Spring is in the air, I just feel it! The days are gradually getting longer and I am itching to start planting my garden. Unfortunately, I still have a couple of months for that to happen but it’s getting closer day by day.
When I think spring, I think of citrus flavors and scents. You know, that clean and refreshing aroma and taste! Lemons are pretty to look at arranged in a large bowl on your kitchen table; the scent is uplifting, and the taste will delight your taste buds.
I suggest making a batch this weekend!
Ingredients for batter:
1 cup organic unbleached all-purpose flour ½ cup organic pure cane sugar 1 T organic lemon rind 1 T organic poppy seeds ½ t baking soda 1 t organic and vegan pure vanilla extract 2 T organic lemon juice ½ cup organic coconut milk ¼ cup organic coconut oil, melted
Ingredients for filling:
2 cups organic powdered sugar ½ cup vegan butter 5 T organic lemon juice
Method for batter:
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Lightly grease one whoopie pie pan, set-aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, lemon rind, poppy seeds, and baking soda. Mix in the extract, lemon juice, coconut milk, and the coconut oil. Batter should be smooth and slightly thick.
Fill each whoopie well with 1 ½ tablespoons of batter. The batter should spread evenly into the well; if not, lightly tap the pan on the counter to distribute batter.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in the pan. Remove and place on a wire rack to fully cool.
In the meantime, make the filling.
Method for filling:
Cream the powdered sugar and butter together using a stand mixer or a hand-held mixer. Add the lemon juice and continue to beat until you have a smooth consistency.
Spread a heaping tablespoon of filling on the flat side of one of the whoopie cakes. Then top with the domed side of another whoopee cake.
STUFF 1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 ¾ sticks (7 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar ½ cup light brown sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup granola (or other cereal) ½ cup crushed salted pretzel pieces (or other salty snack food) 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped chocolate candies, or a small bar of good dark chocolate, chopped into chunks ½ cup chopped pecans or other nuts, optional*
STEPS Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
In another bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium-low speed until just combined, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute longer. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl again.
(For this step you can use a wooden spoon or your mixer on slow speed.) Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add granola, pretzels, chocolate and nuts, and mix until well incorporated, ensuring that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed. Restrain yourself from eating the raw cookie dough.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Scoop dough into balls, each about 1 ½ tablespoons, then roll between palms into balls. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 ½ inches apart, 8-12 per sheet. Freeze at least 20 minutes, or refrigerate at least one hour before baking. (They will still spread a lot.)
Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are deep golden brown, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Let cool completely before gently moving cookies to wire rack. They will be fragile, especially on the edges.
NOTES If you don’t use nuts, you may want to add more cereal, snacks or chocolate to compensate.
You may want to add a little cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, or whatever you fancy. We didn’t because we wanted the taste of the granola to come through. These are meant to be pantry cookies – feel free to get creative!
Add some citrus to satisfy your sweet tooth! These blondies are studded with white chocolate and topped with a creamy, sweet red grapefruit frosting.
TIME TO TABLE: 10 minutes prep, 25 minutes baking.
INGREDIENTS: Blondies ½ cup unsalted butter, melted 2/3 cup light brown sugar 1 large egg ¼ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour ½ cup white chocolate chips 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Frosting ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened 2 cups confectioner’s sugar 2 ½ tablespoons juice from a freshly squeeze Paramount Citrus red grapefruit Zest of 1 Paramount Citrus red grapefruit Pinch of salt
PREPARATION 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray.
2. To make the blondies, add the butter and sugar to a medium-size mixing bowl. Stir until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in the egg.
3. Add the baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir until all ingredients are combined
4. Add the flour and stir just until a batter forms. Fold in the white chocolate chips and walnuts.
5. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges of the blondies are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
6. For the frosting, add the butter and confectioner’s sugar to the bowl of a mixer. Mix on medium until the butter begins to combine with the sugar, about 90 seconds.
7. With mixer on medium, add the grapefruit, juice, grapefruit zest and salt. Turn the mixer to high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the frosting is smooth and creamy
8. Frost the blondies, cut into 9 squares and serve.
Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
These are the same cupcakes I made for my friend Jessica except they are now for my friend Allison’s birthday. The salted caramel frosting is nearly the same as before, but instead, a more thick caramel was made and the frosting is now much thicker, less pillowy, still delicious.
