Simple Lemon Meringue Pie Parfaits

Lemon Meringue Pie Parfaits

Lemon Meringue Pie Parfaits

Pssst. Remember me? I’ve been gone for a bit, but I’m back. I more or less took the Summer off because let’s be honest, you and I… who the heck wants to turn the oven on and do something like bake a loaf of bread, or make cookies or cupcakes, or things like that, when it’s 90 degrees outside? With my being primarily a baking blog, it made more sense to just rehash some delicious old stuff on my facebook page and wait out the heat. BUT… I couldn’t wait anymore. I missed all of you!! But I still can’t bring myself to turn on the oven, because Summer won’t take the %$#$%$%@ hint and go away. It’s 87 degrees outside as I type and our ancient, senile AC is whimpering trying to keep the house cool.

So, since I just HAD to come back (did I mention that I missed all of you!?), I played around with a nice cool, refreshing type of dessert. It uses mascarpone cheese and lemon curd as well as cream; three of my favorite ingredients. Add in a touch each of vanilla extract and lemon oil along with some crushed meringue cookies and there you have it (I also used some raspberries in here just because I wanted some color, but we’ll call that optional, if only because my brother has accused me of not being able to make a recipe with less than 12 ingredients :-P. This is so easy you could have your kids make it for a treat. It’s cool and refreshing, but don’t just relegate this to the hot months. I plan on enjoying this one this Winter, too. I made this in small glasses glasses, but you could also do these in tiny “shooter” glasses.

You know the drill… get to cookin’!

Simple Lemon Meringue Pie Parfaits

  • 8 ounce container of mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 2/3 cup good quality lemon curd (I used Trader Joes brand; it’s the closest to homemade I’ve found)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to firm peaks
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil or lemon extract
  • 1 container vanilla meringue cookies (I can’t say ounces, because they vary. Plan on using about 20 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, fold together the mascarpone, lemon curd and extracts until no streaks of white remain
  2. Carefully fold in the whipped cream; again until no streaks of white remain.
  3. Cover bowl and chill for about an hour.
  4. In small glasses, layer the lemon mixture, then a layer of coarsely crushed meringue cookies, then about 3 raspberries if you’re using them. Repeat the layers until you reach the top of the glass (small glasses will be about 2 layers).
  5. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with a layer of crushed meringue cookie and a raspberry or two.Β  Also, if you want the cookie to be a crisp layer, serve immediately after assembling, because they will soften up as these chill.

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Lemon Meringue Pie Parfaits

Lemon Meringue Pie Parfaits

 

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Revamped Morning Glory Muffins

Revamped Morning Glory Muffins

Revamped Morning Glory Muffins

It’s no secret that I don’t like carrots. I whine about it every time I post a recipe that uses carrots in it, I make mention of it on my personal page in facebook every time my husbands dares to want carrots with dinner, I moan when my youngest child eats carrots dipped in ketchup (don’t ask). Carrots are just…icky. They’re fibrous and hard to chew and don’t have a ton of flavor unless they are roasted (which is one of the few ways I willingly eat them). Did I mention that I think they’re icky.

Except when they aren’t.

These muffins are a definite case of they aren’t yucky. I mean, I know a bunch of you have already heard of Morning Glory Muffins. They’re pretty much a breakfast standard, and can be found in a bunch of home style cookbooks. But let’s keep one thing in mind, please.

This is me. I don’t do ANYTHING normally. That includes making these muffins. I wanted to ramp up the flavor a bit, add a bit more to make these interesting enough that even the kids wouldn’t scoff over having a muffin full of fruits and vegetables. I think I succeeded. These have all the nutrition of the original muffins, but with a blast of flavor that comes from a small amount of dark chocolate, some dried apricots and a fair amount of orange zest, along with some other minor changes I made. These aren’t the prettiest of muffins, since you have a boatload of fruits and veggies with just enough batter to bind them together, but darn, they taste good. I scarfed one down hot from the oven and it was heavenly. Moist, tender, with crunch from the toasted nuts and coconut as well as the carrots and the varied flavors of everything else in there, all finished with gooey chocolate.

