lemon

Bready or Not: Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies, lemon | 0 comments

Almost exactly a year ago, I shared my recipe for Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread. Now I’m sharing a slight twist: Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread!

Bready or Not: Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread

If you have oranges growing or catch a good deal at the store, use them for this shortbread! You could also use Clementines or other citrus; I’m not sure how many you’d need, but you want almost 1/2 cup of juice.

Bready or Not: Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread

One of the wonderful things about this shortbread–like its predecessor–is that it’s fantastic to pack and ship or bring on trips. These cookies are firm and durable while still soft to eat, and they keep for at least a week.

Bready or Not: Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread

These cookies have the signature buttery-soft texture of shortbread complemented by the slight grit of cornmeal. The orange in these cookies makes them milder than the all-lemon version. If you have orange extract, use that as well!

Not only are these cookies delicious, but they look pretty, too.

Bready or Not: Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread

Bready or Not: Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread

Bready or Not: Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread

This Bready or Not original makes a 9×13 pan of fresh-tasting shortbread that is both firm and soft. It’s excellent for shipping or travel.

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • zest and juice of two oranges (just under 1/2 cup juice)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (or orange extract)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • turbinado or sparkling sugar

Preheat oven at 325-degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil and apply butter or nonstick spray.

In a mixer bowl, combine the butter, sugar, orange zest, and extract. Beat until it's light and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add orange juice and stir.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Slowly mix into the wet ingredients until it is just mixed. Dump the dough into the ready pan and use an uneven spatula to even it out.

Use a knife to score the bars, gently cutting through to establish where it will be sliced again after baking. The dough is very sticky; wipe the blade between passes, and dab the excess back into the top. It doesn't need to look neat. Completely sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar or sparkling sugar.

Bake until the shortbread looks dry and golden, about 35 to 40 minutes. Immediately use a knife to follow the previous lines and slice the shortbread into bars (when cool, the shortbread will likely crumble when cut). Set the whole pan on a rack to cool, eventually lifting them out by the aluminum foil to finish cooling.

Store in sealed containers at room temperature. This citrus cornmeal shortbread is excellent for travel and shipping as it keeps well for at least six days.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread

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Bready or Not: White Chocolate Lemon Blondies

Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies, lemon | Comments Off

Memorial Day weekend is coming up, so let’s do make something fresh and summer-y! How about chewy bars that taste like lemonade?

Bready or Not: White Chocolate Lemon Blondies

These bars are soft and chewy with a delightfully fresh flavor. White chocolate and lemon make for a wonderful pairing in both taste and texture.

Bready or Not: White Chocolate Lemon Blondies

I’d like to say that these kept well for days, but I really don’t know. They stayed yummy for one day, at least.

When my husband took these to work, a co-worker told him, “Your wife can make these any time she wants.” I always welcome that kind of encouragement to bake more!

Bready or Not: White Chocolate Lemon Blondies

Modified from A Kitchen Addiction.

Bready or Not: White Chocolate Lemon Blondies

Bready or Not: White Chocolate Lemon Blondies

These blondies are lemonade in cookie bar form! They are soft and tender, with a fresh flavor. Makes an 8×8 or 9×9 dish.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • sparkling or turbinado sugar for top, optional

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking dish with aluminum foil and apply non-stick cooking spray.

Cream together butter and both sugars. Add lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla extract, and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour mix into the wet ingredients.

Stir in white chocolate chips; dough will be thick. Spread into the bottom of the ready baking dish. An offset spatula works well to smooth it out. If desired, sprinkle sparkling or turbinado sugar all over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test.

Set on a wire rack to cool completely, then use foil to lift contents to a cutting board. Cut into bars.

OM NOM NOM!

Bready or Not: White Chocolate Lemon Blondies

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Bready or Not: Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Truffles

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, gluten-free, healthier, lemon, no-bake dessert | Comments Off

Gluten-free. Basic, wholesome, raw ingredients. No added sugar. No baking involved. Tastes like a mini blueberry muffin. Oh yeah.

