Monthly Archives: March 2010

Know What I Mean, Jelly Bean?

I’m in an honest sort of mood so I think it’s about time I confessed a few things.

I have never used unsalted butter in any recipe though most of the recipes I’ve posted on here call for it. I’ll tell you a little secret about butter. If the recipe calls for salt then you can just leave it out and use salted butter. You might have already known that but recently it was a little personal revelation of mine.

I am frightened of yeast. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I wake up in a cold sweat after a nightmare about being chased by rising bread dough. I’ve just never made bread and I’m a little intimidated by it. It’s like one of those things you put off for so long you feel like you’ll never get around to doing it.

I’ve never been so organized in the morning that I actually remember to take my butter or cream cheese out of the refrigerator to allow it to reach room temperature like it always needs to be for every recipe. Microwaves are wonderful things aren’t they? Although mine seems to be angry with me for whatever reason. When I push the 4 it inputs a 3. Yeah, because that’s what I really meant to push, microwave. Thanks.

Also, I used leftover frosting to top off these cute cupcakes. Don’t hate me if I don’t make everything from scratch every single time ok? Please? I made way too much icing for those Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes the other day and I just can’t bring myself to throw out something as yummy as that White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. I hate waste but I love these Vanilla Jelly Bean Cupcakes. I think you will too.

Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes a dozen cupcakes.

Source: Joy of Baking’s Vanilla Cupcakes.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin liners and set it aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the butter a sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time making sure to beat them well after each then mix in the vanilla extract.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt then, with the mixer on low speed alternately add the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin filling each 3/4 of the way and bake them for 18 – 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer them to a cooling rack and allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes before you frost and decorate them.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Source: Adapted from Piece of Cake’s White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

1 250g pkg cream cheese, room temperature
4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 – 5 drops blue food colouring (optional)

With an electric mixer blend together the cream cheese and powdered sugar on low speed at first then medium speed until it’s light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate, vanilla and food colouring and mix it until it’s just combined.

Refrigerate the frosting until you’re ready to use it. Once the cupcakes are cooled spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice and frost away. Sprinkle the jelly beans on top and enjoy!

Chocolate Cubed.


There’s something to be said about chocolate. But triple chocolate? That leaves me speechless. We need to invent some new words or something.

Supercalafra-delicious. Expialid-ohyeah.

That works, but it’s still lacking somehow. They’re just stupid delicious people. Trust me.

Funny how the English language tends to fall flat like that sometimes. It just fails to describe what you actually feel. It’s times like that I just stand there with my mouth hanging open. All the better to shove cookies into it my dear. Or I just gesture wildly with my hands while making tortured squealing noises.

I mean you’re not going to refer to the fall colours as pretty. That just doesn’t cut it. You’re not going to bite into a fresh juicy peach and call it tasty. It’s not even close. You’re not going to inhale a lungful of summer breeze scented with heat and wildflowers then say it’s good. You get the picture.

Chocolate cubed. Delicious to the power of three. So it’s ok to eat them three at a time right?

Triple Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats’ Ultimate Triple Chocolate Cookies.

11 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
6 tbsp unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk chocolate chunks
1 cup white chocolate chunks

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In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over simmering water melt the chocolate and butter slowly. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat the eggs and sugar until they’re thick then stir in the chocolate mixture. In a small bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder then add it to the chocolate mixture and combine. Fold in both the chocolate chunks with a spatula.

Divide the dough onto 2 large sheets of plastic wrap and form it into 2 logs both 9 inches long. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or overnight if you’d prefer.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and set then aside.

Once it’s firm enough unwrap the dough and slice off the cookies each a 1/2 inch thick. Bake them for 10 – 12 minutes until the tops are shiny and the insides are soft. Transfer them to a cooling rack and enjoy!

Got The Blues.


I baked you a cake. A Blueberry Boy Bait Bundt Cake with Lemon Blueberry Glaze. Try to say that ten times fast.

I love blueberries not just for their adorable smallness, their violet blue hue and explosion of sweetness. Blueberries also hold a special place in my heart right there next to jars of buttons, kittens and antique brooches.

I have fond memories of picking giant, juicy wild blueberries when I was a kid camping in Algonquin Park with my family. We spent every summer there until I was eleven. It’s where I learned to swim in Lake of Two Rivers. It’s where I learned to draw in the sand of the warm beaches. It’s where I distinctly recall drinking orange juice so cold every morning that you could feel it going down into your stomach. It’s where I fell in love with fresh blueberry pancakes and bumbleberry pies.

