Archive for the 'Lemon' Category



Lemon Ginger Sunshine Shortbread

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I had a young friend over at my house last night, and to keep him occupied, my mom and I baked some citrus cut-out cookies. Or, actually, it was to keep ourselves occupied, as Dylan was happy enough following the dog around the house and watering the flowers in the garden…In any case, there was lots of rolling and cookie-cutter-cutting to do, which was quite amusing to my 2 1/2 year old buddy. We made a huge mess (flour was “snowing” all over the counter, the floor, his hair, the dog…) but we had some amazing giggles and huge toothy smiles caught on camera so that was quite rewarding!IMG_0166

I believe that baking is inherited (see the “About Me” section of my blog for my own baking story), and since my grandmother measured things with “tea glasses” (who knows what size they were), when she bakes my mom therefore doesn’t measure things at all! So this recipe is a little approximated, since it is what I could piece together after the ingredients were all mixed together.

Ingredients:
6 oz. Earth Balance, cut into small pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 medium sized lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp. dried ground ginger
1 2-inch long piece of fresh ginger, finely grated

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and rub in the Earth Balance with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Stir in the superfine sugar, ground ginger, fresh ginger, and lemon juice, and bring the mixture together with your hands to make a smooth, firm dough.
On a lightly floured work counter, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/2 an inch. Stamp out sunflowers (or whatever shape you want) with a cookie cutter measuring about 1 1/2 inches across.
Arrange the cookie dough cut-outs on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-13 minutes, until the cookies are a light golden color.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Top with Lemon Icing, or sandwich together.

Lemon Icing:
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1-1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 medium sized lemon, juiced

Cream together the Earth Balance with the confectioner’s sugar, and when combined well and fluffy, add the lemon juice. You can add more sugar to reach your desired consistency.

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Three Layer Lemon Carrot Cake

IMG_9752For Jesse and Tara’s roommate Paul’s birthday, he requested a carrot cake with cream cheese icing. I have a great stand-by recipe, and it is one of my favorite cakes to make, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to make it for him.

There was a minor mishap because we used a pan that was too big for the amount of cake batter that we had, and our two layers of carrot cake were quite thin. Instead of stressing out about it too much, we decided that it was a great opportunity for us to make a third layer! Paul chose a lemon cake layer to go in between the two carrot cakes, and that sounded perfect!

I used a sponge cake recipe from Hannah Kaminsky’s My Sweet Vegan for the lemon layer, but I added a bunch of freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest. This layer ended up looking fantastic! The top was beautifully browned, and was crisp and crunchy, and had a lovely split in the top-center so you could see the lighter yellow cake underneath. However, when we cut into the finished cake to eat it, this layer was quite gelatinous. It seemed a bit undercooked, but unlike most raw cake batters it was the consistency of a heavy lemon custard, more like a lemon pie or something. I had been the recipient of a cake made from this recipe for sponge cake before, and it had worked out perfectly and was fluffy and beautiful…I had imagined that the added lemon juice this time would react with the baking soda and would puff the cake up even more. However, I think we either added too much lemon juice (so there was too much liquid overall) or  else our baking times and temperature were incorrect. We hadn’t wanted to burn the top while baking so maybe we just had the oven temperature too high? It wasn’t what we had envisioned, but it still tasted nice anyway, especially with the cinnamon flavors in the carrot cake and the lemon zest that we added to the cream cheese frosting.

This is the crispy top of our lemon cake. Isn’t it pretty?IMG_9719Here is my carrot cake recipe. I’ve had it for years and it never fails to be moist and delicious! It’s easy to change it or put different mix-ins into it, depending on what flavors or textures you want. I’ve made it into many successful cakes and cupcakes and it’s always a hit! This makes a thick 9×13-inch cake, or else two 9-inch round layers.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 mashed bananas**
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 Tblsp. vanilla extract
3 cups grated carrot
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon (or use mostly cinnamon and add a bit of nutmeg and ground cloves for added flavor)
Depending on what flavors I want, I often add liberal amounts of: chopped nuts, raisins, grated coconut, or chocolate chips.

**Sometimes I also replace some or all of the bananas with applesauce. I use a ratio of 1/2 banana = 1/3 cup applesauce.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans, or one 9×13-inch sheet cake pan.
Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine and stir until just mixed.
Bake for about one hour but check often after cake has been in the oven for 45 minutes. It should be firm to the touch but moist inside.
IMG_9737Cream Cheese Icing Recipe:
*Note: Usually I just make it up as I go along, but this is a good starting point. On the top and sides of our cake, we used a basic cream cheese icing, and in between the layers we used a lemon cream cheese icing (we just added lemon zest and a bit of juice to the cream cheese icing we had already made).