Bready or Not: Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Truffles

I have posted about breakfast energy truffles before. This is a distinct variation because of the use of dried blueberries. Mind you, those can be an expensive ingredient, but you only need 1/2 cup for the recipe. I thought the blueberry flavor might be overwhelming, but the addition of a little lemon juice does a lot to mellow it.

Bready or Not: Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Truffles

These are super-easy to make in a food processor or high-powered blender (though for the latter, you might need to blend this in smaller batches). It just takes a few minutes to make these truffles.

Bready or Not: Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Truffles

Store them in the fridge for upward of a week or two. They are perfect for a breakfast or snack!

Bready or Not: Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Truffles

Modified from Blueberry Muffin Energy Balls at The Healthy Maven.

Bready or Not: Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Truffles

Bready or Not: Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Truffles

These healthy no-bake energy truffles use raw ingredients to make a delicious breakfast or snack! Use any combination of nuts you want to equal one cup. This recipe makes 19 teaspoon-sized truffles.

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • (or use other combination of nuts to equal 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dates, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tb lemon juice
  • dash of salt

Add nuts to food processor. Pulse until they are in pieces. Add the dates and dried blueberries, and process until they are in tiny pieces and starting to stick together

Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend everything until it forms a big sticky ball.

Use a teaspoon or tablespoon scoop to form balls. You might need to stir the mix as you go, as the lemon juice tends to lurk at the bottom. Use your hands to compress each ball. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or freeze between layers of wax paper.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Truffles

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Bready or Not: Lemon-Date Bars

Posted by on Apr 13, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, lemon | Comments Off

As I have mentioned before, my husband loves lemony desserts. These lemon-date bars have it all going on. They are shortbread plus savory-sweet plus lemon custard.

Bready or Not: Lemon-Date Bars

This isn’t a quick fix recipe. There are a lot of steps, but each is fairly straightforward.

Bready or Not: Lemon-Date Bars

The end result is an extraordinary kind of lemon bar that looks like you put a lot of effort into it. Because you did.

Bready or Not: Lemon-Date Bars

If you love lemon desserts, make these!

Bready or Not: Lemon-Date Bars

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

Bready or Not: Lemon-Date Bars

Bready or Not: Lemon-Date Bars

These lemon-date bars layer shortbread, savory-sweetness, and lemon custard for an extraordinary dessert. There are a lot of steps, so read through them all before jumping in! This isn’t a quick fix recipe. Modified from Martha Stewart Living, February 2015.

  • Dates
  • 8 ounces medjool dates, pitted and choppd
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Crust
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Filling
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon finely-grated lemon zest
  • plus 3/4 cup fresh juice (from 4 to 5 medium lemons)

Filling: In a heatproof bowl, soak dates in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid. Purée dates in a food processor with enough of soaking liquid (about 1/2 cup) to make a spreadable paste; this can also be done with an immersion blender, but be cautious in case it spits. (You should have about 1 1/4 cups of date paste.) Let mixture completely cool in fridge.

Crust: Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the long sides, and use nonstick spray or butter to coat the interior.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt. Work in butter with your fingertips or a fork until it's combined and mixture holds together when pinched. Press crust evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Freeze 15 minutes so it will set. Bake the crust until light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

While the crust is baking, whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by the lemon zest and juice.

Spread the cooled date paste evenly over baked crust; an uneven spatula is handy for this. Bake at 350-degrees for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to 325-degrees and pour lemon filling over date layer. Bake about 10 minutes and rotate pan in oven, then cook for another 10 minutes. The top will be evenly set when it is done.

Let cool on a wire rack. Store in fridge. Lift out the bars by the foil or parchment to cut them. Right before serving, sprinkle confectioners' sugar all over top (it'll absorb in a short time, but you can always add more).

OM NOM NOM!

Bready or Not: Lemon-Date Bars

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Bready or Not: Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies, lemon | Comments Off

If I fed you at WorldCon/Sasquan in August, these are the cookies you ate.

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

I was pretty happy that people seemed to like them. A lot.

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

For me, it was the culmination of several weeks of testing existing recipes to create something that was…

1) Delicious. Come on, I have a reputation to uphold here.

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

2) That would not melt in transit, which eliminated a lot of recipes right away.

