemented the cookies perfectly.

    Maple Glaze

    2 cups powdered sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    4-5 tbsp maple syrup
    4-5 tsp milk (or more, to reach desired consistency)

    Mix all ingredients together, adding the milk just a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. If you want the glaze runnier, to just dip the cookies in, you can add more milk. I left mine a little stiffer and then filled it in a little zip-lock bag, snipped one corner of it and drizzled the cool cookies with the glaze.


    Recipe adapted from: realhousemoms.com

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Pear-Pecan Muffins

    Fall! I know I have been MIA for a few months... Summer is more or less a time of non-baking in my house. There sure was a whole lot of ice-cream making but the oven was pretty much given a big well-deserved break. With the first cooler days of the season though, my baking addiction kicked in full gear and I was right back in the kitchen, mixing and stirring, developing recipes, and using my family as guinea pigs... :) Pears have been in season for a few weeks now and they are truly delicious! I just had to think up something to bake with them! After some research and a good deal of experimentation, I ended up with a flavor combination that came out better than I even imagined it.

    Pear and pecans go so well together in my humble opinion, I decided to pronounce them forever married in this quintessentially fall recipe. To give the whole shebang an extra oomph, I threw in a handful of crystalized ginger as well. Who could resist pears, pecans and ginger together in one place? I knew I couldn't. And my kiddos have been going nuts over these delicious, moist, fluffy muffins too! They pack a punch of flavor with all the warm spices and are also pretty healthy, considering there are four whole cups of pears in them. The nuts give you a good protein kick and are super yummy to boot. I am head over heels in love with these fruity, nutty, spicy muffins!

    Pear-Pecan Muffins
    (makes 24 muffins)

    1 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup oil (vegetable, canola, or coconut oil)
    3 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tbsp flax seed meal
    11/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp allspice
    1/2 tsp ground cloves
    1/4 cup finely diced crystalized ginger
    4 cups peeled and finely chopped pears, about 4 large pears (I used Bartlett)
    11/4 cups chopped pecans



    Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease muffin pans (recipe makes exactly 24 regular size muffins). Set aside.
    In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat together sugars and oil. Add eggs and vanilla.
    In a separate bowl, combine flour, flax seed meal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Mix until combined.
    Add crystalized ginger, pears, and pecans.
    Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
    Cool on wire racks.


    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    Hazelnut Mocha Ice Cream

    It is pretty peculiar, I confess, but even though I do not drink coffee and cannot even stand the smell of it brewing, I am a sucker for coffee flavored desserts, ice cream being definitely one of them. I also happen to be a huge fan of hazelnuts... So, that's where this Hazelnut Mocha Ice Cream comes in and it took all of two days for it to completely disappear from our freezer. Apparently, Mommy's kiddos are hazelnut-mocha aficionados as well. :) My Mom, a.k.a. Baba, enjoyed a nice serving of it too. So, if you love coffee and the flavor of hazelnuts, I strongly urge you to make a batch of this ice cream right now. Once you have a taste, you will be singing it your own praises too!

    Hazelnut Mocha Ice Cream
    1 cup hazelnut coffee creamer
    1 cup milk
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    2 tbsp. instant coffee granules
    1/8 tsp salt
    1 cup heavy whipping cream

    In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together hazelnut creamer, milk, sugar, instant coffee granules, and salt until sugar and coffee have fully dissolved. Mix in whipping cream. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until chilled.

    Once chilled, pour into your ice cream maker and process following manufacturer's instructions. My ice cream maker takes about 25-30 minutes to produce soft serve ice cream. You can enjoy it right away, or if you prefer it firmer, transfer to a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

    That's it! I hope you give it a try! It is unbelievably good! :)


    Friday, June 6, 2014

    Peanut Butter Ice Cream

    Here is an ice cream for all peanut butter lovers! My kids gobbled it up pretty quickly and have already requested more. :) This particular recipe is actually made with raw eggs, so what I do is "coddle" them first to kill any bacteria that might be in them. If you are wondering how to coddle an egg, it really is very simple: pour boiling water over a room temperature egg for a minute and then right after that transfer it to an ice water bath for two minutes. That's it! You've got a coddled egg! :) Now you can rest easy about proceeding with the rest of the recipe. And trust me, it is worth the extra step- for peace of mind, and for the delicious result that you will be enjoying once you are done making this heavenly peanut butter frozen delight.

