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  • Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

    How to make Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

    Yield: about 15 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:

    1 3/4 cups (222 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1/4 cup (50 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
    2 large eggs plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
    1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
    2 lemons, zested and juiced
    3/4 cup (115 grams) fresh blueberries
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    For the buttercream:

    3/4 cup (115 grams) fresh blueberries
    3 cups (306 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
    2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1 to 2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream
    Lemon zest, for garnish

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two standard muffin tins with 15 paper liners.

    In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the butter and sugars until fluffy and very well combined, about 3 minutes. On medium-low speed , add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, until combined. Add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

    In a small bowl toss the blueberries with the 2 tablespoons of flour. Add into the batter and fold with a spatula until combined. Be careful not to overmix.

    Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Make the buttercream:

    Using a blender, immersion blender or food processor, puree the blueberries. Pass the pureed blueberries through a fine mesh strainer and into a medium bowl to remove the skins. Set aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla and beat on medium for 1 minute.

    Remove half of the buttercream to the bowl with the blueberry puree and stir until well combined. If the buttercream is too thin, add more powdered sugar to thicken. If desired, add a few drops of purple food coloring to enhance the blueberry color.

    To the plain buttercream, add the cream and beat until well combined.

    Swirled Piping

    In a large piping bag fitted with a decorative tip (such as the Ateco #846), use a spoon to scoop the plain frosting into one section of the bag, using your finger on the outside of the bag to help scrape it off. Repeat with the blueberry frosting. Ensure you’re aligning the frosting so it starts at the same place in the bag. Don’t worry if the colors touch each other.

    Squeeze the bag to slightly blur the colors together for a watercolor type effect. Twist the bag and squeeze out a test pipe to ensure the colors are coming out evenly before piping onto your cupcakes. Garnish frosted cupcakes with lemon zest.

    Serve or store at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.

  • Strawberry Baked Donuts

    How to make Strawberry Baked Donuts

    Yield: 11 to 12 donuts

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

    *Freeze-fried strawberries are available at most grocery stores near the other dried fruits like raisins.

    Ingredients

    For the donuts:

    1 cup (127 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1 large egg
    7 ounces (198 grams) unsweetened nonfat Greek yogurt
    1 tablespoon canola oil
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    1/2 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries

    For the strawberry glaze:

    1 1/2 cups (188 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
    3/4 teaspoon light corn syrup or golden syrup
    *1/2 cup (6 grams) freeze dried strawberries, finely crushed
    2 tablespoons hot water

    Directions

    Make the donuts:

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray two 6-cup donut pans with nonstick cooking spray.

    In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl whisk together the egg, yogurt, oil, and lemon juice. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Add in the chopped strawberries. Gently fold everything together until just combined. The batter will be thick, do not overmix.

    Scoop the batter into a piping bag or freezer bag and snip a bottom corner with scissors. Squeeze out the batter evenly into each cavity of the prepared donut pan. You may only have enough for 11 donuts.

    Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and then flip over onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

    Make the glaze:

    Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until smooth. Immerse each doughnut into the glaze. Place glazed doughnuts on a wire rack above a lined sheet pan to catch any excess glaze. Let set for 15 minutes before serving.

  • No Bake Strawberry Lemonade Mini Cheesecakes

    How to make No Bake Strawberry Lemonade Mini Cheesecakes

    Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    1 sleeve (9 crackers, 140 grams) graham crackers
    4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

    For the cheesecake:

    12 ounces (340 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    3/4 cup (180 grams) heavy cream
    Zest of 1 lemon
    1/4 cup lemon juice

    For topping:

    5 ounces (142 grams) strawberries, hulled and chopped
    1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    Strawberry slices
    Lemon slices

    Directions

    For the crust:

    Thoroughly grease a mini cheesecake pan. Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted butter and pulse until moistened. Divide the mixture among the cavities of the cheesecake pan, about 1 heaping tablespoon in each. Firmly press into the bottom of each cavity (a shot glass or other small object makes easy work of this). Set aside.

    For the cheesecake:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until creamy and well combined. Add in the cream, zest, and juice and continue beating until well combined and thickened. Divide the mixture among each cavity and cover with plastic wrap.

    Chill until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight. The cheesecake can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

    For the topping:

    Combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in the bowl of a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed. Top each cheesecake with a dollop of the sauce. Garnish with a strawberry and lemon slice. Serve.

  • How to Make Decorative Carrots

    How to make Decorative Carrots

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    Method 1: Buttercream

    Small batch of buttercream
    Orange & green gel food coloring
    Plain open tip (Wilton #12)
    Leaf tip (Wilton #352)

    Method 2: Candy Melts

    Orange and green candy melts

    Method 3: Marzipan

    Marzipan
    Orange food coloring
    Fresh parsley, trimmed for carrot tops

    Directions

    Buttercream Carrots

    Place 3/4 of the buttercream in a medium mixing bowl. Add orange food coloring and stir until colored.