You know the drill…. πŸ™‚

Revamped Morning Glory Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup raisins (make sure you use good ones, not dried shriveled ones)
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted*
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted*
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate (or dark chocolate chips)
  • 1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two 12 cup muffin tins with liners. Alternately, grease them well.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add in the carrots and orange zest and stir to combine.
  3. Dump in the raisins, coconut, pecans, apricots and dark chocolate. Stir well.
  4. Make a well in the center and dump in the oil, eggs, vanilla and crushed pineapple. Stir just until combined. Don’t overbeat or you’ll end up with tough muffins full of holes.
  5. Fill each muffin cup 2/3’s full of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees about 20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins are a golden brown color. Let rest in the tin for a bout 2 minutes, then use a butter knife or spoon to get them out to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  6. These are a great breakfast and/or an after school snack you can feel ok giving the kiddos. Drizzle with some honey and butter for a real treat!
  7. * To toast the coconut and nuts, simply place in a single layer in a baking pan in a 350 oven and let cook for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Watch carefully; both nuts and coconut can go from nicely browned to burnt very quickly.

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream 1

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream



I want Autumn! I want Autumn! I want Autumn!! *Falls on the floor in a raging temper tantrum, kicking and screaming*

Sorry. I’m fine now. But I really am about done with Summer. I’m tired of trying to keep up with the weeds in the yard. Ok, I got tired of it a few weeks ago and my flower area now looks like a mini forest. I’m pretty sure there are fairies and elves hiding down in there, having nightly parties with my now lost in the weeds ceramic froggie. I heard him ribbiting for help a few days ago, but I was afraid to venture in and look for him. Russ would have had to send in the national guard to find ME.

What does any of this have to do with brownie cupcakes? Not a thing. I just felt like whining and making all of you have to listen. It works for my six year old; why not for me, too?

These are quite tasty. They are yet one more incarnation of the brown butter brownies I first made back in early 2013 (please forgive the completely atrocious photo in that post!) and have used in various ways since then. They really are some of the best brownies around. They are very chocolatey (which I was skeptical of with just cocoa, but they are), rich, with a mild nutty back flavor from the brown butter. In THIS incarnation, they are made into little cupcakes and then covered with a creamy, tangy orange buttercream that perfectly complements the brownie. So simple to make these, yet they are good enough for more than just the kids school lunches. Though they are great for that, too.

You know the drill…. πŸ™‚

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream

  • Brownie Cupcakes-
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened powder (NOT drink mix)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange oil or orange extract (don’t use more here. The frosting is the orangey part. The little bit in here is just to tie it all together.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 large eggs, cold from the fridge
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • Orange Vanilla Buttercream-
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 2/12 cups powdered sugar
  1. Position oven rack in the bottom third of oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
  2. Place foil cupcake liners (you can use the paper ones, but the foil comes off the brownies so much easier) into the cups of a muffin tin. I got ten brownie cupcakes from this.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter isn’t foaming anymore and there are browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir often and keep an eye on this. It can go from lovely browned butter to a smelly burned mess in no time flat.
  4. Remove from the heat and immediately add in the cocoa, sugar, water, vanilla, orange oil and salt. Stir until well mixed.
  5. Let cool five minutes. Add the cold eggs to the hot mixture, one at a time, beating well (by hand) after each addition. When the mixture is thick and glossy, add in the flour. Beat for 60 or so strokes.
  6. Β Divide the batter evenly between the lined cupcake wells. Use about 1/4 cup for each. Bake at 325 until they a skewer inserted in the middle of one comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it; no loose batter and not completely clean, either. This will take from 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 3 minutes, then gently take each cupcake out and let it finish cooling on a rack.
  7. As they cool, make your buttercream, which is easy peasy. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, a cup at a time (I always start by hand so that I and my whole house don’t end up covered in the powdery sugar). Beat until fluffy, smooth and creamy. You want a nice thick pipeable/spreadable frosting. After adding two cups of the sugar, beat well at high speed for about a full five minutes. If it’s a bit too thick, just drizzle in a touch more orange juice; a bit too thin, just add that last 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
  8. Spread or pipe onto the cooled brownies and garnish as desired (I grated more zest over the tops)

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Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream

Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes With Tangy Orange Vanilla Buttercream

 

 

 

Lemon Scented Doughnuts With A Lemon Filling & A Lemon Vanilla Sugar Topping

Lemon Scented Doughnuts With Lemon Filling & A Lemon Vanilla Sugar Topping

Lemon Scented Doughnuts With Lemon Filling & A Lemon Vanilla Sugar Topping



After I made these, I was talking with a dear friend about deep frying, doughnuts and the lack of good doughnuts even in her neck of the woods; New York City. Now, of all places in the states, wouldn’t you expect the most well known city around to have good doughnuts? But according to her, nope, not really. Add in that she has a strange fear of deep frying and homemade doughnuts simply aren’t happening for her. Mind you, these are the first ones I’VE made since I made these delicious ones. But I still don’t have a deep frying phobia. I fry chicken…wait, I don’t deep fry that… I fry potatoes… wait, I tend to roast them… ok, so maybe I don’t deep fry but once a year or so myself.

