Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Strawberry~Lemon Cream Bar

It's officially summer and all the fresh fruits abound; strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and in a week, peaches.  I preserved 24 jars of strawberry jam a few weeks ago and when I spied this recipe in The Baking Sheet, I knew I would have to try it.
I love jam bars and it was for sure one of Kelly's favorite.  I've made her recipe several times, but this one intrigued me with the addition of a "cream" center and tartness of the lemon.

My Grandpa Frank grew strawberries, so we always had fresh ones to pick when I was growing up, but when the patch was gone my mom and I would pick at a farm nearby to ensure we'd have jars of jam for the winter.  I love to pick fresh fruit and have found a farm here to "feed my addiction!" 

Strawberry~Lemon Cream Bars
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried strawberry bits, optional
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Grease a 9"-square pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the butter and mix well.  Pour the melted butter over and mix until distributed evenly.  Press half of the mixture into the prepared pan firmly and evenly.
1-14oz can sweetened condensed milk
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup strawberry jam
2 T Pie Filling Enhancer

Whisk together the ingredients until slightly thickened.  Pour the filling over the crust and smooth with a spoon.  
Sprinkle the remaining half of the oat mixture over the filling, pressing down lightly.  
 Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan.  Run a table knife along the edges of the pan and use the edges of the parchment to remove it from the pan (I used my spring form pan).  Cut the bars into 2" x 2" bars.  Yields 16 bars.

It's a lazy day...oh, I have things to do, but I chose to bake after a marathon day of sewing yesterday. I even tuckered out Rosie!
Enjoy summer days!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Pound cake is like a "little black dress" that you can accessorize in a number of ways.  I've made literally hundreds of pound cakes in my lifetime and it's still my go to dessert that my hubby never gets tired of.

Meyer Lemons finally showed up in our grocery store and I couldn't wait to run home and make this luscious cake in a new cake pan I discovered at Sur La Table.  The Meyer lemon is from China and is thought to be a cross between a lemon and mandarin orange. It was introduce to the United States in 1908 by an agricultural explorer, Frank Nicholas Meyer.  The thinner skin is perfect for zest and I think it produces much more juice than the common variety we have in the stores.
This Four Bundt pan is larger than minis, but smaller than the 10 or 12 cup version--perfect size to freeze for us "empty-nesters" or to give as gifts.  With the addition of poppy seeds, this  pound cake would be great for breakfast, but also make a lovely dessert with some berries.

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 large eggs
3 cups Cake Flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Spray 12-cup Bundt pan (or small 4 Bundt pan + loaf pan) with a baking spray that has a flour addition.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter completely.  Rub the zest into the sugar then, add to the butter gradually, beating until fluffy.  Add juice and vanilla extract and beat once more.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.  

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds together and add to the batter.  Beat on medium until completely combined.  Scraping down the sides as needed.
If you're using a 12-cup bundt pan place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325F-degrees and continue baking 45 to 55 minutes, testing the center with a wooden skewer that should come out cleanly.

I measured the batter among the 4 Bundt pan and a glass loaf pan.
I started them in the 350F-degree oven for 15 minutes, then, lowered the temperature to 325F-degrees for 30 minutes for the 4 Bundt pan and left the loaf pan in another 15 minutes.
Total time: 4 Bundt pan - 45 minutes; Loaf pan - 60 minutes.

You can dust the tops with confectioner's sugar or as I like to do, make a glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 T Light Karo Syrup

Whisk all ingredients together in a 2-cup bowl and pour over the slightly cooled cakes.

A simple and easy cake that never ceases to delight my family. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Blueberry Snack Cake

As they say, "the heat is on," reaching 90+ degrees with humidity here makes the heat index over 100...whew!  For me, these summer days bring back memories of growing up in Maryland and picking huckleberries along our property for my mother to create cakes, cobblers, pies and of course jam.  Later, when I was in high school, my grandfather decided to plant blueberry bushes which produced large berries, but those huckleberries are still the sweetest I've ever had.