    Place the remaining buttercream in a small mixing bowl. Add the green food coloring and stir until colored.

    Transfer the orange buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Transfer the green food coloring to a piping bag fitted with the leaf tip. Pipe an upside triangle on your cake or cupcake. Add three or four ‘leaves’ using the green buttercream.

    Candy Melt Carrots

    Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Melt the orange candy melts per the package instructions then transfer them to a sealable plastic bag or piping bag. Let the melts cool slightly until less runny. Cut off the tip and pipe the shape of a carrot.

    Repeat with the green candy melts, but pipe the green leaves of each carrot.

    Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for 5 minutes or until the candy melts have fully hardened. Carefully release each carrot from the baking sheet and place on your cupcakes or cake.

    Marzipan Carrots

    Knead food coloring into marzipan until brightly colored. Roll into a log and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Rolling each piece between your palms, form into a small carrot shape.

    Make lines into the carrots with a toothpick dipped in oil to give a realistic appearance. Use the toothpick to poke a small hole at the top of each carrot. Insert parsley stems the hole. Place on top cupcakes or cake.

  • Whole Wheat Spring Pizza

    How to make Whole Wheat Spring Pizza

    Yield: 1 12-inch pizza

    Prep Time: 10 min

    Cook: 24 min

    Ingredients

    1 ball no-knead whole wheat pizza dough
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1/3 cup pesto
    6 ounces fresh smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
    10 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
    12 to 15 cherry tomatoes
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives

    Directions

    Place a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 450°F.

    Place one ball of dough on a large sheet of parchment and shape and stretch until you have a thin 12-inch circle. To get the dough super thin, briefly roll with a rolling pin. Slide the dough to a pizza peel or flat cookie sheet. Cover with a clean towel until ready to use.

    Brush the olive oil onto the edges of the pizza dough. Spread the pesto over the dough. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with the asparagus and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slide the dough onto the baking stone, keeping the parchment underneath the dough. Bake for about 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the dough is golden. Sprinkle with the chives and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

    Recipe by Tessa of Handle the Heat

  • Spring Pesto Pasta with Turkey Meatballs

    How to make Spring Pesto Pasta with Turkey Meatballs

    Yield: 4 servings

    Ingredients

    1 pound ground turkey
    1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
    3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    1 large egg
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 large zucchini, sliced into half moons
    1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    4 ounces sliced button mushrooms (1 cup)
    3/4 pound whole wheat spaghetti
    3/4 cup pesto

    Directions

    Preheat the broiler. In a medium bowl combine the turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic, chives, egg, salt and pepper. Do not overmix. Form into 2-inch balls. At this point the uncooked meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 day.

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place the meatballs on the sheet and broil until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to a serving dish and heat the oven to 400°F. Toss the zucchini, asparagus, and mushrooms with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until softened and slightly browned.

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package directions or until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

    Add the cooked vegetables, spaghetti, and pesto to the serving dish with the meatballs and toss to combine. Add pasta water to loosen pesto if needed. Serve.

    Recipe by Tessa of Handle the Heat

  • Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs

    How to make Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs

    Yield: 4-6 servings

    Ingredients

    1 pound ground chicken
    1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
    6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    1 large egg
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
    7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    3/4 cup ditalini or other small pasta
    1 cup carrot 1/2-inch rounds (peeled)
    1 cup packed baby spinach
    Chopped fresh basil

    Directions

    In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken, breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, garlic, chives, egg, salt, and pepper. Form into 1-inch meatballs. Meatballs can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 1 day before cooking.

    Heat olive oil in a large Dutch-oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Cook meatballs until golden all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

    Add leek to pot and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and carrots and simmer for 4 minutes. Add meatballs and simmer until the pasta is al dente, the carrots are tender, and the meatballs are cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add spinach and remaining 3 tablespoons of Parmesan and stir until the spinach is wilted and Parmesan is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with chopped basil.

    Adapted from Bon Appetit April 2012

  • Ellie Krieger’s Pasta Primavera

    How to make Ellie Krieger’s Pasta Primavera

    Yield: 4 servings

    Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 3 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 red bell pepper, cleaned, seeded and cut into strips (6 ounces)
    • 1/2 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms (4 ounces)
    • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in 1/2 (6 ounces)
    • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
    • 1/2 cup 1 percent milk
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 large carrot (6 ounces) peeled and sliced into strips with a peeler (about 2 cups carrot ribbons)
    • 3/4 pound whole-wheat linguine
    • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan
    • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
    • 1/4 cup shredded basil leaves

    Directions

    Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook garlic until soft, about 1 minute. Add peppers and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, asparagus and tomatoes and cook until softened, an additional 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute more. Add chicken stock, milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until liquid has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in carrot strips.
    Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with vegetables and sauce. Add pasta water, if necessary, to loosen mixture. Serve garnished with Parmesan, parsley and basil.

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