These were totally worth the trouble though. The doughnut itself is only mildly sweet. The draw with it is the crispy outside and that tender, fluffy inside. It also has a light lemon flavor. But then, ahhh, but then, you have a filling of creamy lemon curd and after that, they are coated in a crunchy, divinely scented lemon vanilla sugar. You want these.

Obviously, these take a bit more time and effort than some of the things I post, like cookie bars or quick breads. But I have faith in you. You’ve got this.

Also, you will probably have some lemon sugar left. Do NOT toss it. You can use it in tea, baking, even as a sugar scrub if you add a bit of olive or coconut oil.

Lemon Scented Doughnuts With A Lemon Filling & A Lemon Vanilla Sugar Topping

  • Doughnuts-
  • 2 tablespoons water, about 115 degrees
  • 1 package (not a full strip) dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk, warmed to between 112 to 117 degrees
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3 egg yolks, room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (it doesn’t make it taste almondy; just is a complement to the lemon)
  • vegetable oil or some other neutral oil
  • Filling-
  • One batch of lemon curd (you may not use it all. You won’t mind that.) Your best bet is to make this a day ahead of time, so it has time to chill and finish thickening up
  • Topping-
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • zest from two large lemons (about 3 to 4 tablespoons)
  • beans scraped from 3 vanilla beans (if you have no vanilla bean, you can either omit this or carefully sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract over the batch of sugar, making sure to mix well)
  1. Make your dough first. Pour the yeast into a small bowl. Pour the two tablespoons warm water over it, stirring to combine. Let it sit until it is starting to bubble and foam, about five minutes. In a small In the bowl of a stand mixer (as I have said before, you can always do any yeast dough I post by hand with a heavy spoon or with a good hand mixer), combine the yeast mixture, 3 cups of the flour, butter, warm milk, egg yolks, sugar and flavorings. Use the dough hook on low speed to combine, scraping the bowl as needed, until you have a soft sticky dough, then turn the mixer up to 2. Add in more flour, a quarter cup at a time, until you have a tacky, only slightly sticky dough that has come together in a ball around the hook.
  2. Dump the dough into a oiled bowl, turning so both sides are oiled. Cover and let rise in the bowl until about doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. While the dough rises, make the sugar topping. In a medium bowl, simply combine the sugar, lemon zest and vanilla bean seeds (or extract). Stir well and let sit. When you use it, the mixture will have hardened some due to the moisture in the lemon zest. Just use your hands to stir it around.
  4. When the dough has risen, punch it down and then dump it out onto a lightly floured board or counter.Β  Roll it out into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out circles of desired size (I used a 2 inch diameter cutter) and lay them on a lightly floured cookie sheet. Let rise until slightly puffy, about 30 minutes.
  5. While they rise, pour about 2.5 inches of oil into a heavy duty pot (I used my dutch oven). Heat slowly to 350 degrees.Β  When the oil is ready, carefully drop two to four doughnut rounds (don’t crowd the pot; use good judgment based on the size of pot you used) into the oil. Let cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Watch your oil temp and adjust as needed. Too low and you have greasy doughnuts. Too high and the outside browns before the inside cooks.
  6. As they finish, transfer them to a rack set over a cookie sheet to cool.
  7. When cool, carefully roll each doughnut in the lemon sugar until coated then scoop some lemon curd into a pastry bag fitted with a simple hole style tip.Β  Push the tip into the middle of each doughnut and squeeze some lemon curd into the middle. Serve with extra lemon curd for dipping if you so desire… and believe me, you’ll desire.
  8. If you want them to be more thoroughly coated with the sugar mixture, roll them in the sugar while still slightly warm, and don’t fill with the lemon curd until they are cool. Then, when cool, roll them one more time in the sugar and fill with the lemon curd.
Lemon Scented Doughnuts With Lemon Filling & A Lemon Vanilla Sugar Topping

