With the holidays now long complete and with everyone working on losing their holiday pounds I figure what better way to help than with a new dessert recipe... I jest, of course, but for those wanting something sweet, this lemon bar recipe is great. I made several batches over the holidays and it was a hit with everyone who tried it. For whomever it matters the recipe is also gluten free.

To begin with we need to make some shortbread:

  • 1 C unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 C almond flour
  • 3/4 C coconut flour
  • 1/2 C corn starch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients together nice and thouroughly and spread it out in to a 13"x9"x2" baking dish. Personally, I prefer lining the dish with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Bake in the oven at 375° F for 15 minutes.

Next comes the cream cheese frosting layer:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 C confectioners sugar
  • 1/3 C heavy whipping cream

Mix to a nice smooth consistency and then spread it over the baked shortbread after it has chilled for a while. And while you are waiting for the shortbread to cool, you can be working on the next step - the lemon curd:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp agar

Mix together all of the ingredients other than the butter and then heat it in a double boiler. If, like me, you don't have a double boiler then you can simply place a large metallic mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water. Whisk the mixture as it is warming until it starts to develop a thicker consistency; at this point add in the butter and mix until the butter is completely melted. Remove the mix from the heat and pour it into a new bowl through some sort of strainer (I just use a mesh colander).

Take the chilled shortbread with the creamcheese frosting spread over it and pour the warm lemon curd over the top (I find it is easier to do it before the curd has really set and so is still a little runny). Cover the top with some plastic wrap and then set it in the refridgerator to chill for at least a few hours.

Enjoy!

I think this might be the best dessert I have ever made. It is very rich and creamy with a nice strong lemon flavor. Best of all it isn't really all that hard to make. There are basically two parts to the recipe, preparing lemon curd and preparing white chocolate mousse. Both parts call for the use of a double boiler which can be fashioned easily enough by simply using a good large metal mixing mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water.

First we will prepare the lemon curd. Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs (yolks and whites)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 C fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 sticks butter

Mix all of the ingredients together and add to the double boiler. Whisk the ingredients vigorously while heating in the double boiler - keep whisking the entire time until the mixture develops a nice creamy consistency (about 5 minutes). Once this has been achieved then remove the mixture and begin mixing in the 2 sticks of butter a little bit at a time. Finally, strain the mixture using something like a fine mesh colander - we don't want any bits of scrambled egg in there!

Next we will prepare the white chocolate mousse. Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 egg whites
  • 5 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz white chocolate

Mix the egg whites, lemon juice, vanilla extract and the heavy whipping cream together in a double boiler, whisking vigourously for 7 or 8 minutes. Once again strain the mixture to get rid of any scrambled egg. Add the white chocolate to the mixture and stir it in as it melts.

All that is left now is to take the lemon curd we prepared and fold it in to the white chocolate mousse. Cover the mixture with some plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap is touching the mousse surface (this will keep a skin from forming) and then let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I had some after about an hour of chilling and it was pretty good - but really it was much better the next day after chilling for a full night.

Enjoy!

Cooking: Carrot Cake

I love carrot cake (who doesn't?) and I have a recipe that I am generally pretty happy with - but I thought I would try experimenting with a different recipe this weekend. The result is a bit moister and denser than my normal recipe and tastes pretty good.

  • 4 C grated carrots (about 7 carrots)
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C melted butter
  • 1 C chopped walnuts
  • 1 C raisins

Mix together the grated carrots, chopped walnuts and raisins in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar and the melted butter. Set aside.

  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 C sugar
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C crushed pineapple, drained well - save the juice
  • 1/2 C applesauce
  • 3 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Mix all of the above ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Once well mixed then add in the carrot mix from the first step above, again mixing well. Pour the mix in to two greased 9" cake pans and bake in the oven at 350° F for about 50-60 minutes, making sure to test the center of the cake before removing.

While that is baking mix the following together to make a frosting to spread between the two layers of the cake and on top of it:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pineapple juice to taste - I used about 2 Tbsp
  • Lemon rind to taste - I used 1 lemon's worth

Once the cake has finished baking, pop the individual cake layers out of the cake pans and let them cool before putting the icing on and serving.

Enjoy.

Okay, so it doesn't look like much, but I assure you it is very tasty. I thought I would try mixing tapioca pudding with rice pudding and see where it led me. I am pleased with the results.

  • 1 C cooked rice
  • 5 C milk (you might try using less here if you want thicker pudding)
  • 1/2 C quick cook tapioca
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (or to taste)
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 C heavy cream

Add the cooked rice, tapioca, milk, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter to a large sauce pan. Heat this at medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point it should be starting to boil a little bit. Add in the sugar and continue heating it at medium low heat for another five minutes while still stirring it occasionally. Meanwhile, whip the three eggs and the heavy cream together in a mixing bowl until you have a nice smooth homogeneous mix.

After the five minutes at medium low heat, take about 1 cup of the milk mixture and slowly start pouring it in to the eggs, making sure to actively whip it in. It is important not to scramble the eggs here. Once you have finished mixing these two together, take the resulting mix and begin slowly pouring it in to the sauce pan while you are again actively stirring it. Now lower the heat to the lowest setting and keep actively stirring the mixture for the next 10 minutes.

Remove the pudding from the stove and pour it in to a large bowl. Cover it up and let it cool in the refrigerator for a while. I let it cool overnight and it was pretty good in the morning, but you may find it needs less time.

Enjoy.

I love muffins and I love cheesecake, so I thought that surely the combination of the two would result in something heavenly. One cooking experiment later and I have something that tastes pretty good:

Muffin Batter:

  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 2 C Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 C Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • Around 30 fresh raspberries

In a large bowl, mix the above ingredients together, mixing well before adding in the raspberries at the end. Set aside.

Cheese Cake Batter

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/8 C Heavy Cream

Add all of the above ingredients together in a separate bowl. Mix well and then add it in with the muffin batter; the point here is to mix it in so that it is evenly distributed in the muffin batter but not mixed in so well that the two are indistinguishable. Once this is done, add the resulting batter to greased or paper lined muffin cups - be sure to only fill it about half way since these will grow quite a bit. If desired you can mix the following streusel up and sprinkle it on top the muffins before adding them to the oven.

Streusel

  • 1/4 C Butter
  • 1/4 C Brown Sugar
  • 2/3 C Oats
  • 1/4 C Flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

After sprinkling the streusel on top the muffins put them in the oven at 375°F and let them bake for 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy.