Meyer Lemon & Raspberry Soufflé

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It’s hard to beat a chocolate soufflé, period. But when I found myself with bags of Meyer Lemons (compliments of my mom’s Meyer Lemon tree that seems to be on steroids), I wanted to explore a few ways to use the citrusy fruit. I came across a Martha Stewart recipe for a lemony soufflé pudding and adapted the recipe using Meyer lemons and raspberries. The Meyer Lemon and Raspberry soufflés were not only delicious but simple to make. I’ve never made a soufflé and was dubious when I saw Martha Stewart was the “recipe headliner,” as some of her ideas/crafts/recipes, well…let’s just say the word “easy” does not come to mind. The ingredients here are minimal and uncomplicated which means I can focus on the presentation which is my favorite element of cooking. A chocolate soufflé is still hard to beat but this version offers a light and elegant treat at the end of a meal and would be a great option during the holidays when rich foods are plenty and champagne is being uncorked at every turn.

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Ingredients:
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, for the soufflé cups
5 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tb freshly grated Meyer lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 package fresh organic raspberries
2 Tb powdered sugar
whipped cream for garnishing
fresh rosemary for garnish
6-7, 3.5 ounce soufflé cups (World Market has an in depth online selection at chipper prices)

Gently push the fresh raspberries into the light and fluffy batter.

Gently push the fresh raspberries into the light and fluffy batter

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using the teaspoon of butter, butter six to seven soufflé cups and set aside. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.

While the water is boiling, in a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. In another clean bowl, beat the egg yolks until frothy and light in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly add the sugar to the yolks while still beating. Mix in the Meyer lemon zest and juice.

Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk-lemon mixture. Pour the batter into each soufflé  cup (filling each three-quarters full). Place each soufflé cup into the roasting pan and place the pan on a flat surface near the oven. Add two to three fresh raspberries to each soufflé cup by gently pushing them into the batter. Carefully and quickly pour the boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the soufflé cups. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Don’t overcook.

Line your serving platter with slices of Meyer lemons for a bright presentation.

Line your serving platter with slices of Meyer lemons for a bright presentation

Remove the pan from the oven. Set the soufflé cups on a wire rack to cool. In the meantime, cover the bottom of a serving platter with Meyer lemon slices. To serve, set the soufflé cups on top of the Meyer lemon slices. Dust each soufflé cup with confectioners’ sugar and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish the platter with fresh rosemary. Serve warm.

I love using rosemary as a garnish and it looks so fresh against the bright yellow of the lemons

Rosemary always serves as a fragrant and sophisticated garnish

If you try this recipe and like it, let me know what you think!
Cheers!
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Meyer Lemon Cookies with a Powdered Sugar Glaze

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When a large bag of Meyer Lemons lands graciously on your front porch the question begs…what to do with Meyer Lemons? My first instinct, which was covered in my last post, was to make Meyer Lemon Limoncello. Sipping Limoncello in the warm Italian sunshine is one of my most vivid memories of a long-ago trip to Europe. The Meyer Lemon Limoncello was a success and is now on my gift giving list for the holidays. When wondering what else to do with Meyer Lemons, I decided to infuse vodka, which yielded a delicious flavor and a very gregarious cocktail hour this past Christmas day. That post is soon coming up (perhaps as part of a Mother’s Day gift guide).

After searching for all kinds of recipes about what to do with Meyer Lemons, I came across a wonderful sounding recipe for a Meyer Lemon jam. I envisioned slathering the homemade citrusy deliciousness across a rustic piece of bread with morning coffee, drizzling it onto poundcake with fresh strawberries and topping my kids’ nightly bowl of ice cream with just a dab of the zesty freshness. I sterilized my mason jars and laid them on the counter, ready to be filled. After peeling, chopping, draining, boiling and BURNING my precious lemon jam to a dark mahogany hue, I put that idea on hold until next year when perhaps my patience will be more abundant.

Among some of the other Meyer Lemon recipes I came across, this one stuck out. I found it on a beautiful blog with creative desserts called The Sugar Coated Cottage. I followed The Sugar Coated Cottage recipe to a T, and voila, one more fruitful idea for what to do with Meyer Lemons – create a light and fluffy Meyer lemon cookie with a powdered sugar glaze. The Meyer lemon adds just the slightest hint of citrus so as not to detract from the sugar cookie itself. I often get the complaint from my kids that they prefer, “Just vanilla, mom,” but I could barely glaze these babies fast enough before they flew off the counter. If a baked good sits in my home for more than two days, it’s a flop. These beautiful-to-look-at and tasty-to-taste cookies undoubtedly earn a checkmark in the make-again (and again) column.