Lemon Scented Doughnuts With Lemon Filling & A Lemon Vanilla Sugar Topping

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I simply could NOT resist adding this one in here, too, hehehe

I simply could NOT resist adding this one in here, too, hehehe

Blueberry Grand Marnier Brown Butter Pound Cake

Blueberry Grand Marnier Brown Butter Pound Cake

Blueberry Grand Marnier Brown Butter Pound Cake

 

When I was ten, my mom and brother and sister and myself went to Alabama to visit my grandparents (Mommer and Popper) for a few days. I absolutely loved being there. It was way out in the country, a small wood frame house with no central air, no central heat (no heat at all actually), built I have no idea when. It had one small bathroom, two small bedrooms and an ancient kitchen with an old iron porcelain coated sink. I remember sleeping in the tiny hallway between the kitchen and one of the bedrooms on a blanket with my mom when I wasn’t staying over with my cousin Lori. The house was surrounded by woods and the blueberry bushes that Popper had planted. On the same patch of land was the trailer my Aunt Irene and my cousin Lori, who was my age, lived in, so going to visit was sheer heaven for me. Country, family and someone to play with. Part of my heart still lies in Alabama and the south, which is why I’m probably quite content living out the rest of my life here in Kentucky even though I was born and raised in Chicago.

Well, one day during the visit, Popper told me, my cousin Lori and a couple other cousins who were visiting that we could go pick some blueberries. We grabbed bowls and went out to the two large bushes right next to the house, which were about 5 feet tall each; nicely established bushes. About half an hour later, we went back into the house to show Popper our blueberry haul. We had totally stripped the bushes bare and had about 2 gallons of blueberries. While I’m sure that inside of him he was thinking, “oh, Etta (Mommer) is going to kill me for letting them doing this”, outside all he did was laugh, tell us that we had a lot of blueberries and had us take them in to my aunt. I have no earthly idea what they used all those blueberries for.

Silly story maybe, but the memory popped into my head the other day when I made this cake. It doesn’t take 2 gallons of blueberries though, I promise; just one pint. It did however, take me a couple of tries to get right. The first one totally stuck to the pan and while it tasted fine, it wasn’t quite right even if it hadn’t stuck. The second one however, was completely delicious. My husband, who is type 2 diabetic and knows better, had three slices in one day. I used my raspberry amaretto pound cake recipe, but changed it up for this, plus increased the butter a bit to account for the water evaporation from browning the butter. This is a delicious cake. It has a tight, moist crumb and an amazing flavor. Don’t look at the amounts of flavorings and think it sounds like they would all be competing with each other. They don’t at all. They complement each other and mixed with the fresh berries, brown butter cake and the orange syrup finish, add up to an outstanding cake, if I do say so myself.

You know the drill…

Mrs. Cupcake, who needs to go get some cake before my husband finishes it all

Blueberry Grand Marnier Brown Butter Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange oil (or orange extract, but please, go buy the oil. it lasts forever and is much better
  • 1 teaspoon Fiori Di Sicilia flavoring (optional; available through the King Arthur site. Another one I recommend splurging on. It is a fantastic addition to many baked goods)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • Orange syrup-
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  1. Place the butter in a medium pot and cook over medium high heat, swirling the butter frequently, until it is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Do NOT leave the stove. Butter can burn before you know it. Pour immediately into a bowl and put in the fridge for 45 minutes or so, just long enough to chill it and take it form a pure liquid state to a mushy solid.
  2. Preheat your oven to 325 and grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the soft brown butter and cream cheese. Beat at medium speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl once if needed.
  4. Gradually add the sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the Grand Marnier and the extracts, beating well afterward. Gradually add the flour to the mixture at low speed. Beat just until blended.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each one. GENTLY fold in the blueberries. Spoon batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. When you have it in the pan, firmly bang the pan on a counter top to help remove any air bubbles.
  6. Bake at 325 for 65 to 95 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. When the cake is almost done, make the syrup- in a small pot, combine the syrup ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the orange zest and discard it, then set the syrup aside until the cake is finished.
  8. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes, then use a plastic spatula ( or a fast food plastic knife if you have one) to loosen the cake from the edges of the pan. Place a large plate over the top of the pan, then carefully invert the pan. Tap firmly on the bottom of the pan to loosen the cake. It should fall out onto the plate. Let it finish cooling on the plate.
  9. Carefully transfer the cake over to a rack that has been set inside of a large rimmed baking sheet (to catch drips). Reheat your syrup until it is hot to the touch, then spoon the hot syrup over the cake. Make sure to let it soak in each time before adding more. You may not use all the syrup; it’s up to you. If you don’t though, don’t throw it out. It’s wonderful in tea.
  10. That’s it! Enjoy!