Granted this cake is made with frozen blueberries, but still full of lots of blueberry goodness. Next time, fresh blueberries. Promise.



Blueberry Boy Bait Bundt Cake

Source: Adapted from Piece of Cake’s Blueberry Boy Bait

2 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup blueberries

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Butter and flour a regular sized bundt pan and set it aside.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the butter and both sugars until it’s light, fluffy and lighter in colour. Reduce the speed and add the eggs one at a time then mix them until they’re incorporated, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the dry ingredients and milk gradually, alternating between half the flour mixture and half the milk then stir until it’s smooth.

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If, like mine, your blueberries are frozen then toss them in 1/2 tsp of flour to avoid staining the batter, but if they’re fresh then throw them in. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter making sure not to over mix them.

Pour the batter evenly into your prepared bundt pan and smooth it down. Bake it for about 45 – 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool a few minutes in the pan before you flip it over onto a cooling rack. Let it cool for at least 10 – 15 minutes before applying the glaze.

Lemon Blueberry Glaze

Source: My own imagination.

1/4 cup blueberries, thawed
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp milk

In a medium sized bowl mash the blueberries to release their juices and remove most of the big skins. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and milk then mix in the powdered sugar with a whisk until it’s smooth. Add more milk if tit’s too thick or more powdered sugar if it’s too thin. I ran out of powdered sugar so my glaze turned out a little thinner than I wanted but it was still yummy.

Spoon the glaze over top of your cooled cake and let it drip down the sides Enjoy!

Beater Licking Good.

One of the happiest childhood memories that I have is licking the beaters whenever I helped my Mom in the kitchen. Whether it was cookie dough or brownie batter or icing, licking the beaters was always the best part about baking at that young age. It’s that little preview of the treat you’re helping to create, that little something extra that seems like it shouldn’t be allowed but it is.

I also have a less than happy childhood memory associated with the beaters. When I was a kid I had long curly brown hair that I would always get compliments on. I’m sure you can see where this is going. Long hair + beaters = bad news. So this one time when I was helping my Mom with the baking I got a little too close for comfort and a piece of my hair zipped right into the running beaters and yanked out. Ouch. It wasn’t much but it still hurt. Needless to say we didn’t eat that batch of cookies and from then on I was to tie my hair back when helping in the kitchen. But I did get to eat some Soda-Licious gummy fruit snacks to ease the pain and dry my tears. That was never allowed at home. Fruit snacks were strictly for school lunches and nothing else, though I did attempt to sneak them whenever I could.

The reason for all this nostalgia about beaters is yet to come. As an adult I don’t normally lick the beaters anymore. I tend to just throw them in the sink and my inner child always fights to get free and save the smidgen of wasted batter still clinging to them. There are times though when licking the beaters is absolutely necessary like with this White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. I stood there in my kitchen and licked clean the spatula, the scraped bowl and the mixing paddle. I couldn’t help myself. My inner child made me do it. My electric beaters might have transformed into a Kitchen Aid Mixer paddle attachment, but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to lick it.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

Source: Adapted from Piece of Cake’s Strawberry Cupcakes.

2 1/4 cup cake flour (or substitute)
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup strawberry puree
4 egg whites
1/4 cup milk
Juice from 2 lemons for syrup
1/4 cup powdered sugar for syrup

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners and set them aside.

Stir together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt either with a whisk or with a stand mixer on stir speed. Add the butter and mix on low speed until it’s well blended and resembles course crumbs. Add the strawberry puree then mix on low speed then increase the speed to medium and beat it for 2 – 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.

In a large bowl whisk together the egg whites and milk then, with the mixer running, add it to the batter gradually in 2 or 3 additions making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.


Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake them for 20 – 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. While they’re baking, make the lemonade syrup by stirring together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until there are no lumps. Cool the cupcakes on cooling racks for 5 – 10 minutes then poke holes in them with a fork. Spoon the lemonade syrup over each one, making sure it soaks into the holes instead of just rolling off.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Source: Adapted from Piece of Cake’s White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

1 250g pkg cream cheese, room temperature
4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

With an electric mixer blend together the cream cheese and powdered sugar on low speed at first then medium speed until it’s light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla and mix it until it’s just combined.

Refrigerate the frosting until you’re ready to use it. Once the cupcakes are cooled spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice and frost away. Enjoy!

Lost and Found.

I lost my 3/4 measuring cup along with my mind. I frantically tore the kitchen apart searching for it. The measuring cup, that is. Although, had I lost my mind, I would probably search the kitchen for it as well since that’s where it usually resides.

