No-Bake Pink Lemonade Cheesecake Pie

This Pink Lemonade Cheesecake Pie is a light and creamy delightful cheesecake that's equal parts sweet, tart, and totally refreshing.It’s obvious I love lemon. But I don’t really specify where I like that lemon.

Much like how people dislike fruits in their dessert, I dislike lemon in my dinner. I don’t do savory lemon. Savory lemon is dead to me.

Lemon has zero place near my chicken. It should not be near pepper. In my eyes, shrimp and lemon had a falling out forever ago and are no longer on speaking terms. Likewise, it shouldn’t be zested on green beans or mixed with rice. It should stay among its friends in the desserts world, like cakes and pies and tarts and cookies where it belongs. All you people with your lemon chicken and rice make me shudder.

Sweet lemon is where it’s at! You can’t turn down sweet lemon; it’s your BFF, your confidant, your — perhaps I spend too much time alone with food. But seriously, sweet lemon is awesome and I love it best when it’s mixed with butter, sugar, cream, or white chocolate… among anything else in which it’s transformed into a heavenly dessert.

Sweet lemon doesn’t betray my taste-buds like lemon pepper chicken does. Seriously? Lemon and pepper and garlic? Nooooooo. It hurts my heart. But lemon and butter and white chocolate? Doable. Totally doable.

This Pink Lemonade Cheesecake Pie is a light and creamy delightful cheesecake that's equal parts sweet, tart, and totally refreshing.And this cheesecake pie? So insanely doable, it may as well make itself and just about does. It’s so simple, you guys. It’s a mere 5 ingredients – 6 if you count freshly grated lime – and it comes together in seconds, albeit needing time to chill. And chill we can — because I am obsessed with this luscious, lemony dessert and have been eating pretty much straight from the middle with a spoon after I took these pictures. You all should be so glad you don’t have behind-the-scenes footage of me after photo shoots. Dear lawwwwdddd help me and the food I shovel into my pie-hole so I don’t have to put it away.

(And is it just me, or is putting things away always THE WORST? Putting away your clean laundry, putting away the clean dishes, putting away the groceries, unpacking your suitcase… it is TERRIBLE. I would rather sacrifice my growing thighs than throw some pie back in the freezer. True story).

This Pink Lemonade Cheesecake Pie is a light and creamy delightful cheesecake that's equal parts sweet, tart, and totally refreshing.Anywhooooo, this pie is fab and you should make it. It’d make a great Easter dessert! So dooooo it. Be Team Lemon with me!

This Pink Lemonade Cheesecake Pie is a light and creamy delightful cheesecake that's equal parts sweet, tart, and totally refreshing.

No-Bake Pink Lemonade Cheesecake Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Pie
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
This sweet and easy Pink Lemonade Cheesecake Pie comes together in just a few simple steps and tastes fabulous! Sweet, creamy, tart and light, it's the perfect refreshing dessert for any occasion.
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 oz (half of can) pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 prepared or homemade graham cracker pie shell
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese, condensed milk, and pink lemonade concentrate with a handheld electric mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds. Turn up the speed to medium and cream for about 1-2 minutes or until combined and smooth.
  2. Add in the Cool Whip and lime zest and continue beating the mixture until it's completely smooth, light and fluffy, or about 2-3 minutes. The mixture will thicken up as it mixes.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and place in the freezer to set, about 3 hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer and cut into slices just before serving; store leftovers in the freezer. Pies taste perfect after about 5 minutes at room temperature.

This Pink Lemonade Cheesecake Pie is a light and creamy delightful cheesecake that's equal parts sweet, tart, and totally refreshing.This pie is everything. Sweet, tart, light and luscious, it has everything you could want in a creamy, refreshing dessert: ease of preparation, fantastic flavor, no-bake(!!) and it looks pretty. What more do you want?