Blend the following ingredients with an electric beater till extremely creamy:
8 oz. Tofutti cream cheese
2 Tblsp. Earth Balance (or other non-dairy margarine)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar (add until you get desired consistency)

Earl Grey Lemon Chrysanthemum Cupcakes

IMG_8901This was another recipe I made for my new paid gig! It was really fun to come up with this recipe, I had a lot of inspiration from my friend Tara who made very involved Cup O’ Tea Cupcakes (Earl Grey cupcake with Lavender Buttercream (it also had homemade fresh coconut, lemon-rind, and blueberry ice cream, and white chocolate topping, as well as crystallized lavender blossoms. She’s amazing!)), and so I wanted to make my own Earl Grey cupcakes. Here’s my take on the Cup O’ Tea Cupcake!

I made an Earl Grey cupcake, adapting my favorite basic cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World…Simply, I steeped Earl Grey tea bags in my almond milk before using in the recipe, and threw in some ground tea leaves as well as lemon and orange rind into the batter (then you get pretty dark dots of black tea and yellow and orange zest sparkles in the cupcake!). Since lemon and tea go together so well, I decided on a Lemon Buttercream frosting, and piped that on the top in a pretty design. From above, the frosting resembled chrysanthemum flowers, so that’s how the cupcakes got their name…I also added a chocolate topper, which was melted chocolate that I drizzled onto parchment paper and refridgerated until it was hardened, then I broke up the drizzles into pretty shapes and placed them on top of the frosting for an elegant (but easy!) look.

Here’s my recipe:

Cupcake Batter Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk
5 Earl Grey tea bags
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Pour almond milk into a small saucepan. Heat on the stove until nearly boiling, then place 4 of the tea bags in the milk, and remove pot from heat. Cover and let tea steep for 10 minutes. When fully steeped, whisk in the vinegar, and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.
Beat together the almond milk mixture, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Open the remaining tea bag, and in a spice grinder, grind the tea leaves till they resemble a fine powder. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons of this Earl Grey powder to your dry mix. In two batches, add the dry mix to the wet, and mix until no large lumps remain. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, till a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes sit in the pan for 5 minutes to settle before transferring to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Buttercream Ingredients:
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/8-1/4 cup almond milk

For the frosting, cream together the shortening and margarine until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the lemon juice, and zest, and continue creaming. Slowly add the almond milk until the frosting reaches your desired consistency, and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy. Spread or pipe onto the tops of your cupcakes in whatever design you choose.

Lemon Apricot Scones

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Sari, Julie, and I made these scones for a potluck yesterday. They were light and delicately lemony on their own, but the lemon-vanilla glaze drizzled over the top gave them a bit of a sweet-and-sour bite. These scones would be perfect for breakfast, paired with tea or coffee, and were delicious as a dessert as well!

Here is the recipe we adapted (and veganized) from a lemon scone recipe from The Cheeseboard Cookbook.

Scone Ingredients:
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped small
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
3/4 cup white sugar
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tblsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Glaze Ingredients:
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tsp. lemon zest, for sprinkling over scones at the end

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
Combine apricots, lemon zest, and sugar in a small bowl.

P1000734Mix 3/4 cup of soy milk with the apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup. Set aside for a few minutes till it curdles. While you wait, sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder together into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Add the salt and lemon sugar to the bowl and mix on a low speed until combined. Add the margarine and cut it in on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until it is the size of small peas.

P1000738Make a well in the center and add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar/soy milk mixture. Mix briefly, just until the ingredients come together; some loose flour should remain at the bottom of the bowl.

P1000746Gently shape the dough into balls about 2 1/4 inches in diameter (they should have a rough, rocky exterior) and place them on the prepared pan about 2 inches apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool.

P1000757To make the glaze, 5 minutes before the scones come out of the oven, pour the lemon juice and vanilla into a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the confectioners’ sugar to make a smooth mixture. Line a work surface with newspaper and place a wire rack on top. Transfer the scones to the rack. Let cool for 5 minutes, then use your whisk to drizzle the glaze over the top of each scone. We sprinkled a bit of extra lemon zest over the scones for a finishing touch. Let the glaze set before serving.

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Lemon Bars

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I recently found a tree in my neighborhood that is bearing the largest most beautiful lemons by the hundreds, and they are falling to the ground all over the place. To aid this problem, I have taken to pilfering a few lemons at a time during nighttime walks. What to do with them? Clearly, lemon bars were the answer. This recipe is from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. They are delicious and melt in your mouth and not-too-sweet, not-too-tart, perfectly balanced and gooey. Mmmm.

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Chocolate Covered Biscotti

I’m not sure this deserves it’s own separate post, but I dipped some of the cranberry pistachio lemon biscotti in dark chocolate and here are the pictures! We sprinkled some ground pistachios on top for a pretty garnish.

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Cranberry Pistachio Lemon Biscotti

I adapted a biscotti recipe that I found on Bryanna Clark Groban’s blog, adding cranberries instead of ginger to her lemon biscotti recipe. I like these so much, and they were very easy, so I plan on making more biscotti soon, maybe trying out some chocolate flavors. For my first try, I think I didn’t bake them quite long enough because they are still chewy in the middle, but honestly, I like that better than the traditional super-crunchy biscotti texture–and they are still yummy when dipped into tea or coffee! We dipped some in chocolate, and you can look forward to seeing those pictures posted soon.

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