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Blueberry Grand Marnier Brown Butter Pound Cake 2

Tangy Key Lime Bars With A Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Meringue

Tangy Key Lime Bars With A Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Meringue

Tangy Key Lime Bars With A Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Meringue



I’ve decided that Key Limes are a pain in the butt and I totally prefer working with Persian Limes. Why? Because I’m lazy and zesting little teeenieeeee tinyyyyy limes takes 500 years and I’m already old. I don’t have time for that stuff. Who would finish baking if I were to keel over in the middle of zesting, dead from a zesting induced coronary?

Well, I have now managed to use the word zesting (which spell check says isn’t even a word in the first place) more in a few sentences than I had in the previous year. Zesting, zesting, zesting, zesting. There. That should take care of the next year or two.

I had planned to go on a raging bender tonight, which for me means two beers and then I fall asleep. But I came to the realization that 3 and a half hours of sleep the night before doesn’t leave much room for even picking up a beer bottle, much less enjoying it. So I shall instead drink tea fixed for me by my loving husband, eat dinner, inhale two one of these utterly delicious lime bars, then fall asleep watching M*A*S*H on Netflix. Yes, I live on the edge like this often. It’s an adrenaline filled life that few can handle. Feel free to live vicariously through me.

In the meantime however, bake these bars. Crunchy graham cracker crust, creamy, tangy lime filling, all topped with a sweet vanilla bean meringue. These are soooo good. Have I led you astray yet? WHAT!? DARN! Quit bringing up the danged Emu!!!

You know the drill…. πŸ™‚

Mrs. Cupcake, who is too pooped to pucker

Tangy Key Lime Bars With A Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Meringue

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling-
  • 2 14 ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup key lime juice (you can sub regular lime juice)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lime zest
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • a few drops of green food coloring (optional)
  • Meringue-
  • 4 egg white, room temp
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • one vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (or sub 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 inch square pan with non stick foil. Combine the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix well, until you have a crumbly mass. Press down into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake at 350 until browned, about 15 minutes. Let it cool down completely before adding the filling. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and zest and sour cream. Whisk until thoroughly blended, then add the eggs and food coloring (if using); whisk until mixed.
  3. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and chill for two hours at least, or until needed.
  4. About 30 minutes before serving, make your meringue- start a pot of water simmering.Β  In another, slightly smaller pot, whisk to combine the egg whites, cream of tarter and sugar. Place over the pot of simmering water, making sure it doesn’t actually touch the water, but is just above it. Whisk the egg white mixture continuously until it reaches a temp of about 120 to 125 degrees; enough to feel somewhat uncomfortable on your fingertip, but not burning hot. It will take just a few minutes at most. Remove from the heat and add in the scraped vanilla bean or vanilla extract. Whisk just to combine.
  5. Pour the still warm mixture into either the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Beat at medium high speed until the meringue is fluffy and holds a firm peak. Spread over the top of the chilled pan of bars. Use a kitchen torch to lightly brown the top of the meringue. You can also place it under the broiler with the oven door open for a minute or two, but watch it carefully if you do this as it doesn’t take long to burn.
  6. You can serve now or re-chill the bars. Use the foil to pull the bars out of the pan and place on a large cutting board. Peel off the foil from the sides and cut into desired serving sized pieces. I wouldn’t cut them as large as the ones I have here. That was just for photo purposes :-p
Tangy Key Lime Bars With A Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Meringue

Tangy Key Lime Bars With A Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Meringue

 

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Tangy Lime Bars With A Brown Butter Shortbread Crust