*Tip: You could easily make this pie lower-calorie, lower-sugar, and/or lower-fat by using Cool Whip Free or Cool Whip Sugar Free, Fat-Free Sweetened Condensed Milk, Fat-Free Cream Cheese, and Low-Sugar Pink Lemonade Concentrate. 
This Pink Lemonade Cheesecake Pie is a light and creamy delightful cheesecake that's equal parts sweet, tart, and totally refreshing.

Have a super sweet day!!

xo, Hayley

 

 

Lemon Bar Cupcakes

Lemon Bar Cupcakes are light, luscious lemon cupcakes filled with lemon curd filling and topped with a lemon bar filling frosting! The ultimate cupcake for a lemon lover! love lemon desserts. They’re easily one of my favorites in anything – cakes, cookies, bars, you name it. And lemon totally reminds me of springtime, but without the allergies, sinus infections, pollen everywhere, and random days of hot weather that spring usually brings.

All that I can do without.

And one of the first things I baked when I first started baking was lemon bars. Well… my version of lemon bars. It was simply lemon cake mix, baked into a bar recipe, and studded with white chocolate chips. They were so simple but so delicious, and to this day they’re still one of my family’s favorite recipes.

Lemon Bar Cupcakes are light, luscious lemon cupcakes filled with lemon curd filling and topped with a lemon bar filling frosting! The ultimate cupcake for a lemon lover! These Lemon Bar Cupcakes get their name because they have lemon bar filling inside the cupcake and in the luscious frosting. They’re sweet, tart, and bursting with lemon flavor from that irresistible lemon bar filling, and they have just the right hint of crunch and sparkle from the yellow sugar sprinkled on top.

Springtime in a cupcake – with no traces of allergies? Sign me up!

Lemon Bar Cupcakes are light, luscious lemon cupcakes filled with lemon curd filling and topped with a lemon bar filling frosting! The ultimate cupcake for a lemon lover!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Bar Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
These Lemon Bar Cupcakes get their name from the lemon bar filling in the cupcake and in the frosting! Luscious, light, and bursting with flavor, these cupcakes epitomize springtime!
Ingredients
  • 1 box lemon cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 1 small box lemon pudding mix (just the dry mix - I used sugar free, but you can use any kind)
  • 1 can Duncan Hines Lemon Pie Filling
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • About 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • Yellow sanding sugar, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350* degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 paper liners. Set aside. Meanwhile, prepare the cake mix according to package directions on back of box. Stir in the lemon dry pudding mix to incorporate.
  2. Fill each muffin tin about ¾ of the way full with the batter. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the cupcakes completely.
  3. Using a small paring knife or a cupcake corer, core the cupcakes and discard centers, being careful not to puncture through the cupcake's bottom. You only want to core about halfway through the cupcake. Fill with some of the lemon pie filling.
  4. Now, to make your frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, vanilla extract, and ⅓ cup of the lemon pie filling until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. You may not need all of the powdered sugar. If frosting becomes too thick, add in a little more lemon pie filling.
  5. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag attached with a large open-star tip. Begin piping the frosting onto the cupcakes, taking care to cover the lemon filling in the center. Sprinkle immediately with the yellow sanding sugar. Serve immediately, or store cupcakes airtight at room temperature for up to a day, or airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Lemon Bar Cupcakes are light, luscious lemon cupcakes filled with lemon curd filling and topped with a lemon bar filling frosting! The ultimate cupcake for a lemon lover!

Lemon Bar Cupcakes are light, luscious lemon cupcakes filled with lemon curd filling and topped with a lemon bar filling frosting! The ultimate cupcake for a lemon lover! You guys – I cannot emphasize enough at how marvelous these cupcakes are! So light and fluffy, with that creamy lemon bar frosting and the gooey lemon bar filling. These are the ultimate springtime lemon cupcakes for a lemon dessert lover!

Lemon Bar Cupcakes are light, luscious lemon cupcakes filled with lemon curd filling and topped with a lemon bar filling frosting! The ultimate cupcake for a lemon lover! Hope you have a sweet Sunday!

xo, Hayley

 

The Easiest Lemon Tarts

LemonTartsI struggle to call this a recipe since it’s about the furthest thing from it.

