Zesty lemon melting moments

zesty-lemon-melting-moments_1

It’s that time of year again – lemon season! The branches of our lemon tree are literally sagging under the weight of all the lemons, so it seemed like the perfect time to do a little lemony baking while the baby snoozed.

These zesty lemon melting moments live up to their name: they’re zesty, tangy and absolutely delicious. They’re also super quick to make and you only need really basic ingredients – chances are you already have everything you need sitting in the cupboard already.

While the biscuits themselves are delightful (who doesn’t love a melting moment?), all the lemon flavour comes from the icing – that’s why it’s so important! I like my biscuits nice and tangy, but if you’d like a lighter flavour simply reduce the amount of lemon zest… or increase it if you’re totally lemon crazy.

Enjoy!

zesty-lemon-melting-moments_2

Zesty lemon melting moments
Makes 10 sandwiched biscuits
Recipe adapted from Chelsea 

Ingredients 

Biscuits

  • 125g butter, at room temperture
  • ¼ cup icing sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup cornflour or arrowroot

Zesty lemon icing

  • 20g butter, softened
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Method

Biscuits

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place butter and icing sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Add flour and cornflour and mix well.
  3. Lightly flour your hands, then roll mixture into small balls (approx. 1 tsp each). Place on baking tray and flatten with a fork dusted in icing sugar.
  4. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through and lightly golden on the base. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.

Zesty lemon icing

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat until pale, creamy and smooth.
  2. Pair up cooled biscuits, matching up sizes as best you can.
  3. Scoop icing into a piping bag, snip off the end and pipe a generous circle onto base of one biscuit of each pair. Place other biscuit on top and allow to set at room temperature before storing in an airtight container.

 

Lemon, Raspberry and elderberry layered jelly (+ WIN)

raspberry-lemon-elderberry-layered-jelly-cup_1

When you think summer desserts, what comes to mind? If you’re anything like me you’re picturing something cool and refreshing that you don’t need to switch the oven on for!

That’s where these delicious layered jelly cups come in. Made using Hansells beautiful new Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry fruit syrup, these summery desserts are not only packed with a beautiful fruity, lightly tangy flavour, but they’re also an absolute breeze to make. All you need is four ingredients and a little time on your side.

If you’re not a big cordial drinker, then Hansells new range of All Natural Fruit Syrups are sure to change your mind – the flavours aren’t what you might expect! Think Mandarin, Lime and Bitters, Old Fashioned Lemonade with Key Lime Extract, Blackcurrant, Cranberry with a Hint of Basil, and (of course), Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry. Sounds delicious, right?

They’re so good that I just had to make the most of their beautiful flavours in a simple summer dessert – and because they’re concentrated, they’re perfect for giving the humble jelly an upmarket twist.

While I used Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry for my jelly cups, any of the new Hansells range would work beautifully – it all depends on what your favourite is. The fruit syrups are designed to be less sweet than other options and each bottle has a handy scale that shows you how sweet (or not!) each flavour is, making it easy for you to balance this dessert to suit your own tastes.

Grab the recipe for this simple dessert below – and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom on the post!

raspberry-lemon-elderberry-layered-jelly-cup_2

Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry layered jelly
Serves four

Ingredients

Fruit syrup layers

  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp powdered gelatine
  • ¼ cup Hansells Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry All Natural Fruit Syrup

Creamy layers

  • 395g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 5 tsp powdered gelatine

Method

  1. Combine boiling water and gelatine in a measuring cup and stir until gelatine has completely dissolved. Add Hansells Fruit Syrup and mix.
  2. Divide into small glasses, pouring around ¼ cup of liquid into each. Place in fridge for 1-2 hours or until set.
  3. Combine sweetened condensed milk and boiling water in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together cold water and gelatine. Stir until gelatine is dissolved. Add to condensed milk mixture and stir well.
  5. Pour 1 cup of condensed milk mixture into a measuring cup. Divide into prepared glasses, pouring approx. ¼ cup of liquid into each. Place in fridge for 1-2 hours or until set.
  6. Repeat steps above until you have the desired number of layers. Finish with fresh or freeze-dried berries to serve.

Recipe notes:

 

  • Leave remaining condensed milk mixture on the bench for additional layers. If mixture begins to set, simply warm over low heat until liquid again.
  • If using a glass that widens in the middle, you may need to double the recipe to ensure even layers.

giveaway_HTWD

Thanks to the team at Hansells I have a Hansells All Natural Fruit Syrups gift box to giveaway to two lucky readers! Each pack contains two of the gorgeous new flavours (Mandarin, Lime and Bitters and Lemon, Raspberry and Elderberry ) and a fantastic mixer stick.

To enter, simply comment below and let me know which Hansells All Natural Fruit Syrup you’d most like to try this summer.

Entries close at 11.59pm Thursday 29 December and the winner will be drawn at random. Winner must make contact within 5 business days or they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be drawn. Sorry – this giveaway is only open to New Zealand residents.