The thought of having to use the 1/4 measuring cup three times to measure one ingredient was unacceptable. It had to be found at any and all costs.

So there I was yanking open every drawer and pushing aside every utensil. I checked the dishwasher and even peered into the bottom to see if it had fallen off a shelf. I urgently searched every cupboard and even the pantry. I thoroughly inspected the fridge to no avail. I looked in the microwave twice. Don’t ask me why.

In wandered Lee, inquiring sweetly about my unabashed cursing and incessant rummaging. “What did you last use it for?” he asked while helpfully digging through the cupboards.

I paused a moment and replied hurriedly, “I measured sugar for those meringue candies.”

My eyes widened as he calmly pulled out the large tupperware container we keep the granulated sugar in, the 3/4 measuring cup tapping obviously on the partially opaque plastic side. “Oh my god!”

Sometimes you need a second opinion.

I love you honey. Where would I be without you?

So, with my trusty 3/4 measuring cup in hand and my handy boyfriend at my side I made White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies. Both the name and the taste is a mouthful. I’ll never say no to a mouthful of cookie.

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies
Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Source: Adapted from Epicurious’ White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies.

3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chunks
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup macadamia nuts, rough chopped and toasted

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Preheat the oven to 350 and position a rack in the center. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the butter until it’s light and fluffy. Add both the sugars and mix until it’s blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and mix it until it’s just incorporated. Using a spatula fold in the white chocolate, cranberries and macadamia nuts.

Scoop about 2 tbsp of dough for each cookie onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake them for about 10 – 15 minutes until the edges turn light golden brown. Let them cool on a cooling rack and then enjoy!

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream.

Have you ever been personally judged by your ice cream choice? You probably have. You know how it is. Vanilla is safe, innocent, naive, uncomplicated and unimaginative. Chocolate is daring, adventurous, mysterious, spontaneous and creative. You might have had someone look at you funny when you order a vanilla milkshake or give you a wink when you get a chocolate sundae.

Just as the variety of ice cream flavours has broadened since, oh I don’t know, the 1940’s, we are realizing that there aren’t a finite number of personalities. People aren’t either a vanilla or a chocolate. They can be rocky road, neopolitan, chocolate chip cookie dough, raspberry sorbet, or even chunky monkey if they please. My favourite ice cream is Cherry Garcia. Does that mean I’m a combination of innocent and adventurous? I’m both daring and safe? Unimaginative and creative? What does the cherry part mean then? Sounds fun to me, whatever it is.

The lesson here is that you can’t judge a person by their ice cream choices. There are millions of ice cream flavours and varieties just like there are millions of different personalities and preferences. Just because my favourite is Cherry Garcia doesn’t mean that that’s what I eat day and night, although I kind of wish I did. I also like lemon gelato, mint chocolate, rainbow sherbet, triple chocolate and countless others. Flavours change. Moods change. People change.

Why am I talking so much about ice cream, you ask? Because these delicious vanilla and chocolate Meringue Candies remind me of that freeze dried ice cream like the stuff astronauts chow down on in space. Have you ever had that? They sell it mostly in science center or museum gift stores so it’s hard to come by. It tastes exactly like real ice cream except without the wetness or the cold. Sounds weird but, trust me, it’s super good. It melts in your mouth literally like these things do and tastes much the same. If, like most of us, you are intrigued by this space ice cream idea and you lack the means to dehydrate your own ice cream, but you have three eggs and a bit of sugar, this is the treat for you.

Because in space no one can hear you (ice) scream.

Meringue Candies

Source: Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Spring Easter Meringues.

3 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cocoa powder
drops of red food colouring are optional

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Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and position two racks towards the middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and tape them down with a bit of masking tape. Prepare two pastry bags with the tips of your choice and set them aside.

Combine the eggs whites and sugar in a double boiler or a heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Gently whisk them until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch for about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove them from the heat and, using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat it on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Divide the meringue between two bowls and add the vanilla and food colouring to one and cocoa powder to the other. Fold each gently until they are smoothly combined. Fill each of your pastry bags with separate flavours and pipe the candy shapes onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake them for about 2 hours or until the meringues are crisp but not browned. Turn the oven off and allow them to cool inside then transfer them to an airtight container for storage. Enjoy!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Cherry!


I have a habit. The bad kind. Early in the morning I browse through the magical land of food blogs before I’ve even eaten breakfast. I would not recommend this. It’s like grocery shopping on an empty stomach.