Golden flecks of the Meyer lemon zest make for a pretty cookie

Golden flecks of the Meyer lemon zest make for a pretty cookie

Ingredients
For the Cookie:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tb Meyer lemon juice
2 Tb Meyer lemon zest
1 and ¼ cup all purpose flour (I always use Swan’s Down brand cake flour in my
baking. I like the light fluffy texture it yields)
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Extra sugar for rolling

For the Meyer lemon powdered sugar glaze:
1 and ½ cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice
2 Tbsp Meyer lemon zest

Directions
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
-Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
-Add extra sugar to shallow dish for rolling.

To make cookies:
-With mixer on medium cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
-Add in the egg, Meyer lemon juice and zest, mix to combine.
-In a separate bowl put flour, baking powder, baking soda, stir to combine.
-With mixer on low slowly add the flour mixture to butter mixture, mix until well combined.
-Roll into 1” balls and roll in sugar.
-Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
-Bake for 7-9 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
-Let cool.

To make the glaze:
-Mix all ingredients until completely combined.
-Drizzle over cooled sugar cookies.

The Meyer lemon is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange offering a little more sweetness than regular lemons.

Arrange cookies on a vintage-looking platter surrounded by fresh lemons and mandarin oranges for a vibrant and inviting presentation.

Notes:
1. This is a soft dough, if making up next cookie sheet while first one is baking place second cookie sheet with rolled cookies into refrigerator until ready for the oven.

2. If you find the dough is too soft you can refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up.

3. If you need to store the glaze lay plastic wrap directly on the surface so it does not crust over.

4. Store cookies in airtight container

5. Watch cookies closely while baking, as soon as the edges are a light golden brown remove from oven. Press top of cookie lightly, if firm they are done. If top is soft then put in oven for 1 minute intervals until done.

The sweet citrus taste is attributed to the Meyer lemon's cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange.

The light and sweet citrus essence tasted in the cookie is attributed to the Meyer lemon’s cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange.

s’mores ice cream pie

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My kids LOVE Oreo ice cream pie. This wasn’t on the day’s TO-DO list but when I saw the “Limited Edition” S’mores Oreos staring me down at the end of the grocery aisle, I couldn’t help picture an ice cream pie using these cookies. And, of course, Dreyer’s just happened to have S’Mores ice cream when I checked the ice cream section. It was fate. My kids were meant to be pumped full of S’mores today, in some form or another. Happy Tuesday Treats!

Ingredients

2, 10 ounce packages of S’mores Oreos (limited edition)
1, 1.5 liter container of Dreyer’s S’Mores light ice cream
1, 8 ounce container of Cool Whip, slightly defrosted but not runny
Hershey’s syrup
1 Tb butter

Limited edition S'mores Oreos

Limited edition S’mores Oreos

 

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Crushed Oreos make a yummy ice cream pie crust

Directions
1. Leave ice cream out to thaw for 45 minutes.
2. Take one 10 ounce package of Oreos and crush in a large mixing bowl, reserve 1/4 cup.
3. Once crushed to your liking, add 1 Tb of melted butter and mix.
4. Butter the bottom of a 9″ pie pan.
5. Press the crushed Oreos into the bottom of the pie pan with the back of a tablespoon, making sure to push down firmly.
6. When ice cream is somewhat melted, pour the container on top of the crust and spread with a baking spatula until it is evenly layered across the pie pan.
7. Squeeze Hershey’s syrup across the top of the ice cream.
8. Spread defrosted Cool Whip across the top of the syrup and ice cream. The ingredients will be a little runny so move the Cool Whip gently with the spatula.
9. Take the second package of Oreos and form a border around the pie.
10. Take the reserved 1/4 cup of crushed Oreos and sprinkle across the top of the pie.
11. Top pie with a S’More, toasted marshmallows or shaved chocolate for decoration.
12. Place pie  in the freezer on an even surface and let harden for two to three hours.
13. When pie is firm, slice and enjoy.