    Peanut Butter Ice Cream
    2 eggs, coddled using the method described above
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    2 cups heavy whipping cream
    1 cup milk
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2/3 cup peanut butter (you can use creamy or chunky, depending on your preference)

    Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until pale in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the sugar, and whisk until completely dissolved and blended, another 2 minutes. Pour in the cream milk, and vanilla extract, and whisk to blend. Pour about 1 cup of this mixture to a separate bowl and whisk in the peanut butter, a little at a time. Return the peanut butter mixture to the remaining cream base and stir until well blended. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

    Once chilled, pour in your ice cream maker and process following the manufacturer's instructions. Enjoy right away as soft serve ice cream or freeze for about 2 hours to let it "ripen" and acquire a firmer consistency.

    Recipe adapted from "Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book" by BEn Cohen and Jerry Greenfield with Nancy J. Stevens

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

    Vanilla Ice Cream

    The classic of all classics- Vanilla Ice Cream! This recipe is rich, luscious, creamy, and unbelievably  easy! It shines all on its own but is also terrific as an accompaniment to all kinds of desserts in summertime or throughout the year. We are simply in love... :)

    Vanilla Ice Cream
    2 cups heavy whipping cream
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    2/3 cup half-and-half
    2 tsp vanilla extract

    Whisk whipping cream and sugar in a mixing bowl or large measuring cup until sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Pour in half-and-half and vanilla extract and whisk to blend.

    Transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions. Mine usually takes about 25-30 minutes to produce ice cream at the soft serve stage. If you prefer a firmer consistency, move the ice cream to a freezer-safe container, cover, and freeze for 2 hours or overnight.

    Makes 1 delicious quart. Enjoy!

    Recipe adapted from "Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Dessert Book" by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield with Nancy Stevens

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Apricot Cake

    I made this dessert for us a couple of weekends ago when we were expecting company and it turned out beautiful and delicious! It was also a breeze to prepare! I made it with apricots but really, it can be made with any kind of fruit such as peaches, plums, berries, etc or even a combination of different kinds. It is very simple in that it does not require a frosting, just a sprinkling of powdered sugar would be enough. I served it with some homemade vanilla ice cream (stay tuned for that recipe in a post coming up soon!) and it was a killer combination! My kids raved! I am sure it will get rave reviews in your family if you make it. Go ahead- whip it up, you can thank me for it later. :) I send my special thanks to Crafty cooking by Anna where I found the original recipe (which I adapted slightly).

    Apricot Cake
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 egg
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup milk
    1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
    1 tbsp pure vanilla extract 

    about 2 cups pitted and chopped fresh apricots  (or peaches, plums, berries, etc- any fruit you prefer, or a combination of several different kinds)

    Preheat oven to 400F.

    Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan, or an 8x8 inch square pan, or any baking dish of similar size.

    In a medium size bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

    In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, sugar, milk, oil and vanilla extract.

    Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined and flour pockets are gone. Do not overmix! Mix about 1 1/2 cup of the fruit into the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Decorate the top with the rest of the fruit.

    Bake 25 to 35 minutes. Start checking after 25 min. Baking time may vary depending on your baking dish, your altitude, oven, etc. Do not overbake- cake is done when a toothpick inserted in center comes our clean. Cool on a wire rack and dust with powdered sugar just before serving. Enjoy!


    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

    Strawberry Ice Cream

    What better treat than delicious homemade strawberry ice cream on a hot summer day? Now that strawberries are in season, the flavor of this ice cream is all the more mouth-watering and irresistible!

    This is an all-natural recipe that doesn't use any food dyes or artificial flavors- it boasts pure strawberry flavor that comes exclusively from fresh, juicy local strawberries. It is simply divine!

    Strawberry Ice Cream

    1 cup heavy cream
    1 cup milk
    3 eggs
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 lb fresh strawberries
    Pour heavy cream and milk in medium size saucepan. Bring to a simmer on medium heat- not a full boil, just tiny little bubbles around the edges of the pan. This should take about 3-4 minutes. Watch that it doesn't boil!