I have to make this.

And that.

Ooohh this looks good.

I could eat a whole vat of that.

A couple minutes in and my stomach starts protesting rather loudly. I don’t blame it. All the teasing sugar, butter, fruit and chocolate is enough to drive anyone crazy. If I were a little more insane you might find me frantically licking my lap top screen, urgently seeking out some semblance of flavour besides pixels and dust. Alas I do have that important social skill called composure on my good days. It serves me well.

So when I wandered onto my blog buddy, Kristan’s post on Crumb Coffee Cake I knew what my stomach was really trying to say. Yes I can translate those uncertain groans and gurgles. Bake it. Bake it now!

So I did, but if you’re wondering if I had it for breakfast that would be a no. Cherry Crumb Coffee Cake for lunch.



Cherry Crumb Coffee Cake

Source: Adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen’s Crumb Coffee Cake.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup thick cherry jam

2 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract

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Preheat the oven to 350 and position a rack in the middle. Grease a 9 x 13 pan generously and set it aside.

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat between additions then mix in the vanilla and sour cream.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together he flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder then add it to the butter and sour cream mixture, making sure to mix it until evenly combined.

For the crumbs, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the vanilla and almond extracts to the melted butter then pour it over the flour mixture and mix until all the butter is absorbed and it resembles course crumbs.

Pour the batter into the greased baking pan. Drop spoonfuls of cherry jam onto the batter then run a knife through it to distribute the jam evenly through the cake. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top until the batter is completely covered. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool it on a wire rack and enjoy!

My New Favourite Thing.


I’ve just discovered browned butter.

Oh. My. God.

Why haven’t I been browning butter all along? Seriously. I’ve been missing out. I think I’m a little ashamed of myself actually. I’m going to vow to make everything with browned butter from now on. It’s my new favourite thing.

If you haven’t grasped what I’m so subtly hinting at here, browned butter is freaking amazing! You must try this. And fast. For the good of mankind. Drink it, I don’t care. I could live off the smell alone. Do you like caramel corn? Yeah it’s like that. Just like that. Then mix that with the smell of toasted hazelnuts and try not to die of sensory rapture.

For those of you unsure about how to introduce this new incredible flavour to your mouth, here’s a little suggestion: Hazelnut Brown Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filling and Chocolate Buttercream. Yes. That’s the stuff.

Hazelnut Brown Butter Cupcakes
Makes 14 cupcakes.

Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake.

1 heaping cup hazelnuts, blanched (plus 1/2 cup for garnish)
1 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup flour
6 large egg whites (5 extra large)
3 tbsp granulated sugar

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line a muffin tin with muffin cups and then set it aside.

Spread your hazelnuts evenly on a baking sheet and toast them for about 7 – 10 minutes or until the kitchen fills with that intoxicating nutty scent.

In a medium sauce pan add the butter and vanilla then cook it on medium heat for about 6 – 8 minutes until the foam subsides, the butter turns brown and you smell that delicious caramel scent. Remove it from the heat allow it to cool.

Finely grind the hazelnuts then add them to the powdered sugar and flour. She suggests to grind all three in a food processor, but since I lack one of those I improvised with a Magic Bullet and a fork to crush the chunky bits of hazelnuts that stick to the flour and powdered sugar.

Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites and granulated sugar on high for about 4 – 5 minutes until stiff peaks form. Alternate folding in the dry ingredients and the brown butter in thirds until the mixture is smooth.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake them for 15 – 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack and let them sit for at least 10 minutes before filling and frosting.

Chocolate Ganache

Source: Joy of Baking’s Ganache Recipe.

8 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Note: I would suggest making the Ganache while the cupcakes are in the oven to allow it enough time to set in the refrigerator as they are cooling.

Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it aside. In a medium sauce pan melt the butter and whipping cream on medium heat. Bring it to just a boil and then immediately transfer the mixture to the chocolate bowl. Let it sit for five minutes then stir it with a whisk until the chocolate melts smoothly. Refrigerate it for at least half an hour to thicken until you’re ready to use it.

Chocolate Buttercream

Source: Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Buttercream.

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites
1 3/8 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Note: Make the Buttercream when you’re ready to use it since refrigerating it and allowing it to warm to room temperature is a little annoying, but you could make it ahead of time if you’d prefer.

In a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water combine the egg whites and sugar. Whisk them for about 3 minutes until they’re hot and the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove it from the heat and with an electric mixer with the whisk attachment beat it at high speed for about 7 – 10 minutes until it’s cooled.