This post was made possible thanks to Hansells. All words, photos and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

 

 

Beginner’s guide to baking: Baking powder vs. baking soda

beginners-guide-to-baking-baking-soda-v-baking-powder-1

Ever wondered what all those different kinds of sugar are all about? Or why the temperature of butter really matters? Then you’ll love this new series covering off all the basics of baking – from why ingredients are important right through to how to set up your kitchen. Have a burning question? Then pop it in the comments below and I’ll try and cover it off in an upcoming post.

First off we’re taking a look at those two little white powders that seem to do the same thing, but you always seem to need the one you don’t have – baking powder and baking soda! While they’re both leaveners (which means they make things rise), they’re actually pretty different. So…

What is baking soda and when do I use it?
Time for my sixth form chemistry to shine! Remember the whole base vs. acid thing from high school? Well that’s pretty much what this comes back to. Baking soda is a base, which means that when you mix it with an acid it’ll react to create something – in baking, that means carbon dioxide which puffs up your baking.

Basically, when you see baking soda in a recipe there will also be some kind of acid in there – maybe lemon juice, buttermilk, yoghurt or brown sugar. You need to have this acid there for the baking soda to react with, otherwise your baking won’t rise and will have a strange metallic taste to it.
The trick is making sure you use just the right amount of baking soda in your baking – that means measuring carefully! Baking soda is pretty strong (about three times more powerful than baking powder) and you need to hit the sweet spot between having enough to react with the amount of acid in your recipe – that way, no metallic after taste.

beginners-guide-to-baking-baking-soda-v-baking-powder-2

How about baking powder?
So baking powder is actually a mixture of a couple of things – baking soda, cream of tartar and often a little cornflour. The clever thing is that cream of tartar is actually an acid (just a dry one!), so the baking soda already has the right amount of acid to react with in every teaspoon.

Because of this, you’ll notice that baking powder is usually used when there isn’t another acid in a recipe. But, because life’s not always simple, there are always exceptions to this rule.

Sometimes you have a recipe that uses an acid that you don’t want to use up through a reaction with baking soda – for example, you might want a tang of lemon or yoghurt in your cake. In that case, you’d use baking powder instead of baking soda so the acid can live on the baking, bringing in all that lovely tangy flavour.  

Why do some recipes need both?
These recipes usually have some acid in them, but not enough for a reaction with baking soda to create the lift that’s needed. If that’s the case, baking powder is used as well to give the recipe that little boost it needs. You need to strike the perfect balance.

If I’m playing around with my own recipe, how much do I need to use?
As you can probably tell, it really does vary. But as a general rule, use around ¼ tsp of baking soda OR 1 tsp of baking powder for every cup of flour in a recipe.

beginners-guide-to-baking-baking-soda-v-baking-powder-3

Pretty interesting, right? Whether you’re just getting into baking or are already a keen cook, knowing why things work the way they do is such a helpful skill to have – I know I love it!

If knowing the ins and outs of baking soda and powder was super interesting to you, then you might be a Curious Novice – you’re keen to improve your skills, enjoy a good recipe book, love giving things a go yourself and are curious about why things work the way they do.

Sound like you? Maybe not? Fisher & Paykel have created eight different cooking styles to help Kiwis get the most out of their time in the kitchen – if you know why you cook the way you do, you’re more likely to get the best results.

Either way, pop over to the Fisher & Paykel website and do their ‘What’s Your Cooking Style’ quiz – you might be surprised!  

Now that you’re a baking soda and powder pro, check out my recipe for blueberry and lemon scones below and see if you can work out why baking powder is used over baking soda. Good luck!

beginners-guide-to-baking-baking-soda-v-baking-powder-4

Blueberry and lemon scones
Makes six. Recipe adapted from Radio New Zealand.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 80g butter, cold
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup natural, unsweetened yoghurt
  • ¾ cup milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and caster sugar.
  3. Grate butter and add to dry ingredients, tossing to mix. Add blueberries and lemon zest and mix until combined.
  4. Combine yoghurt and milk in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour onto other ingredients and mix with a butter knife until just combined.
  5. Scoop batter onto a floured bench and shape into a rectangle around 3cm (two fingers) thick. Brush with a little milk and sprinkle with caster sugar. Cut into six squares.
  6. Transfer to a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly before serving.

This post was made possible thanks to Fisher & Paykel. All words and images are, and always will be, my own.



Lemon and raspberry yoghurt loaf

lemon-raspberry-yoghurt-loaf-1

Spring has well and truly sprung – the days are warmer, the evenings longer and gardens brighter. With all this freshness popping up around the place, it makes sense to begin baking with lighter, brighter flavours – like the undeniably delicious combo of lemon and raspberry.