You know when you just happen to throw something together and of course everyone raves over it and asks for the recipe and you’re like, “um, I put ground sausage in my boxed stuffing mix” and they treat you like the Second Coming? Yeah, this is exactly that except minus sausage and stuffing and add lemon curd and sugar cookie dough.

I mean, not even a thing. But it’s totally a thing. Congrats, are you thoroughly confused now?

The best part about this faux-recipe is that it’s so simple and so… rustic. Rustic isn’t the right word but you know what I mean, right? Where you just throw it together effortlessly like some kind of chic baker without a care in your breezy world. Even though we all know ‘effortless’ is just a crap term for “I spent two hours arranging these organic, freshly-picked-from-my-garden tulips just-so in this makeshift mason jar vase with a raffia ribbon.” Or, “oh this top knot? I only had to watch 18 hours of YouTube tutorials before I could master taking my Lauren-Conrad-esque hair and piling it into this messy-yet-chic bun. Totes easy.”

But rustic almost implies lazy, like “I didn’t give two craps about the way this chicken looks, so eff it, I’m calling it rustic” …and everyone swoons. Wood paneling you didn’t feel like putting a second coat of paint on — hell, call it rustic. People will understand. It’s art, man. Don’t box me into your perfectionist world, dude.

I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. BUT I do know that you and I must make these tartlets together because not only are they adorable and bite-sized, but they’re friggin’ delicious. Rustic laziness or not.

Irresistible two-ingredient tarts. If that’s not effortless, I dunno what is.

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The Easiest Lemon Tarts
Author: 
Recipe type: Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Two ingredient Lemon Tarts are both refreshing and delicious! Feel free to top them with powdered sugar, as shown, meringue, or even fresh whipped cream.
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg (24 cookie count) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, at room temperature
  • 1 jar lemon curd (or use your own homemade version, you effortless person, you)
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional but recommended)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 24-cavity miniature muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Using your fingers, gently flatten each ball of dough and press it into each muffin cavity, going up the sides of the cavity to create a small bowl of dough. Repeat with remaining dough and bake for approx. 10-12 minutes or until the edges are light brown.
  3. Allow the sugar cookie cups to cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes. While they cool, very gently press your thumb or the handle of a wooden spoon into the center of each cookie cup to create a well; this will be filled with the curd. Once the cups have cooled some, use a knife to run along the edges of the cups to gently lift them out of the pan. Allow the cups to cool on a wire rack completely.
  4. Once cups are cooled, fill with about a teaspoon of lemon curd. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar if you'd like. Serve immediately.

DSC_0441ASo effortless, even Lauren Conrad would approve.

Have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley

Lemon Pistachio Pound Cake

lemonpoundcakeLemon is one of those dessert flavors I can’t get enough of.

Lemon cake, lemon ice cream, lemon bars… the list goes on.

And tons of flavors pair beautifully with lemon as well.  Coconut, white chocolate, dark chocolate, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, lime, almond, pistachios…

I really love pairing lemon with another flavor because the two complement each other so well, and because I like mixing it up from time to time.

So when Diamond of California sent me some pre-shelled pistachios, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them (that is, if I could manage to avoid eating the entire bag!).

DSC_0249ADiamond’s Shelled Pistachios are a dream come true for any pistachio lover.  Instead of those pesky shells, dried out fingertips and risk of nail-breakage when trying to get to your beloved pistachio, Diamond made things easier with these bags of pre-shelled pistachios.  AKA, the best invention ever.  (Seriously, my fingers are thanking you).

The result is all the snacking your nutty heart desires without any risks, only delicious rewards.  Can’t beat that!

DSC_0247AAnd when sprinkled liberally on top of this luscious, moist lemon pound cake?  HEAVEN.  If you’ve never tried pistachios and lemon before, please make it a priority to make this cake!  If this cake doesn’t scream summertime, I don’t know what does.

