Meyer Lemon Scones

I recently purchased 2 bags of Meyer Lemons to make a pie which I will be sharing with you in a couple of weeks in honor of Pi Day. I was pretty sure I only needed 1 bag of the lemons since each bag had about 6 each, but, I wanted to be sure I had enough in case of any mishaps and I figured I could always make something else with the extra ones. Initially I was thinking of making muffins, which I may still do, but quickly realized that most lemon muffins include poppy seeds, which I didn’t have. Then I came across a recipe for scones and for some reason I always thought that scones were difficult and time-consuming to make but the recipe I opted to try was the complete opposite.

Unfortunately I did not take any pictures of the prep work that went into making these scones. I was cooking/baking about three or four other things so my counter was a mess and I was trying to make sure I didn’t overcook or burn anything. What was nice about this recipe was that it only required two bowls to mix all of the ingredients and it came together quickly. After stirring together my dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder) I added in diced cold butter. Here’s a tip, if you want to ensure your butter is cold enough and incorporates into the flour well, freeze it for a few minutes and instead of dicing it grate it in to the flour mixture. I then used a combination of a pastry cutter and my hands (actually just one hand, I ended up with a pretty bad cut on one of my fingers when I was cleaning lemon zest off my Microplane Grater) to work the butter in and get the mixture into the consistency of small peas. In a measuring cup I whisked together the heavy cream, an egg yolk and lemon zest and then added this to the flour mixture and stirred it until the dough formed. I then transferred the dough to a baking sheet, formed it into a circle and then cut it using a pizza cutter into four equal pieces. I separated the pieces so they weren’t touching and then brushed them with heavy cream. While the scones were baking, I whisked together a glaze of confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream and lemon juice to pour on them right out of the oven. I was never one to add glazes to my baked goods, I always thought doing so would make them super sweet. But, I have come around and realized that all glazes are not super sweet and sometimes can add another level of flavor to things. Like the cardamom glaze on the Rum-Raisin Apple Bundt Cake I posted a few months ago… YUM!

These scones were delicious and made for a nice breakfast treat. Maybe next time I will add some blueberries. Blueberries and lemon go together like peanut butter and chocolate!

Meyer Lemon Scones

Ingredients:

For the Scones:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold and diced

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing

1 large egg yolk

Zest of 2 Meyer lemons

 

For the Glaze:

1/3 cup Confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon heavy cream

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add the butter and using your preferred method (knives, pastry cutter or hands) work the butter into the flour mixture until the consistency is smaller than peas.

In a measuring cup whisk together the heavy cream, egg yolk and lemon zest and then pour over the flour mixture. Stir the mixture until a shaggy dough forms and everything is incorporated, being careful not to overmix the dough.

Transfer the dough to a small cookie sheet and form it into a circle.

Using a knife (or pizza cutter) cut the circle into 4 equal pieces. Separate the pieces a bit so they are not touching and brush the pieces with heavy cream.

Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and set aside.

Bake the scones for 13-15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the edges of the scones are beginning to brown.

Drizzle the glaze on the scones immediately after removing them from the oven. Enjoy warm.

To store, place the scones in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.

Recipe from Dessert for Two

Mushroom Quiche

I’ve had two frozen deep dish pie crusts in my freezer since a little before Thanksgiving. I purchased an extra pack just in case of a mishap while baking my pies for the holiday. Thankfully I didn’t need them. And then they sort of got buried in my freezer to make room for the frozen cookie dough I had stored in there for my Christmas baking. Once all the cookies had been baked though the crusts reemerged and I decided it was time to make something with them, something other than pie. And then I remembered I had photocopied a Mushroom & Sausage Quiche recipe from a cookbook I ultimately got rid of (I had one too many and needed to purge them). Which I then I decided to omit the sausage from and increase the amount of mushrooms and ended up with the Mushroom Quiche recipe below. Which I am happy to say will be made again and possibly with some baby spinach next time.

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Mushroom Quiche

Ingredients:

1 frozen deep dish 9-inch pie crust

1 tablespoon butter

8 oz. sliced white mushrooms

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 cup cottage cheese, 2% or 4% milkfat

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon hot sauce

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 8 oz. package shredded cheddar cheese

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the pie crust on a baking a sheet.

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and chopped onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until both are tender.

Place the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, flour, parmesan cheese and hot sauce in a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth. Scraping the bowl as necessary.