That’s where this lemon and raspberry yoghurt loaf comes in. Not only is it deliciously light, moist and flavoursome, but it’s also super easy to whip up – you’ll have the batter ready and in the oven in less than 10 minutes. Seriously, you’re going to want to bookmark this recipe!

As well as being packed with freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest and a smattering of raspberries, this loaf has one other special ingredient that helps make all these beautiful flavours shine – Chelsea Raw Sugar.

Read More »

Sugar-free zesty lemon biscuits

sugar-free-zesty-lemon-biscuits-1

As wife to a CrossFit mad man with an insatiable appetite and very little self-control when it comes to indulging his sweet tooth, I often struggle to strike a balance between filling the cupboard with baking and not filling his bloodstream with copious amounts of sugar.

It’s simple – I love baking and he loves eating it. Every weekend we have new sweet treats tucked away in the cupboard. But just because it’s sweet doesn’t mean it has to be sugary – in fact, it doesn’t necessarily need to have any sugar at all to taste amazing.

Just look at these delicious zesty lemon biscuits. They’re soft, packed with lemony punch and are topped with just the right amount of creamy lemon icing – and are totally sugar-free. Yip – they are topped with icing but don’t have a single grain of refined sugar in sight. Pretty magic, right?

Read More »

Sugar-free raspberry & lemon crumble slice (+GIVEAWAY)

natvia-raspberry-crumble-slice-1

While decadent sweet treats are undeniably delicious, sometimes what you really need stashed away in the cupboard is a treat that still feels like a treat, but isn’t going to put you into a sugar coma. Something that’s a healthier option, tastes amazing, and is easy to make without needing to buy countless hard-to-find speciality ingredients.

Sounds a bit like an impossible brief, right? Wrong – this delish raspberry and lemon crumble slice ticks every single one of those boxes. Imagine a crumbly biscuit base slathered in a thick coating of baked raspberries and topped with a crumble of biscuit.

Oh, and it’s totally free of refined sugar. Good, huh?

Read More »

Honey and lemon cupcakes

honey-and-lemon-cupcakes-1

We are very lucky to have a beautiful, big lemon tree in our garden that’s literally been bursting with fresh lemons every day since we moved in last year – there are so many that the branches hang low under the weight of them all!

It’s so handy having dozens of fresh lemons at your fingertips – especially when you’re baking! As I was looking out at the fruit-laden tree this morning I decided it was time to pluck a couple and do a bit of lemon baking – combine that with the delicious honey toast I was enjoying at the time, and you can see where the idea for these cupcakes came from!

These fresh and flavoursome honey and lemon cupcakes are a real delight to enjoy on the crisp, misty days we’ve been having lately – they’re the perfect ‘pick me up’. Packed with the deliciously light flavours of fresh honey and lemon from the cake to the icing, these cupcakes are truly special – and still really simple to make!

Last week was National Honey Week, so now’s a great time to pick up your favourite variety of Kiwi honey and get baking – plus let’s be honest, honey is always a good idea! The delicious flavours of your favourite honey really shine through in these cupcakes, while a dash of lemon in the cake and a generous dollop of lemon curd filling help add a little tang to cut through the sweetness. It’s the perfect combo.

I hope you enjoy this National Honey Week recipe – happy baking!

honey-and-lemon-cupcakes-2

Ingredients

Honey and lemon cupcakes

  • 112g butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup buttermilk (½ cup milk + 1 Tbsp white vinegar)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup lemon curd, for filling

Honey buttercream

  • 150g butter, softened
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp milk

Method

Honey and lemon cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius and fill a 12-hole cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Place butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  3. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Alternate between adding flour mixture and buttermilk to egg mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix well between each addition.
  4. Add honey and lemon juice and mix until well combined.
  5. Spoon mixture into cupcake cases until ¾ full. Place in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.
  6. Once cool, cut a small wedge out of the centre of each cupcake and set aside. Fill with 1 tsp of lemon curd. Trim the wedges you’ve set aside to thin discs, and place on top of lemon curd to fill the gap.

Honey buttercream

  1. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until very pale and creamy. Add honey and mix until well combined.
  2. Add icing sugar and milk and beat until smooth and creamy. Pipe onto prepared cupcakes.

Blueberry & lemon baked doughnuts

blueberry-and-lemon-doughnuts-1

Berries are without a doubt one of my favourite things about this time of year – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries… whatever the berry, I’m all over it! Luckily for a berry-beast like me they’re also super affordable at this time of year – so much so that our veggie drawer is absolutely packed with punnets of them at this very moment.

While berries are great as a grab-and-go snack, they’re equally as wonderful incorporated into your favourite baking – and when you use them in homemade doughnuts? Well that’s pretty much as good as it gets.

That’s where these blueberry and lemon baked doughnuts come in – they are absolutely delicious. Seriously, it took all my willpower not to eat every single one! The combination of tangy lemon with delicious bursts of sweet blueberries is a match made in heaven – and one that’s super easy to pull together at this time of year.

Read More »