Lemon Lavender Bars

Writing is very personal, too personal.I have not wanted to talk about what has been going on because I just start crying. I can’t write when I am crying, but the ink will not be ruined. My Grandma Frances died last Sunday. I got the call from my Aunt, I knew this, the week before, I felt it the week before and wanted to talk to my Grandma and Aunt. But I have been having migraines, horrible debilitating migraines, where I don’t even know where the days go migraines,  and every night, I just wanted to  take a warm bath, lie down with my lavender eye pillow, and wish my migraine away. I miss my Grandma. She was 92 years old, I thought she would live forever. I can hear her voice now saying, ” I’m not young Lynnette”.  I remember her saying that to me when I was 5, how old was she? Younger than I am now….I can’t pick up the phone and talk to my Grandma, I can only speak to her in my mind. I know what she will say. I know we will both laugh.

Grandma made me Biscotti every year. For my Birthday and for Christmas. Every year, as if her life depended on it. It started, I didn’t get a box in the mail, when I didn’t receive the box of Biscotti, I knew she felt terrible that she could no longer make them for me. She felt worse than I did. I loved those Biscotti, as soon as the box arrived in the mail,  I would to hide them so that my family didn’t eat them all, that day. I didn’t make Biscotti because Grandma made them best. But I do have the recipe and one day I will try to make them. They are twice baked, so not so easy. My Grandma was an amazing cook and baker.She loved that I had a food blog. I remember when she cooked dinner and served everyone, she would stand in the kitchen and watch everyone eat. We begged her to come sit with us and eat. Grandma’s family were farmers and they would make a huge meal for lunch, because they would work it off, course after course after course, the Italian way. I loved her lasagna, I loved her thumb print cookies. I dream of her thumb print cookies. One time we made them together and I wrote the recipe down as we baked them, that was over 40 years ago. She always watched what she ate, she exercised and took care of herself. She smiled with her eyes, we sang to each other every time we spoke on the phone and when she wasn’t singing to me, I would put hubs on the phone and have him sing to her. I knew she absolutely adored him and his singing, we  laughed and laughed about everything, she had the best sense of humor, my Grandma.. Wishing this wasn’t the last time we spoke. What did we talk about the last time we spoke? The weather? Our health? The kids? Work? I don’t recall, I just know that I always loved talking to my Grandma, she always knew the right thing to say to me, I always felt better when we spoke. I love you Grandma. Thank you for always loving me.  I miss you.

I have never made lemon bars, but they are one of my favorite bar desserts. I had no idea how much I would love the combination of lemon and lavender, it is perfect and lemony tart with a light lavender flavor and a sweet and crumbly shortbread crust. I have loved every recipe from Joy The Baker Cookbook. I will make this recipe again, it is perfect for gifts and parties. My kids and hubs kept going back for more. I highly recommend getting the cookbook and making this recipe. You can find the recipe Image

 here. This is one of my favorite cookbooks. I love Sunday’s With Joy Baking Group. I am enjoying every recipe that we make each week. I know it will come to an end soon, but I want this to last forever! Nettie <3

Joy’s book officially hit the shelves today! Click here to purchase your own copy and check out her blog to see if she’ll be in a city near you to sign it.

Here’s the recipe from Joy The Baker:

For the crust,

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp of dried lavender

For the lemon filling,

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar
6 Tbsp of all purpose flour
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
Powdered sugar and dried lavender for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13×9 inch pan and set aside.
To make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Stop, scrape down and add the flour, salt and lavender. Beat on low until dough comes together. Dump the dough into the pan and flatten out with your hand until the base is level. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until slightly browned.

To make the filling: While the crust is baking, In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and light. Add the lemon juice, flour and zest. Whisk until completely incorporated. Remove the baked crust from the oven and immediately pour the prepared filling over the crust. Return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until browned around the edges and no longer wobbly in the center.
After it comes out of the oven sprinkle lavishly with the powdered sugar and dried lavender.
The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins

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Brown Butter. That’s the word on the street that makes everything baked taste even better. Don’t you know it’s a fact that everything tastes better with butter and everything tastes amazing with brown butter. Well, that’s what I have read in baking journal’s. I love coffee cake, yes, I really love coffee cake, any excuse for making a coffee cake is my perfect morning. But since I didn’t have an excuse to make coffee cake, I made coffee cake muffins. I knew my kids would love to have one of these before they went off on their merry way to school…..I was so right and voted Best Mom of the Year because of it….well maybe I am exaggerating this point a bit!