DSC_0245A

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Pistachio Pound Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Summery, bright lemon pound cake gets a fun twist from nutty, sweet pistachios in this decadent pound cake!
Ingredients
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • FOR GLAZE:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Shelled pistachios, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease two 9x5" loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, eggs and lemon juice with a handheld electric mixer until combined. Spread the batter evenly among the pans.
  3. Bake for approx. 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs, no batter. Cool for about 20 minutes in the pan before inverting the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Once cooled, place the cakes over a wax paper lined surface for easy clean up. Whip up the lemon juice + powdered sugar in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the loaf cakes, then sprinkle with pistachios. Serve!

DSC_0248AThis pound cake couldn’t be more delicious!  The cake itself is super dense, loaded with tons of moisture from the extra eggs, milk and oil.  It has great, bright lemon flavor from the freshly squeezed lemon juice and that sweet/tart glaze.  And the pistachios brighten everything up with their beautiful green color and that nutty crunch.  This cake would be awesome at a summertime brunch, or even with a scoop of sorbet or vanilla ice cream after a BBQ.

Have a delicious weekend!

xo, Hayley

Full disclosure: Diamond of California generously provided me with a package of their Shelled Pistachios to sample.  I created the recipe on my own for Diamond, and all opinions expressed are 100% my own.  I was not otherwise compensated for this post. 

Guiltless Lemon Coconut Cake

lemoncoconutHave you guys heard of Poshmark?

It’s kind of like eBay but pretty much consists of girlie clothes, shoes and accessories.  People sell things in their “closets” that they no longer want, but you can also work out trades or bundles with the sellers, and there’s no bidding required.  In other words, it’s pretty much my new favorite website.  However, there’s something eerily strange about Poshmark.

You see, when you order something, you pay for the item via Poshmark.  Poshmark holds onto the funds until the person ships the product and until you receive the product.  Once you get the product, you have to go into Poshmark and accept that you’ve received it.  It’s only then that the person gets their money.  Make sense?

However, what’s really weird is that every time I’ve ordered from Poshmark, I’ll always get an email and text reminder from them saying, “looks like your item has been delivered!  Please accept your item!” … literally SECONDS after the doorbell rings.  I’ll open the door, see the postman walking away, be reaching for my package, and bing!  Poshmark.

I get that they probably have a tracking ID on their packages or something, but have you ever had a package literally be absolutely, 100%, on-the-money correct when it’s been delivered?  Not I.  In fact, with most services, it won’t even update in the system that the item’s been delivered until a day later.  Or it’ll say ‘delivered’, but it won’t come for another couple hours.  But Poshmark is like.. the very second it happens, they know.

Which makes me wonder — is Poshmark really just an elaborate scheme for a 1984 kind of deal?  Is Poshmark Big Brother, watching our every moves?  Encouraging us to share and trade clothing with one another while tracking where we live?  Because how ELSE would they know to text me a reminder THE VERY SECOND I reach for my package?  Hm??  It’s like they have microscopic cameras installed around my house now or something.  Or maybe the postman is in on their grand operation to take over the world.

He probably hops back into his mail truck, alerts the Poshmark people over his walkie talkie that I’ve received the package, “now commence Operation Watchdog” and they know to send that text so I know that they know that I know they’re watching me.  Or something.

Or maybe I should stop online shopping.  Probably.  But then again, what kind of world would that be?

DSC_0195AAnywho, if Poshmark knows where I live — that’s one thing.  But if they start breakin’ in and stealing my Lemon Coconut Cake, that’s another.  This cake is easily one of my new favorites!  Lemon cake is just so reminiscent of springtime, and who can resist a light and tender cake bursting with fresh citrusy flavor?  And don’t even get me started on the coconut frosting.  It. Is. Phenomenal.  Light as a cloud, super fluffy, and loaded with coconutty goodness.  Paired together, the two make quite a team!  AND did I mention the cake is guiltless?