Tangy Lime Bars With A Brown Butter Shortbread Crust

Tangy Lime Bars With A Brown Butter Shortbread Crust



Well, orange season is pretty much over. Sure, I can still go to the store and grab some navel oranges, but the peak season for the good stuff…. Clementines, Blood Oranges,Β  Cara Caras, Tangelos, is about kaput till next Winter. That makes me sad, as I could live on oranges and yogurt if allowed to. Of course, my husband gives me looks and tells me I need to eat something more substantial, but what does he know? Oranges and yogurt are a perfectly acceptable breakfast…or lunch..or dinner.Β  Speaking of oranges, I have some blood oranges in my fridge that are looking pretty peaked and old. I got notices from the Social Security office in their name the other day saying it was time to sign up for benefits and for some reason, every morning when I get up, they are all lined up in front of the TV with an anti wrinkle cream infomercial playing. So if anyone has any ideas of how to use them up before they move onto Viagra commercials, I’d appreciate it. I wait much longer, I’m going to have to pay to have them put in a home for aged oranges.

So it’s time to move on to my other favorite citrus- limes.Β  Is there anything to hate about a lime? They are a beautiful color, they smell absolutely amazing and they taste delightful. Well, not plain so much. I’ve never been the wedge of lime and shot of tequila type of gal, though I do enjoy a slice in a gin and tonic. But baked into something? Delicious and a definite favorite in my household.

These are based on my Triple Lemon Bars which is one of those baked goods I can’t control myself with, thus I rarely make them. They make me weak in both the knees and the self control and make my already tight jeans tighter. So I made lime bars instead… because I’ll do soooo much better in the area of self control with these <insert sarcasm font here> I wanted to change them up a little. So I made the crust with browned butter instead of just plain old butter. Sounds so simple and boring, ehh? But oh my gosh, you wouldn’t believe the difference it made. I found myself eating bits of the raw dough until I stopped myself before it got to the point where I wouldn’t have enough for the crust. it just adds this caramelly, nutty flavor and scent to the crust and tastes so good. I have plans now to just make a browned butter shortbread in some flavor or another. Add in a tart sweet lime filling and a tangy lime glaze? Yeah, just say goodbye to self control.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Tangy Lime Bars With A Brown Butter Shortbread Crust

  • Crust-
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Filling-
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime oil (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Glaze-
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon lime oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 13×9 inch baking dish with foil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the crust ingredients and beat on low speed with a hand mixer until it is moist and crumbly throughout. You should be able to pick up a piece and press it together in your hand and have it stay. If it doesn’t, add about a teaspoon more water and beat it again for a minute.
  3. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Slide into the oven and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned around the edges.
  4. Meanwhile, make your lime filling- In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Use a whisk to beat until thoroughly combined. Add in the lime zest, vanilla extract, lime oil, flour and baking powder and whisk until well combined. Pour in the lime juice and whisk again just until combined.
  5. Pour the lime filling over the hot crust. Place back in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until the filling is set when lightly pressed on, light brown and doesn’t look liquidy at all. Let cool in the pan for an hour or two then place it in the fridge for about an hour at least; overnight is even better.
  6. About an hour before you’re ready to serve, make your glaze- In a small bowl, whisk together all the glaze ingredients until smooth. Pour over the cold bars. Let set up for at least 30 minutes or so before slicing. Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan onto a cutting board and use a knife that has been dipped in hot water then wiped dry to cut squares from the bars.

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Tangy Lime Bars With A Brown Butter Shortbread Crust

Tangy Lime Bars With A Brown Butter Shortbread Crust

White Chocolate And Lime Mousse Tart

Yum

White Chocolate And Lime Mousse Tart 4



Most of my strongest memories of my father center around food. Dad was an….interesting cook, to say the least. I mentioned once (maybe twice or more… I’m getting old and forgetful) before that dad used to make things like chili or spaghetti sauce and besides adding jalapenos to both (yes, even the spaghetti sauce) and when I say adding jalapenos, I mean making it so hot, your tongue fell out of your mouth in protest, he also never ever drained the grease from his ground meat. So there you’d have some otherwise lovely (and mouth burning) dish, swimming in a pool of grease. But no one wanted to hurt his feelings or incur his wrath, so no one ever said anything. I got my opening one day however a couple of years after I moved him next door to me. He asked me why my spaghetti sauce was so much better than his and also, did I drain the grease off for some reason? I did a cheer inwardly and said that yes, I drained the grease off my ground beef and that that may be why mine was better, because too much grease makes it (I said politely) a bit heavy on the stomach. I didn’t mention that burning the stomach lining of people may not be smart. I knew when to shut up. πŸ˜€

Dad also loved jello. My kids though, as much as they loved Gramps giving them unlimited amounts of sweets when I wasn’t looking, weren’t jello fans. So he would make it for himself and me, just the same way he did when my brother, sister and I were kids. No plain jello for dad. Nope, nope, nope. He would drain some sort of canned fruit or a jar of maraschino cherries, use the juice from it as the liquid and then add the fruit when it was almost set. Then he would top it with about 4 pounds of Cool Whip and we were good to go on calories and sugar for about a year. It was utterly delicious and still how I like my jello. I think of him every…single…time I eat jello.