Coffee Cake Muffins

makes 12 muffins

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

2 large eggs

2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean ( I used a vanilla bean, cut the bean in half, scrape seeds with a sharp knife or use your thumb nail like I did)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

For the Topping

3 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Put a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Keep an eye on the butter.  Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan.  The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that.  Keep a close eye.  Remove from heat.

If using vanilla bean, split the vanilla bean down the center, scrape the seeds out, and in a small bowl, rub the vanilla beans into the granulated sugar.  I used my fingers.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Add the brown butter and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl  Add milk and butter mixture all at once, and stir gently to combine.

To make the topping combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the cups.

Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.  Keep an eye on them… they dry out quickly.  Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes then remove from the pan.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

This recipe is semi- adapted from Joy The Baker’s Coffee Coffee Cake Muffins

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Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding

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I have a weakness for bread pudding. I always steered clear from making it thinking it was some elaborate dish that I could not handle. Also, if it were too easy to make, I would be making it all of the time, plus not having the will power to step away from a large spoon and devour the whole bread pudding casserole in one fair swoop.

On this Sunday’s Joy The Baker’s dessert menu recipe is Bourbon Bread Pudding. I have made Banana Bread so many times, I have lost count. Very amazing with Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate and Macadamia Nuts. So I thought I would make a bread pudding. Baker Dave delivered an amazing Boule, it was perfect for the bread pudding with the right texture.

Ingredients

butter, softened
7 slices good-quality white bread (this doesn’t have to be exact! can also use soft brown bread or mix brown and white breads with excellent results.)
1 quart milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. raisins (optional)
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup Bourbon
1/4 cup unsalted dry toasted slivered almonds
1 banana ripened, sliced

Method

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
Spread a generous amount of butter on one side of each slice of bread and line the bottom and sides of the baking dish. Insert slices of banana between each slice of bread.
Mix together the milk, eggs, Bourbon, sugar, salt, raisins, and vanilla and cinnamon, if you are using them, and pour over the bread. Place any extra pieces of bread on top and press down so they are submerged. Sprinkle with almonds.
Let stand for about 10 minutes, a little longer if the bread is particularly dry.
Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.
If you like a crustier brown top, slip the dish under a hot broiler a few minutes until deep golden.

Recipe slightly adapted from Fannie Farmer Cookbook and Joy The Baker Cookbook
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Welcome! My name is Lindsay, and I love to cook, chase my kids, and share my love of baking with others. This blog was started to be a place for me to share my love of baking and cooking, and to chronicle my experiences with it, and my kids, and all the fun that goes along with trying to do both. I hope you enjoy what you see.

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Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Happy New Year 2013!! This is my first blog post for 2013.  I think it’s good luck to have a sweet treat as a first post for the New Year, it’s a sign that this year will be sweet for us all, not salty, not sour, not bitter, but a very sweet year, or as the kids like to say, “SWEEEEET”.!!Brown Sugar Pound Cake is a dense wonderful cake, perfect with tea, or accompanied with whipped cream and strawberries, as my daughter would prefer. This cake doesn’t have a lot of extra liquid such as milk added to it, as other recipes call for, which makes it more like a bread than a light cake. It reminded me of a brown sugar cookie. It would also be nice drizzled with chocolate or caramel sauce.

Pound Cake:

  • 1 cup – packed Domino® Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup – (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 4 – eggs
  • 1 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups – all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon – baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon – salt
Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. In large bowl, beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to sugar mixture. Pour batter into pan. Bake one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan and turn out on rack to cool completely. Top with whipped cream and fruit if you like.
 
Recipe adapted from Domino Sugar 
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