Transfer the mushrooms and onions to a large bowl and add in the egg mixture and cheddar cheese, stir to combine. Spoon the mixture into the pie crust (you may have some leftover). Cover the edges of the pie crust with strips of aluminum foil to prevent the crust from burning.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 – 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center is set. A toothpick or cake tester inserted in the middle should come out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from a Mushroom & Sausage Quiche recipe found in the cookbook Paula Deen & Friends

 

Slow Cooker Sunday: Hawaiian Barbecue Ribs

I can’t remember the last time I had or made ribs. I am pretty sure it’s been over a year, maybe even two. I wasn’t even sure if I still liked them to be honest. Then I came across a recipe for baby back ribs in a slow cooker and they sounded simple (and tasty) enough that I decided it was time to have ribs again.

While the recipe called for 2 small racks of baby back ribs about 2 lbs. a piece, I ended up getting one rack that was 4 lbs. I divided this rack into 4 pieces and then seasoned it with salt and pepper then rubbed them with vegetable oil and sprinkled chile powder over the ribs. Rubbing the chile powder onto the ribs.

In a measuring cup I whisked together teriyaki barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic and ginger and then poured this into the insert of my slow cooker. I then added in the seasoned ribs and coated them in the marinade. To make sure each rack was coated, I added each rack one-at-a-time to coat.

I covered my slow cooker and set it to cook on low for 7 hours. Well, I don’t own a digital slow cooker, so, I actually set it to cook for 8 hours. And intended to take the ribs out at 7 hours, but, I put them to cook overnight so by the time I woke up my slow cooker had already switched to the warm setting… Oops! It was all good though, the meat was thoroughly cooked and thankfully still intact.

I transferred the ribs to a foil-lined baking sheet bone-side down. In a small bowl I whisked together some of the cooking liquid from my slow cooker, teriyaki barbecue sauce, pineapple preserves and ketchup to make a marinade. I then generously brushed it on the ribs.

I then broiled them on high for about 5 minutes, until the sauce was sticky and the ribs were charred in spots.

I’ll definitely be making these again, but, I think next time I will make them with Honey Barbecue Sauce for a sweeter flavor.

 

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Barbecue Ribs

Ingredients:

Small Racks of Baby Back Ribs (1 4lb. rack cut into 4 pieces, or 2 2lb. racks cut in half)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons chile powder

2/3 cup teriyaki-style barbecue sauce*, divided

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup pineapple preserves

2 tablespoons ketchup

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

*I used Sweet Baby Ray’s

Directions:

Season the ribs with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Rub the ribs with the olive oil and then sprinkle with the chile powder. Rub the chile powder onto the ribs so it will adhere.

In a measuring cup whisk together 1/3 cup of the barbecue sauce, the vinegar, ginger and garlic and then pour into a slow cooker. Add the seasoned ribs and turn to coat in the marinade. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, until the ribs are tender.

Preheat the broiler. Transfer the ribs to a foil-lined baking sheet bone side down. Remove 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker and combine with the remaining 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce and the pineapple preserves and ketchup in a small bowl. Whisk together.

Brush the sauce generously on the ribs. Broil until the sauce is stick and the ribs are charred in spots, 3 to 5 minutes.

Recipe from Food Network

Hidden Heart Cake

Are you looking for something fun to bake for Valentine’s Day but are thinking that it’s too late? Well, this may just be the cake for you. All you need is 2 boxes of cake mix (I used white & chocolate), a loaf pan, a 2-inch heart cookie cutter and pink (or red) food coloring. While I used a white cake mix tinted pink for the hearts inside of a chocolate cake, you could try pink hearts inside of a white cake, red hearts inside of a white cake, red hearts inside of a yellow cake and so forth. It’s really up to you.

To begin, I prepped a box of white cake mix per the directions and then tinted it pink with a few drops of gel food coloring. I poured it into a loaf pan that I sprayed with baking spray and baked it in a 350 F oven for 40 minutes, the cake wasn’t quite done but was browning considerably along the top so I dropped the temperature to 325 F and baked it for another 10 minutes. I let the cake cool for about 20 minutes in the pan and then transferred it to a wire rack to cool completely.

After the cake cooled, I sliced it into approximately 1 inch slices. Some of the slices were a little thicker, some a little thinner. In the end, it didn’t matter.

Next, using a 2-inch heart cookie cutter I cut hearts from the slices of cake and set them aside. Those mini hearts were for a different baking project that turned out to be a fail… Oh well.

You will have a bunch of cake scraps left, I ended up snacking on a few pieces and then tossing the rest. If you make cake pops, or have been wanting to make cake pops, save these scraps for just that.

I then prepared the chocolate cake mix per the box directions. I spread about a 1/2 inch layer of the batter into the bottom of my loaf pan that I prepped with baking spray.

Next, I arranged the 2-inch hearts in a row down the middle of the pan, leaving a small space between the first and last heart and the pan, but, making sure the hearts in the middle were close together. This is why I said that if your slices aren’t exactly 1-inch thick it won’t matter. Once you line them together it will all be good.

