Tag Archives: lemon

Lovely Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

I connect lemons with summer. We always had lemonade. Though, not fresh squeezed lemonade, we had Country Time Lemonade. My mom knew how to mix it up just right. Now that I live in Florida, I am having to rethink all of my perceptions about when certain fruits and vegetables are ripe. Lemons are no exception. I do realise it is July as I am typing this, but I made these bars back in February when the lemons on the neighbour’s tree were ripe for picking. Though I am sure, these bars will be just a good with the imported lemons currently available.

Lemon Bars

Until this year, I had never used lemons. Like I said, lemonade came from a powder! I enjoyed testing out a few recipes using fresh squeezed lemon juice. Topping the charts was the lemon bar recipe I tested. It was the perfect blend of sour and sweet. Even the crust was amazing. It wasn’t too crumbly and it seemed to melt in your mouth.

Lemon Bars

Since this was my first time making lemon bars, I followed the recipe from Smitten Kitchen exactly. (You can find it here.) I used the full-sized lemon layer. It was perfect. Even my fiance (who dislikes cheesecakey things because of the texture) loved them. I thought he would prefer a thinner layer of lemon, but he didn’t.

Lemon Bars

I don’t believe I would change anything to make this recipe again. Well, except maybe line the pans with parchment. Even with greasing the pans, the bars stuck to the sides.

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Limoncello Finire

Our limoncello is finally complete! I waited the maximum suggested time for both infusion processes. Following the soaking of the lemon zest (only the yellow part). You then add sugar and let it rest yet again. I’m thinking it was well worth the 2 month wait. Particularly since it is toasty warm again and our pool is ready for use. This will be a nice Sunday afternoon treat.

To complete the limoncello, you will need:

  • cheesecloth
  • bowl
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • funnel
  • bottle for storage

Directions:

  1. On the stove, heat water and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5-7 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. This is a simple syrup.
  2. Dampen the cheesecloth. Spread a double layer of cheesecloth over your bowl (It helps to have an extra set of hands for this part). Carefully pour the infused vodka and lemon zest through the cheese cloth into the bowl. Be sure to squeeze every last drop of liquid out of the cheesecloth as possible.
  3. Pour the simple syrup into the vodka. For a clear limoncello, wait for the syrup to cool completely; for a cloudy syrup, pour in the syrup while it is still warm.
  4. Using your funnel, transfer the limoncello into your storage bottle. Seal the bottle and let age in that same cool dark corner for at least a week but up to a month. The longer you let it age, the smoother the taste. Refrigerate or freeze after ageing.
  5. Convince fiance to design a label!

 

For both processes, I let mine sit for nearly a month. It is wonderful. It is also very strong and sweet. I have found I can’t drink more than a shot or so of it at a time. It should last me for much of the summer.

I have seen other flavor options around. I may give them a go next!

 

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Filled Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes

This may be the first recipe I claim as my own. It didn’t begin as my own. I started off making a cake shared by cake journal and ended off going my own way with the entire process.

The cupcakes are light and fluffy with an almost angel food cake texture. Thanks to the airy-ness, the lemon curd filling didn’t glob all into one place, it spread around inside the cupcake. To complete the cupcake, I added a lemon cream cheese frosting. They were delicious!

I started out following the Lemon Chiffon Cake recipe from cake journal. With a few major deviations.

Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

Directions

Heat over to 350° F. Line cupcake pans with liners. Separate the eggs into 2 bowls. In the bowl with the egg yolks, add the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and water. Mix until just combined. In another bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup of sugar. Save the rest of the sugar for the egg whites. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

In your mixer’s bowl, beat the egg whites until light and foamy. Slowly add the remaining sugar. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Mix the egg whites into the cake batter. Fold in 1/3 of the eggs at a time.

Scoop batter into cupcake pan. I use an ice cream scoop to get even results. Bake for 12-16 minutes. My oven cooks cupcakes in 15 minutes. The cupcakes will be lightly browned with a slightly rounded top when you pull them out of the oven. They will fall as they cool to have a flat top. Remove from pans and allow to cool on a baking rack.

Lemon Curd Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pound butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

Cream the butter. Beat in the sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely between eggs. Mix in the lemon juice. Mix until combined.

On the stove, pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened. It should take about 10 min. Stir constantly. I highly recommend using a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. The curd will thicken at 170°F. You should see the change.

Remove from heat to let cool.

Once the cupcakes and lemon curd are cool, you can fill the cupcakes with the lemon curd. There are multiple ways to do this. You could remove a portion of the cupcake. I have an attachment for a pastry bag that I use for injecting filling.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

Directions

In a mixing bowl, place the zest, cream cheese, and butter. Beat until fluffy. About 2-3 minutes. Slowly add powdered sugar. I usually add about 1/2 cup at a time to prevent any from being mixed over the edge.

Using your method of choice, frost your cupcakes. If you are not using a pastry bag, you can probably get away with making half of the frosting recipe.

Make It and Love It

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Just another Limmoncello

As I mentioned the other day, we were able to pick the lemons from our neighbour’s lemon tree. He no longer eats them and didn’t want them to go to waste. We gladly accepted them and picked them ourselves. This also opened a great opportunity to try out a few new recipes I’ve wanted to test.

Limoncello is the project I was the most excited to test. It is still a work in progress, but I couldn’t wait to share. Limoncello is a lemon liqueur made from the rinds of lemons, vodka, and sugar. It is fairly simple to make, though it does require days to steep.

To begin, you scrub the skin of your lemons to remove any pesticides, dirt, and any other outdoor debris. Thankfully, my neighbour doesn’t spray for bugs. Then, using a peeler or small knife, you carefully remove the peel of the lemons. You want to try to only get the yellow part and leave the white pith behind. I will need a bit of practice to perfect this skill. 

Once you have peeled about 12 lemons (I did a few more since some of the lemons had part of the skins nibbled on), you place the lemon peels in a jar large enough to hold a 750-mil bottle of vodka. Then pour the vodka over the lemon peels and seal the jar.

This jar now needs to sit in a cool dark place for anywhere from 10-30 days. Ten days appear to be the recommended shortest number of days. Though I did see a few that said 4 days. The longer you let it sit, the darker yellow your liqueur will become.

We have shaken oursa couple of times, but there also appears to be mixed suggestions on that instruction as well. Some say it isn’t necessary and others recommend it. We have been picking it up every couple of days to inspect the colour; it gets a little shake then. It appears to be doing just fine.

I plan on soaking the lemon peels for the maximum number of days. It will be a couple more weeks before we get to see the final product. I can’t wait!

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