But sometimes I like to get a little fancier and not use the sugar laden flavored kind of gelatin and go back to the plain old fashioned gelatin that you flavor yourself. I have been, like most people, waiting not so patiently for Spring. Speaking of which, we are supposed to be getting an ample amount of snow here in Kentucky again tomorrow. But I’ll save that whining for later.

I have been heavy into anything citrus lately. It’s both my favorite sort of fruit, plus it makes me think of Spring. Spring…warmth…my garden.. warmth… fresh produce… did I mention warmth? Sorry. I’ll stop now. So, when I saw some pretty limes at the store, I got to thinking about what to do with the ones that jumped into my shopping cart. I got home and saw some white chocolate sitting out. I had bought it for something else, but who cares? When an idea hits, you run with it. πŸ˜€ I had seen a recipe for white chocolate mousse elsewhere that I couldn’t find now, so I improvised and completely messed around with using a mousse recipe I found elsewhere. What I ended up with was a delicious tart with both lime and white chocolate sharing the limelight (hehe… LIMElight) equally. This is rich and creamy and a small slice will do you just fine. Unless you’re a teenage boy. Then… make two. I originally planned on using graham cracker crumbs as the crust, but all I had were Oreos. And I love the way it turned out with them.

You know the drill….

Mrs. Cupcake, who is sobbing over the thought of more snow

White Chocolate And Lime Mousse Tart

  • Crust-
  • 14 oreos (NOT Double Stuffs)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling-
  • 8 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lime zest (from about 3 limes)
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin (sold with the other types of flavored gelatin in packs of 4, usually on the bottom shelf)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Make your crust- put your Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and process them down to crumbs. Add in the melted butter and pulse until it is combined. Pour the mixture into a buttered 9 inch tart pan (the kind with the removable bottom) and press it down onto the bottom of the pan.
  2. Bring 1/2 of the cream to a simmer. You can use a small pot or just do it as I do in the microwave.. When it comes to a simmer, remove from the heat and dump in the chopped white chocolate. Let sit for about five minutes, then stir until it is smooth. Let the mixture sit until it’s just barely warm.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over the lime juice in a small pot. Let it sit for about ten minutes to soften up, then stir it over low heat just until the gelatin dissolves. Let cool, then fold the gelatin mixture into the white chocolate/cream.
  4. Whip the remaining one cup of cream with the vanilla extract until it has soft peaks. Fold the white chocolate mixture into the cream, then pour this all into the prepared crust. Smooth the top and refrigerate for at LEAST 6 to 8 hours, but preferably overnight. Gelatin takes a few hours to set firmly anyway and the addition of a citrus juice in this one makes it set slower.
  5. When done, gently push it out from the bottom (it always helps to have someone else there to grab the pan bottom. Otherwise, you have this tart in one hand with no way to remove what looks like a huge cream covered bracelet dangling from your other arm. Don’t ask… just don’t ask.
  6. Garnish with more whipped cream and some lime slices.

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White Chocolate And Lime Mousse tart 3

Rich And Creamy Baked Lemon Custard

Rich & Creamy Baked Lemon Custard

Rich & Creamy Baked Lemon Custard

I thought I would give all of you a break today from the now constant inundation of pumpkin this, salted caramel apple that, maple whatever and bring you something rich and decadent, yet bright and refreshing and anything but heavy. Lemon goes with any season and custard still has a bit of a cold weather feel to it, so this works in all worlds. Plus, it’s so darn good!

I remember when my brother, sister and I were kids, we used to make homemade custard. or at least we thought we were making homemade custard. I’m not quite sure what it really was. Steve was the first to try, I believe. And to his youthful credit, it was….edible. If nothing else, it was sweet and as I’ve mentioned before, that was about all that mattered to us as kids. If it had sugar, we ate it. I shudder when I recall us eating *gags a bit* peanut butter sandwiches in which one of the bread slices was heavily coated with sugar when there was no jelly in the house.