I used a ladle to slowly pour the rest of the batter along the sides and on the top of the hearts. You don’t want to just pour the batter into the pan, this could disturb the hearts and you could end up with chocolate in between them. I did make sure that the hearts were completely covered with the batter. You don’t want a heart peeking out of the top of the cake… that would ruin the surprise.

I then baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 40 minutes. I inserted a cake tester and the inside was still a little underdone so I lowered the oven temperature to 325 F and baked it for an additional 10 minutes, similar to what I did with the pink cake. Once again, I let the cake cool for about 20 minutes in the pan and then removed it and let it completely cool on a wire rack.

Once it was cool it was time to slice and see if my hidden heart cake was a success (and it was)!

Pink Hot Chocolate

An all-natural Pink Hot Chocolate just in time for Valentine’s Day! How you may ask, well, instead of using red or pink food coloring to get the pink hue, you use a few tablespoons of beet juice. And before you cringe your face because beets are not your favorite vegetable or something you are willing to try once or again, just know that you will not be able to taste the beet flavor whatsoever. But, if you are still intrigued by the idea of making Pink Hot Chocolate for your Valentine this week (or for yourself) but are completely against the beet juice, I will give you a few options to get the pink color that might sound more appealing.

The base of this hot chocolate is white hot chocolate. You start off by bringing milk (I used whole milk) and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Then remove it from the heat and add in grated white chocolate and vanilla extract. Grating the chocolate allows it to melt easier and quicker. Once the chocolate has melted then stir in a few tablespoons of beet juice. But, if you are not inclined to use beet juice, you could substitute it with cherry juice or the juice from maraschino cherries. Just be aware that either of those options could make your hot chocolate a tad bit sweeter. Now, if none of those options work for you, you could tint the hot chocolate with a few drops of either pink or red food coloring. And finally, top the hot chocolate with a healthy topping of whipped cream and then sprinkle with cinnamon. YUM!

Pink Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

2 cups milk

Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ounces white chocolate, grated*

2 tablespoons beet juice**

Whipped cream, for topping

Cinnamon, for topping

 

*I used Baker’s White Chocolate

**substitute with cherry juice, maraschino cherry juice, food coloring

 

Directions:

In a small saucepan combine the milk and a pinch of the kosher salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Remove the saucepan from heat and add in the vanilla extract and grated chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has completely melted. Stir in the beet juice.

Diving among mugs and top with whipped cream and cinnamon.

 

Recipe from Real Simple

 

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken Enchilada Chili

When it comes to chili the possibilities are endless. I’ve posted quite a few on this blog, traditional, vegetarian, beef and today I am bringing you a chicken one. A Chicken Enchilada Chili that is easily made in a slow cooker. And not surprisingly it’s one of my favorites, set it in the slow cooker and forget it. Lately with these types of recipes I’ve been cooking the recipes overnight in my slow cooker. I am apprehensive to leave my slow cooker on if I’m not home but somehow I am okay with sleeping while it’s on. It’s the best though, I place all of the ingredients in around 12m and by 8am it’s done. I’m an early riser so this actually works out best for me.  My food is done in the morning and I can attend to other things during the day. Since I usually do this on a Saturday night my Sunday then consists of cleaning, laundry and all those other fun Sunday things to do.

One of the great things about this chili is that it gets better each day. I would suggest heating your leftovers on the stove as opposed to the microwave. Because of the cream cheese, which makes this chili super creamy, you may find that your chilled leftovers become quite thick and I personally think heating the chilled leftovers on the stove re-melts the cream cheese perfectly as opposed to the microwave. Either way, make sure to add some toppings before enjoying. I enjoyed mine with avocado and shredded cheddar and it was perfect! Squeeze some fresh lime juice to really bring out the flavors.

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Oh, one more thing. Per the directions it says to cook the chili on low for 6 to 8 hours until the chicken shreds easily, don’t worry about overcooking. As I said, I cooked this overnight and left it for the full 8 eight hours without checking it prior and my chicken was perfect for shredding by then and the rest of my ingredients hadn’t suffered because of the extra time in the slow cooker.

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Chili

Ingredients:

1 10 oz. can red enchilada sauce

1 14.5 oz. can of petite dice tomatoes with green chilies*

1 16 oz. can of chili beans in mild chili sauce**

1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz. can of corn, drained

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts

2 cups chicken broth or stock

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, at room temperature

Toppings: sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, avocado, lime, cilantro

 

*I used a can of Rotel

**Available from Bush’s beans

 

Directions:

In the insert of your slow cooker add the enchilada sauce, tomatoes, chili beans, black beans, corn and chicken. Add in the chicken broth (or stock) and the seasonings and give everything a good stir.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the chicken will shred easily.