3) A cookie that would travel well, i.e. not crumble, but could also keep for days without going hard or stale.

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

These shortbread cookies ended up perfect. They have the signature buttery-soft texture of shortbread that is complemented by the slight grit of cornmeal. They are firm enough and thick enough to stack in a container, padded with paper towels, and not break.

Then there is #1: the taste. Sweet. Lemony. Fresh.

Convention-tested. Convention-approved.

Bready or Not: Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

This Bready or Not original makes a 9×13 pan of fresh-tasting shortbread that is both firm and soft. It’s excellent for shipping or travel.

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • zest and juice of two lemons
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • turbinado or sparkling sugar

Preheat oven at 325-degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil and apply butter or nonstick spray.

In a mixer bowl, combine the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and extract. Beat until it's light and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and stir.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Slowly mix into the wet ingredients until it is just mixed. Dump the dough into the ready pan and use an uneven spatula to even it out.

Use a knife to score the bars, gently cutting through to establish where it will be sliced again after baking. The dough is very sticky; wipe the blade between passes, and dab the excess back into the top. It doesn't need to look neat. Completely sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar or sparkling sugar.

Bake until the shortbread looks dry and golden, about 35 to 40 minutes. Immediately use a knife to follow the previous lines and slice the shortbread into bars (when cool, the shortbread will likely crumble when cut). Set the whole pan on a rack to cool, eventually lifting them out by the aluminum foil to finish cooling.

Store in sealed containers at room temperature. This lemon cornmeal shortbread is excellent for travel and shipping as it keeps well for at least six days.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Lemon Cornmeal Shortbread

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Bready or Not Guest: Sylvia Spruck Wrigley with Lemon Fairy Cakes

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, guest recipe, lemon, muffin | Comments Off

DomnallI’m happy to welcome author Sylvia Spruck Wrigley as a guest of Bready or Not! Her novella Domnall and the Borrowed Child was published by Tor.com just this Tuesday, and it’s all about FAIRIES. A unique approach to fairies, too–you get to learn about changelings, from their perspective! Quite appropriately, Sylvia is here to share a very British recipe for Lemon Fairy Cakes.


About Domnall and the Borrowed Child:

The best and bravest faeries fell in the war against the Sluagh, and now the Council is packed with idiots and cowards. Domnall is old, aching, and as cranky as they come, but as much as he’d like to retire, he’s the best scout the Sithein court has left.

When a fae child falls deathly ill, Domnall knows he’s the only one who can get her the medicine she needs: Mother’s milk. The old scout will face cunning humans, hungry wolves, and uncooperative sheep, to say nothing of his fellow fae!

Excerpt at Tor.com
Audio Excerpt

Amazon.com | MacMillan, with buy links everywhere

 


 

These days in Britain you are more likely to see a cupcake than a fairy cake. Cupcakes are modern, decadent, bold. Fairy cakes are old-fashioned, relics of children’s parties from years gone by. They are smaller than cupcakes and, to my eye, a little more refined. A fairy cake is easy to recognise because it is never, ever topped with thick swodges of buttercream but instead gets a quick white glaze made with icing sugar (powdered) and water. Very special cakes get “royal icing” made with egg whites.

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Although any type of cake can be made into a cupcake, a fairy cake is based on Victoria sponge. These dainty cakes (just the right size for a fairy) are still seen as more appropriate for children, as they are smaller and with less sugar, whereas cupcakes are popular at weddings and hen nights.

The original fairy cakes (cakes just the right size for a fairy) are first referenced in the 1700s and were baked in ramekins or individual pottery cups. Although many people now make fairy cakes in muffin tins, you should take care to only fill the cups halfway so that they don’t turn out too large and get mistaken for a poorly frosted cupcake!

Now you’d think it’d be easy to make a British recipe in a British kitchen. Further, you’d think it would be easy to convert. Unfortunately, there are some issues which I feel compelled to share with you. I should reassure you first, however, that this is a very simple recipe, commonly the first treat that children in England learn to bake. So don’t take my notes all too seriously – just follow the recipe and I’m sure you’ll be fine.