On medium high speed add the butter 1 – 2 tbsp at a time and mix until each is incorporated then beat in the chocolate.

Assembling:

Once the cupcakes are fully cooled cut a circle out of the top of each cupcake with a sharp knife. Shear off the inner cake from the cylinder you just cut out to make room for the Chocolate Ganache filling. Spoon or pipe the Ganache into each void and return the little cake hat back on top. Pipe on the Chocolate Buttercream then sprinkle the top with chopped toasted hazelnuts and enjoy!

How Not to Waste a Dozen Eggs.


I danced in my kitchen today. Have you ever done that? I highly recommend it. It’s quite liberating.

I’ve actually done a great many things in the kitchen.

I’ve cried.
I’ve screamed.
I’ve drawn blood.
I’ve broken stuff.
I’ve burned myself.
I’ve threatened food.

Seriously, I wish I were kidding. You know, the usual.

But today, today was different. Today was the day I mastered a Martha Stewart recipe for the very first time, turned up the volume on Metric and danced my heart out. I also may or may not have screamed “I’m Martha Stewart!” Ok yeah, I did. You’ll understand when you scroll down. Trust me. If you have five lemons and a dozen eggs you need to make this. Now.

Lemon Curd

Source: Martha Stewart’s Lemon Curd.

8 egg yolks
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp lemon juice (2 large lemons)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
10 tbsp unsalted butter

You should make the lemon curd first since it needs time to set in the refrigerator.

In a small sauce pan combine the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar with a whisk. Cook it over medium high heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 8 – 10 minutes until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and registers 160 degrees on a thermometer. I used a meat thermometer, hey it works.

Remove the sauce pan from the heat and add the salt and butter, one tbsp at a time and stirring until it’s smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a medium sized bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the Lemon Curd so as to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate it for at least an hour before using it to allow it to set.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

Source: Martha Stewart’s Lemon Meringue Cupcakes.

3 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
Zest of 3 lemons (3 tbsp)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

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Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and position a rack in the middle. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners then set them aside.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate larger bowl with an electric mixer on medium high speed cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time mixing until it’s smooth after each one and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the zest and vanilla then add the flour mixture in three batches alternating between the buttermilk and lemon juice.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins until about 3/4 filled then bake them for about 25 minutes until the tops are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a cooling rack and allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes before you cut a circle out of the top of each cupcake with a sharp knife. Shear off the inner cake from the cylinder you just cut out to make room for the Lemon Curd filling. Spoon or pipe the Lemon Curd into each void and return the little cake hat back on top.



Meringue

Source: Adapted from Anna Olson’s Lemon Meringue Pie.

5 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp corn starch

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer whip the egg whites with cream of tartar until it’s foamy. While you’re whipping gradually add the sugar and beat on one speed lower than maximum until the whites hold a stiff peak. Whisk in corn starch and spoon or pipe into the filled cupcakes.

Bake for 4 – 6 minutes until the meringue turns golden brown. Serve right away. Like you needed a reason right?

These are the fanciest, yummiest prettiest cupcakes I have ever made. Enjoy!

And the Winner Is…


Drum roll please….



Diane!

You are the proud new owner of a generous stack of Cute as a Button Sugar Cookies! I guess I’m sending them to Mexico. I don’t think my cookies have ever been on such a long journey before. I hope you like them!

And for the rest of you that were unlucky enough not to win, here’s the recipe so you can make your own.

Cute as a Button Sugar Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Source: Memorized from high school foods class.

2 1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

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Preheat the oven to 350 and position a rack in the center. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them with cooking spray then set them aside.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer in a large bowl whip the shortening and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat it well. Gradually combine the dry ingredients and mix until it’s smooth.

Now the fun part.

Separate the dough into two even pieces and wrap the one you’re not using in plastic wrap. With a rolling pin roll one out one at a time on a lightly floured surface. Using a medium sized round cookie cutter cut out the cookies. Place them on the prepared baking sheets and lightly press the flat bottom of a sugared glass into each cookie. Make sure not to squish them, just get the sugar to stick to the surface of the cookies. Using a slightly smaller round cookie cutter press an edge into the cookie to act as the inner ring of the button. Then take a medium sized straw and poke four symmetrical holes into the middle to act as the button holes.

Bake them for 7 – 10 minutes until lightly golden brown on the edges. Transfer them to a cooling rack and feel free to string ribbon through the holes and make a unique gift for someone special. Enjoy!