Once the melted ice cream is spread across the cookie crust, drizzle with Hershey's syrup and top with Cool Whip

Once the melted ice cream is spread across the cookie crust, drizzle with Hershey’s syrup and top with Cool Whip

Use Oreos to create a cookie border, top with crushed Oreos and decorate

Use Oreos to create a cookie border, top with crushed Oreos and decorate

lemon-thyme cake

FullSizeRenderIsn’t it annoying when a recipe calls for a few sprigs of a particular fresh herb and you are essentially left with the full amount? In my case, the culprit was thyme, whose two sprigs capped off my perfect pot roast. Rather than toss the bunch, I decided to try a few different recipes and really max out the versatility of the herb. One such recipe is this scrumptious cake that popped up as soon as I Googled “lemon-thyme cake.” The talented ladies from the blog Spoon Fork Bacon published the original recipe in 2014 and it is a winner.

No one in my family could pass the cake stand without breaking off pieces of the light fluffly deliciousness. We chipped away diligently until all that remained was a smattering of crumbs.

The Lemon-Thyme cake will debut at my sister’s house on Mother’s Day; one cake wrapped for my sister as a thank you for hosting and another cake as an “I Love You” to my mom. I’m picking up white cake boxes and wrapping each one in soft yellow ribbon with sprigs of thyme on top. Personally, I think it’s a gift everyone will enjoy and it comes straight from the heart (and, of course, will be accompanied by a bottle of champagne).

This piece might seem big, until you take a BITE.

This piece might seem big, until you take a BITE.

Makes 2 (8”) cakes

Cake Ingredients
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar (I used C&H pure granulated sugar and it was fine)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh minced thyme

Frosting Ingredients
I strayed from the SFB frosting and made a lemon buttercream which was easy and divine, especially with the hint of lemon subtly popping through.

1/2 cup butter, softened
4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 to 6 Tb lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
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Cake Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl.
3. Place sugar, butter and eggs into another mixing bowl and whisk together. Pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture and whisk together until very thick and combined.
4. Stir in the remaining ingredients except for the zest and thyme, until fully incorporated and the batter is smooth.
5. Gently fold in the zest and thyme until just combined.
6. Pour the batter into two prepared cake pans (bottoms lined with parchment and lightly greased) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.
7. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from pans and letting them cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Directions
1. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy.
2. Beat in the confectioners sugar, vanilla and lemon juice
3. Beat until well-blended.
4. Fold in the lemon peel just until mixed.
5. Frost each cake layer when cool and assemble.
6. Decorate the top with a few leaves of thyme and a lemon wheel

Beautiful on the outside and tasty on the inside

Beautiful on the outside and tasty on the inside

twinkie cupcakes

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Remember the Twinkie box??? It’s red, white and blue with an animated Twinkie dressed like a cowboy and the description, “Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy filling.” Having grown up in a household with yummy BUT very healthy food all the time, I loved seeing that Twinkie box in the cupboard every once in a while. My sister and I knew we had done something worthy of that kind of dessert “score.”

And when Christi visited her mom in North Carolina this summer, Twinkie news was everywhere. Our beloved Twinkies were no longer going to be sold, boxes of the delicious sponge cake were all over Ebay and it seemed like the end of an era. Well, Twinkies are back (hopefully to stay until they are pushed out again by the next dessert trend). Christi and her mom (a phenomenal baker), whipped up these Twinkie Cupcakes in honor of this delightfully delicious comfort food.

Ingredients
1 (18.25-ounce) package Duncan Hines Golden Butter Cake Mix
Twinkie Cream Filling (recipe follows)
Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

1. Prepare cake mix according to package directions for cupcakes.
2. Spoon Twinkie Cream Filling into a squeeze bottle with a long narrow tip. Insert tip into the top of cupcakes and squeeze about 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of each cupcake.
3. Pipe or spread Chocolate Frosting over top of cupcakes. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to three days.

Twinkie Cream Filling
1 (8-ounce) container frozen Cool Whip 
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, soft
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Directions
In a medium bowl, beat whipped topping and cream cheese at medium speed with a mix until smooth. Beat in confectioners sugar.

Chocolate Frosting
6  (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
7 cups confectioners sugar

Directions
1. In a small saucepan, combine chocolate and cream. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool for 30 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with mixer until creamy. Add cooled chocolate mixture and beat until creamy, about 4 minutes. Gradually add confectioners sugar, beating until smooth.

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