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So first: Conversion
I modified the recipe slightly to convert it to American measurements. The recipe works with imperial, metric and US measures but don’t mix and match between them. The butter/sugar/flour amounts are slightly higher in the US version but no one complained (well, not about the cake, anyway).

Second: Temperature
I’ve simply said to bake these at 180°C/350°F, just like the majority of cakes baked around the world. However, that’s not the way recipes work in the UK.

British recipes give instructions to deal with every kind of oven, like so:
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C or 180°C if it is a fan-assisted oven or gas mark 6 if you haven’t upgraded your oven since 1962.

So if you bake using an exciting oven or even (god help you) an Aga, then I’m afraid you are on your own, but I suspect you are probably used to it.

Third: Yield
The recipe makes twelve fairy cakes but that’s assuming a British bun tin. You can make these with muffin tins just fine, just be sure not to overfill your cases. Standard cupcake cases should only be filled up to the halfway mark. If you make these cupcake sized, you’ll only get nine.

Fourth: Decoration

My first batch, the control group made with British imperial measures, I thought it would be nice to add fairy wings. I thinly sliced some lemons and candied them in the oven at low heat, then cut them in half and stuck them on with the lemon glaze.

P1240400_sm

Every single person ripped the wings off and discreetly abandoned them somewhere. Apparently, that was not an appropriate decoration for a fairy cake. Who knew?

Fifth: The Appropriate Number of Sprinkles

“Hundreds and thousands,” my boyfriend said. “That’s what you put on fairy cakes.”

“Like, sprinkles?”

“Not just any sprinkles. Round ones. All colours.”

“Round rainbow sprinkles. Got it.”

“No, don’t buy sprinkles. Buy hundreds and thousands.”

P1240403_sm

This didn’t seem like a requirement of fairy cakes, but I’m not British and I’m aware that sometimes I can miss nuances. So I purchased sprinkles which actually said hundreds and thousands on the label and did the decorating again.

This time, my fairy cakes were accepted with bright smiles. “Much nicer,” said my son with his mouth full of cake. “Needs more hundreds and thousands.”

“What have you done? This is more like tens and hundreds,” muttered my boyfriend.

I asked my friend to adjudicate. “They look lovely.” And the hundreds and thousands? “Well, okay, yes, it’s a bit sparing.”

I gave the very last fairy cake to the security guard who patrols the marina flats. I barely know him but it’s a long cold shift in November and I wasn’t speaking to anyone in the family by then.

“Lovely,” he said, “thank you so much.” He took a bite. “A wee bit mean on the hundreds and thousands, though.”

So learn from my mistakes. Don’t bake things for the British.

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Lemon Fairy Cakes

Yield: 12 fairy cakes

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz / 100g / ½ cup butter
  • 4 oz / 100g / ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 oz / 100g self-raising flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder OR ¾ cup all-purpose flour and two teaspoons baking powder
  • zest of half a lemon

Topping:

  • 2 cups (250g) of powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Rainbow sprinkles to taste

Pre-heat your fan-assisted oven to180°C/350°F and line your muffin tin with fairy-cake or cupcake cases.

Cream the butter and the sugar at high speed for three minutes or more. Keep the speed on high and add the two eggs one at a time. Once well mixed in, add the flour, the baking powder and the lemon zest. Fold the dry ingredients into the batter until blended.

Drop a large spoonful of batter into each cake case – if using cupcake-sized cases, only fill to halfway.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, until the cakes have risen and are golden-brown.

While the cakes are baking, mix the powdered sugar with the lemon juice so that you have a thick but still spreadable glaze.

Brush the cakes with the lemon glaze while still warm so that the lemon syrup will melt into the cake. Then remove them from the muffin tin. After the cakes have cooled, brush the tops again with the glaze and sprinkle generously with rainbow sprinkles.

P1240416_sm


 

Sylvia Spruck Wrigley was born in Germany and spent her childhood in Los Angeles. She emigrated to Scotland in 1990, guiding German tourists around the Trossachs while she searched for the supernatural. She now splits her time between South Wales and Andalucia where she writes about plane crashes and faeries, which have more in common than most people might imagine. Her short stories have been translated into over a dozen languages.

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