    In the meantime, using your electric mixer, cream eggs and sugar in a separate bowl. Whisk until pale in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

    When the cream/milk mixture is hot, pour about 1/2 cup of it into the egg mixture and continue whisking. Add another 1/2 cup and whisk again. This ensures that the eggs are "tempered" and do not curdle. Now, add all of the egg mixture back to the saucepan with the rest of the cream/milk and whisk while on medium heat until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Once it reaches the stage when it can coat the back of a wooden spoon, bring down from the heat. Add vanilla extract and salt. Mix in to incorporate.

    Pour the custard over a bowl through a fine mesh sieve, so you can remove any possible lumps. Cover with plastic wrap, laying it directly on top of the custard to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least 5-6 hours, or overnight (that's what I do).


    When ready to use custard base, stem and hull your strawberries and puree them in a food processor or blender. If you do not like little strawberry seeds in your ice cream, run the puree through a fine mesh sieve (I do not bother with this step, as I don't mind strawberry seeds :). Mix strawberry puree and custard base until nicely incorporated.

    Add mixture to your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Mine usually takes about 25 minutes to come to a nice soft-serve stage which is the favorite consistency in our family. If you prefer your ice cream firmer, freeze for about 1 hour or more.

    Note: Due to the water content in the strawberry puree, this ice cream tends to harden up considerably while in the freezer, so you may need to leave it out on your counter for about 10 minutes or so before being able to scoop and enjoy. Soft or firm, I am sure you will love it if you give it a try! It is a definite favorite around here! :)


    Saturday, May 10, 2014

    Cupcake Roses for Mom! :)


    Happy Mother's Day to all you, hardworking Moms, everywhere in the world! I hope your family is sweet to you on this very special day, as you deserve it!!! Here is my greeting to you- some cupcake roses to brighten up and sweeten up your day! :)

    Lemon CupcakesIngredients:
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 large eggs
    2 cups granulated sugar
    1 cup vegetable or canola oil
    1 cup sour cream
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon lemon extract
    zest of one large lemon
    freshly squeezed juice from one large lemon
    2-3 drops of lemon essential oil
    1/2 cup milk
    Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with paper liners (for cupcakes). This recipe makes about 30 standard size cupcakes.
    In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick and creamy (about 2 minutes).
    Blend oil and sour cream. Add vanilla and lemon extracts, lemon zest,  lemon juice, and lemon essential oil. Mix to incorporate.
    Add flour and milk, alternating- starting and finishing with flour.
    Pour in muffin tins, filling each cupcake about 2/3 of the way. Bake 18-20 minutes or until they test done. Fill with Perfect Lemon Curd and frost with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (recipes below).

    Perfect Lemon Curd
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3 eggs
    3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (it took me about 5-6 small lemons!)
    1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
    In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Mixture may look a little curdled at first but that's okay, it will smooth our later, I promise you. :) Finally, add lemon juice and zest and mix in to incorporate.
    Using a double boiler, bring water in the bottom container to a gentle boil, and add mixture to the top container while stirring frequently in the beginning and almost constantly towards the end. Keep stirring over medium to medium-low heat until mixture thickens enough to hold marks from whisk, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cool. Fill your cupcakes with about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of lemon curd per cupcake. This recipe is enough to fill about 30 cupcakes and can be made up to a week in advance and refrigerated until ready to use (big bonus for me!).
    Recipe for Perfect Lemon Curd adapted from: allrecipes.com

    Lemon Cream Cheese FrostingIngredients:
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
    3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    1 tsp lemon extract
    2-3 drops of lemon essential oil (optional)
    3-4 tsp heavy whipping cream (or more, if you prefer a thinner consistency)
    a few drops of yellow food coloring, if desired

    Directions: In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese at medium/high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, covering your mixer with the shield attachment or a kitchen towel to avoid a cloud of powdered sugar all over your kitchen. :) Beat until well incorporated. Add lemon extract and essential oil and beat again for another minute or so. Finally, mix in whipping cream, one teaspoon at a time, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. Add desired food coloring. I used Wilton's gel food colors: Rose (for the pink), Yellow, and some light green for the little leaves. For the roses, start the swirl from the center, working your way outwards. It's really simple but elegant. I hope you make someone very happy with these! :)

    Print recipe

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