Remove the chicken and shred using two forks. Set aside.

Cube the softened cream cheese and add to the slow cooker. Stir well and cover. Switch the temperature setting to high and let the chili sit for five minutes. Use a whisk to whisk the cream cheese to melt into the chili.

Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and cover. Continue cooking on high until the cream cheese has completely melted and then stir again.

Serve with your desired toppings.

Recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

YouTube Themed Cake

My blog started with an Elmo Cake for my niece’s birthday, and throughout the years there have been other character themed cakes, Minnie Mouse, Frozen, Trolls and last year’s Descendants. As you can see the themes aged as she did and by whatever was popular at the time. Well, fast forward 7 years and for her 9th birthday she requested a YouTube Cake. Initially she said she wanted the Cookies and Cream Cake I made a few months back (her younger sister will only eat Oreos in mini form thanks to that cake) but I guess she wasn’t ready to let go of a themed birthday cake just yet. Who knows what next year will bring, or what I will be making for my younger niece come June. I am thinking she’ll still want some sort of character.

Now, a YouTube cake sounded easy enough. It didn’t require any special decorations, the colors were simple (white, black and red) and I pretty much had all of the tools I needed to make it. But, there was one thing. While looking at some cakes on Pinterest and Instagram, I noticed that people opted to make their YouTube themed cakes round, but, I felt it really should be a square cake. Not that that was an issue, but then I wondered, how would I cover it in fondant? I sometimes have mishaps when covering round cakes (they seem to always tear) so I could only imagine that covering a square cake would be even more difficult. Especially trying to get the edges sharp. So, I thought, isn’t there a way I could panel the fondant. And of course a quick Google search assured me that yes, fondant paneling was possible and from the looks of it easier – I am actually thinking of trying the technique on the next round cake I make that needs to be covered in fondant. I decided to watch a few videos just to pick up a few tips and tricks. And I quickly learned that one of the keys to fondant paneling is to freeze the fondant for a few minutes after rolling and cutting it so it’s firm and easier to trim and place on the place.

I began by baking two 9-inch square chocolate cakes. After letting the cakes cool, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and left them on my kitchen counter. The following day I made a chocolate mousse filling for the cake and I took a major short-cut and used store bought chocolate frosting. I haven’t quite mastered making chocolate frosting myself. Anyone have a good foolproof recipe they can share? I leveled, filled and frosted the cake and then placed it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day it was time to cover the cake in fondant. Normally I use confectioners’ sugar to dust my rolling mat and pin, but, opted this time to use cornstarch and what I found was that the fondant didn’t get as soft. I began by cutting a square piece for the top of the cake. To leave room for error, I cut the fondant about a quarter of an inch larger than what I needed it to be. To place it on the cake, I matched it to one corner of the cake so all I would have to trim was two sides. Now, I didn’t place this piece in the freezer since I thought it would be easy to trim it since it was just lying flat on the cake, a mistake. While I was able to trim it, it would have been easier had it been frozen.

Next, I covered the sides of the cake. Before I started though, I decided which sides of the cake would be the front, back and sides. This is important as you cover the sides of the cake first before the front and back. Since the cake is a square, all of the sides were the same length and width. I rolled and cut two pieces for the sides and placed them in the freezer on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes I removed them and before placing them on the cake, I lightly brushed the cake with water so the fondant would adhere better. As I did with the top piece, I lined the fondant piece with one bottom corner of the cake and then used my fondant smoother to smooth (and stick) the fondant onto the cake. I then trimmed the fondant. I used a small knife that I sharpened. I think next time I will purchase an X-Acto knife to get a cleaner and closer cut. I repeated this three more times and was pretty happy with my end result. It wasn’t perfect, but, I was happy that I didn’t have any mishaps and that my fondant actually stuck to the cake and that I had clean edges and no fondant tears! I would have benefitted from trimming my cake prior to frosting it so it would have sharper and cleaners sides. Each time is a learning experience so I am sure next will be better.

Then it was time to make this square into a YouTube cake. I cut out letters and a triangle (for the play button) using white and black fondant. For the red pieces, I actually used a band aid cookie cutter I purchased to make a Doc McStuffins themed cake a few years back.

And to cover up the unfinished edges around the cake, I decided to put a black trim over it. To adhere all of these pieces I lightly brushed the back of them with a little water. And that was it. This cake was a hit with the Birthday girl and everyone who saw it!

This is the recipe I used for the chocolate cake. I have been using it for years now and haven’t had any issues or complaints. As for the chocolate mousse, I used the mousse recipe I made for the Spice Cupcakes and instead of using a box of pumpkin spice Jell-O mix I used chocolate.