But the custard…ahh yes, the custard. Overly eggy with strands of scrambled like eggs throughout, usually somewhat weepy and curdled from overcooking and with no real flavor but eggs and sugar. But we ate it.

To this day though, I absolutely love custard of any type. Vanilla flan style, chocolate, citrus like this one; you name it, if it has cream in it, I’ll eat it πŸ˜€

This one is incredibly easy and fairly quick as baked desserts go. You can also eat it while still warm if you want. I personally prefer custard chilled because I love the texture it gets when cold, but the choice is yours. This is rich, creamy and bright with the fresh taste of lemon; a perfect dessert when you want something easy and non chocolate.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Have I mentioned today how much I lurves all of you for coming to my little corner of the world? <3

Rich And Creamy Baked Lemon Custard

  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks (save those whites and make some meringue cookies or something!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Very lightly butter 5 8 ounce ramekins and place them inside a deep baking pan. Start a pot or kettle of water to boiling
  2. Warm the cream in the microwave just until warm to the touch, not hot, about 1 minute.
  3. Using a mixer on medium speed (you can also just whisk this, but it takes longer), beat together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla until it is thick and pale colored, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Whisk or beat (low speed) the cream into the egg mixture, beating constantly. Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest and beat well.
  5. Divide the mixture between the prepared ramekins. Set the pan on the middle rack of the oven and carefully pour the boiling water into the pan holding the ramekins, making sure not to let it splash into the ramekins. Carefully push the pan in and bake the custard at 300 for about 30 minutes. You want it mostly set but the center third of them should still be a tiny bit jiggly looking. It will set more as it cools.
  6. Serve warm (just above room temp) or chill.

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Coconut Lime Pound Cake

Coconut Lime Pound Cake

Coconut Lime Pound Cake

I was thisclose to getting my Autumn on and deluging you with Pumpkin, Apple and Maple recipes because…well, pumpkin. Pumpkin, apple and maple…oh my, pumpkin and apple and maple, oh my. You know you just said that sing song “Wizard Of Oz” style. Admit it.

But then, one night, while I was NOT sitting and watching Rocky II for the third time in as many weeks (I’m not a Stallone fan normally, but dayum, he was hot in that movie πŸ˜€ ) and looking through one of the 9000 cooking magazines I have, I saw this recipe. There was no way I could pass it up and definitely no way I could wait until the politically correct blogger time of early Summer or Spring to make this. I absolutely love the combo of coconut and lime and tend to use it often. I also love pound cake with a passion usually saved for Cheetos and Ho-Hos before they changed the recipe.

This is totally worth putting off Fall baking for a few days. Worth it enough that I wish I had gotten it out of the house and sent it to work with my husband because it’s evil as it stares it me and taunts me to eat just one more slice. The lime and coconut flavors blend so beautifully with neither overpowering the other. This has the quintessential pound cake crumb; moist, dense and tender with the bottom (what was the top in the pan) being crispy and crunchy like a good pound cake should be. I didn’t make any drastic changes from the cookbook/magazine recipe. I used lime juice in the glaze instead of just milk and I added zest in the cake batter because all it used originally was the juice and that was NOT acceptable. Must…have…zest. Also, I used a fair amount more vanilla extract. It also called for coconut in the cake and I don’t care for that, so buh-bye it went. Otherwise, still pretty much like the book.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Coconut Lime Pound Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup solid shortening, room temp
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temp
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cream of coconut (not coconut milk; cream of coconut can be found with the cocktail mixers)
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • zest from one lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Lime Glaze-
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut flavoring
  • toasted coconut for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10 cup Bundt pan with cooking spray made for baking (Bakers Joy or Wiltons) or grease and lightly flour the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and extracts until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and lime zest. In a measuring cup, combine the cream of coconut, lime juice and water.
  4. Alternately add the flour mixture, then the coconut mixture to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the flour (flour, coconut, flour, coconut, flour), beating just until combined after each addition.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan; smooth the top.
  6. Bake at 325 for 65 to 75 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for ten minutes, then slide a knife around the edge of the cake and carefully turn out onto the rack to cool completely.
  7. When cool,Β  glaze the cake. To make the cake, simply combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over the cake. Garnish with toasted coconut.

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