Ingredients for Brownies
1 1/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
¾- cup Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder
½ tbsp ground coffee or espresso powder
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks), softened at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature (it is crucial that you DO NOT use cold eggs)
3 tbsp sour cream
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients for Frosting
½ cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8 tbsp (1 stick) salted sweet cream butter
3 cups powdered sugar
Fleur de sel (French sea salt) or regular sea salt for garnishing
Directions for Brownies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin tin with liners and set aside
Sift your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, and salt) into a bowl and set aside
In a large bowl or standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream your butter until it is smooth.
Once your butter is creamed, add in your sour cream and vanilla extract. Add in both types of sugar and mix thoroughly, and slowly begin adding in your eggs one at a time. Be sure to scrape the sides of your bowl and incorporate ingredients with a flat spatula as you go along
Finally, add in your dry ingredients and mix until your batter comes together.
Your batter WILL be dark so don’t worry
Evenly divide your brownie batter into the muffin tin and bake for about 20-24 minutes. You want the inside of the brownies to still be slightly wet but not UNDERCOOKED. Using a toothpick or a dry piece of spaghetti, check your batter, it should come out with CRUMBS and a small amount of batter on it, not a fully wet batter
Remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes while you make the ganache.
*The brownies will puff up when they bake but once they cool, they will slightly deflate and create a little dip/pocket which is a perfect place to put your frosting
Directions for Frosting
In a sauce pan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat.
Once gently simmering, add in the brown sugar and butter, melting them together until most of the sugar crystals dissolve.
Bring to a gentle boil and allow to do so for about 30 seconds-1 minute.
Remove from heat, add in 1 tsp of sea salt, and let cool completely before making frosting.
In a standing mixer or large mixing bowl, add in the vanilla extract and slowly begin, ½ cup at a time, adding the powdered sugar.
(If you want to color your frosting, begin adding in your food coloring until your reach your desired color).
Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a flat spatula to continue incorporating the ingredients.
If you want a very thick frosting, add in a small amount (maybe 2 tbsp) of cornstarch or arrowroot starch and be sure to incorporate fully.
Once the frosting has thickened, give it a final stir and pipe onto your cooled cupcakes.
In our garden, we have a mini apple orchard, twelve apple trees that produce bushels full of apples. We grow Macintosh, Red Delicious, and Golden Delicious. We are not the only ones who enjoy the bountiful apples. Many apples fall from the trees everyday and our resident rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and birds take full advantage of the fallen fruit.
I love walking out to my orchard to pick apples, and then shortly turning them into scrumptious pies. Now what should I do with the hundreds more that will soon be ready to pick?
Ingredients for dough:
Yields enough dough for 4 ramekins
2 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour ½ cup organic pure cane sugar 1 t sea salt ½ cup vegan shortening 3-4 T ice cold water
In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, and sea salt. Using a large fork, cut in the shortening, making sure to leave pea size bits of shortening. Add 3 T of ice water and knead until a dough forms; add the additional 1 T or cold ice water if needed.
Shape dough into a large disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
While dough is chilling start making the filling.
Ingredients for filling:
6 organic apples, seeded and diced. ½ cup plus 1 T organic pure cane sugar 2 t organic pumpkin pie spice 1 t organic cinnamon Juice of 1 organic lemon ¼ t sea salt 1 T vegan butter, melted
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the apples, sugar, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, sea salt, and lemon juice.
Evenly distribute the apple mixture into each ramekin. It may look like a lot of filling but the apples will bake down.
Method for assembly:
Roll out chilled dough on a slightly floured cutting board. Cut out 4 circles that are slightly larger than your ramekins. I did this free hand with a sharp knife.
Place dough rounds on top of each apple filled ramekin, using a fork crimp the edges all the way around.
Brush the crust with the melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar.
Place ramekins onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the the crust turns a golden brown.
Serve warm, or let cool slightly and top with vegan ice cream.
2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
¾ cup lukewarm water
Powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar
1. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Work in the cold butter, using mixer or hands.
2. Stir in the warm water to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
3. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll flat to 5" pieces. If you’d like them bigger, separate into 4 pieces instead.
4. Heat vegetable oil to 375°F in an electric frying pan, or in a pan. 2 cups of vegetable oil should be enough in a pan.
5. Pick up flattened dough, and carefully lower it into the pan. Let it cook for 60 seconds (it’ll puff up on top and become light brown on the bottom), then flip it over and cook until light brown on the other side, about 60 seconds.
6. Remove from oil. You should probably put a napkin on the plate to soak up any oil.
7. Put melted butter on top of fried dough and sprinkle the sugars, or any toppings you’d like
8. Enjoy :)