A few weeks ago I picked strawberries here and preserved 24 jars of jam and now the blueberries are coming in:-D
I thought a quick snack cake would be perfect to have with my diet coke (not a coffee drinker!) this morning while working the daily crossword puzzle and before starting work.  It also gave me a chance to test out a new silicon liner I bought for my 9" x 13" pan.
I love my springform pan, but I know this liner is a lot less expensive and will do the same in making bars and cakes easily cut because it allows you to lift the bake goods out of the pan.  It comes in two sizes; one to fit a 9" x 13" and one for an 8" x 8" square pan.

Blueberry Snack Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon sugar

Combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Grease & flour a  9" x 13" baking pan or use the silicon liner.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape the sides once more.

Add the flour, minus 1 tablespoon, baking powder, and salt alternately with the milk.  Toss the blueberries with the 1 tablespoon of flour and stir into the batter.  Spread into the prepared pan.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries over the top and sprinkle with the sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes.  Poke the center with a toothpick and check after 45 minutes.
Allow cake to set for 20 minutes in the pan before lifting it out.
To finish, dust the top with some confectioners' sugar...it makes the presentation even prettier, but the taste of this cake and it's crunchy topping is perfect without it too.
It's great for a snack cake, but it was also just what I craved for breakfast this morning--moist and full of blueberries.  Our grandson, Ari will soon turn 6 years old and his mama used to call him, "her blueberry baby."
Ari wrote his name in the sand when we were at Hilton Head!

I'll definitely make this for him when he comes for a visit again...so I better freeze a few bags of these gorgeous berries.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tropical Cakelets & June's Give-Away-Apron

What's the best part of a muffin or cupcake?  The top, of course!  When I found this Ruffle Cakelet pan, by Nordic in the King Arthur Flour catalogue, I knew it would be perfect to create those perfect bites we remember as kids. 

The recipe also appeared in the catalogue baked in Ball jars, which is very cute, but I decided this treat would be adaptable to my new pan for treats that I would deliver later to the guys working on our new home.
Looks like July will be our "move-in" date and I'm so excited to share with you some photos I took yesterday.
Rear View

Kitchen--countertops are in, but doors and drawers go in last so they don't get "dented."

Our chandelier that I purchased in Massachusetts, when we built our first home. It's been with us in Connecticut and Washington...now in North Carolina!
The kitchen, which for me is the heart of the home, is full of detail with the tremendous custom cabinetry.  Norman, our cabinet maker, thought of everything including spice racks on either side of the cooktop!

My walk-in pantry is a room unto itself measuring 8' x 8' - a dream come true!
I cannot wait to bake in this kitchen and finally have a place for all my gadgets, pans, and cookbooks!

Tropical Cakelets
5 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. coconut extract (or flavoring)
1 1/2 cups Unbleached Cake Flour Blend 
1/3 cup coconut milk powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 T cake enhancer 

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Spray Ruffle Cakelet pan with a non-stick baking spray.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly until light and fluffy. 

Combine milk, egg whites, vanilla extract and coconut flavoring in a 2-cup measure and whisk to combine.  Set aside.

Sift the dry ingredients to blend together.
Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternately with the egg white/milk mixture to the butter/sugar batter.  Combine thoroughly.  Fill the cakelet pan wells half full.  This recipe made 14 Cakelets.
 Bake in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, testing centers with your fingertips or a wooden skewer poked in the center.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly before turning out onto a rack to cool completely before frosting.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (icing sugar)
1 T meringue powder, to stabilize the frosting
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 T Mango~Pineapple Sonoma Syrup  
Beat the butter until fluffy.  Beat in the salt, meringue powder and vanilla.  Add the sugar and syrup and beat well.  Pipe the frosting onto the split cakelets.

I dusted the tops with a little more confectioners' sugar for presentation. Enjoy!

Now, the inspiration for this month's apron has got to be the beautiful "Carolina blue" skies!
This apron is the perfect example of sunshine and blue skies, which I wish for everyone!  Just comment on any of the posts this month and this apron could be yours.   


Monday, June 2, 2014

May's Apron Winner

Where do the months go?  I can't believe June is here and it's time to announce where the May's apron will be heading...Congratulations Linda from http://ljm-alacarte.blogspot.com/!

Please email me your address and I'll get this apron sent off to you asap.  June's apron will be up later today (or maybe tomorrow) and it's a beauty all set to celebrate Summer!