Now sit back, relax, and let this cake take over your world.

DSC_0201A

4.3 from 3 reviews
Guiltless Lemon Coconut Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Enjoy this spring-y, refreshing lemon coconut cake without the guilt! Smart ingredient swaps make this indulgent cake guilt-free!
Ingredients
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 & ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 small box sugar free/fat free instant lemon pudding mix
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (about one medium-sized lemon)
  • 1 box instant coconut pudding mix
  • 1 cup cold fat-free milk
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces fat free or reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip Free, thawed
  • Shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease two 9" cake pans with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, egg whites, water, applesauce, lemon pudding mix and lemon zest with a handheld electric mixer until combined. Portion the batter evenly among the two greased cake pans and bake for approximately 18-20 minutes or until the cakes spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before gently inverting them onto wire racks to cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, make your frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the coconut pudding, powdered sugar and milk and whisk until smooth. Stir in the cream cheese until combined. Then fold in the whipped topping into the mixture. Refrigerate the frosting until ready to serve, or about 1 hour.
  4. Place a cake round on a serving platter or cake stand. Top with HALF of the frosting mixture, spreading it just to about the border -- don't actually spread to the border or else it'll all mush out. Top with the remaining cake and frost the top. Generously pat on the shredded coconut to cover the top and sides of the cake. Serve!

DSC_0202AThis frosting is one of my favorites of all time!  I originally used it on my Lite Triple Coconut Cupcakes and fell in love.  It’s so soft, luscious and light, and sweet but not cloyingly so, thanks to the tang of the cream cheese.  I also love the raw chew of coconut, but if you’d rather, a crunchy toasted coconut would rock!  Plus, it totally makes this cake heavenly and pairs swimmingly with the bright burst of lemon!  If you’re a lemon fan, you oughta try this cake!  This would make adorable cupcakes, too! :)

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley

 

 

Lavender Lemon Cookies

lavenderlemon

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if Bravo showed up on my doorstep and asked me if they could film a REAL Real Housewives and I’d be in it. Granted, I’m neither a housewife, wife, or house, but if we could get past the semantics, I’m sure it’d be a hit.

Introducing Real Housewife of Rocklin:

“I like to have fun, but only before 9pm — I have to be on my game for work tomorrow.”

“I worked too hard on this clean house for dog hair and soda cans to ruin it now.”

“Money doesn’t give you class…it just gives you a panic attack when you realize you have none in your bank account.”

“Patience is a virtue, and I’m neither patient nor virtuous when it comes to dinner.”

Enter HAYLEY, real “housewife.” HAYLEY wakes up at 530 am every Friday morning for, you guessed it, grocery shopping. “If I go grocery shopping during the day, I become homicidal. Unfortunately, it isn’t within my imaginary-husband’s budget to afford someone to buy our groceries or cook our food. So I have to do it in between taking care of my son, Mannie, and making sure all of my family’s favorite shows are constantly being DVR’d at the right times.”

HAYLEY arrives at Walmart, her store of choice, at 6am on the dot.  She wanders through the aisles purchasing stuff for dinners throughout the week. Among the items in her cart are gourmet ingredients for things like Lasagna (all conveniently contained within a box labeled ‘Hamburger Helper’)chicken nuggets (also known as what her family would subsist on if she wasn’t cooking gourmet dinners like Hamburger Helper), and frozen fruit, because dammit if Walmart thinks she’d actually spend $5 on a carton of fresh raspberries. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

HAYLEY runs into one of her employee friends, RINA, at the store. HAYLEY and RINA begin chatting about their plans for the day.

“Well, I have to go to work later, then come home and cook dinner,” HAYLEY says. “I mean, what 22 year old doesn’t cook dinner for her family? But afterwards, I hear Juicy Couture is having a sale so I am going to the Galleria to check it out.”

“That sounds like fun,” RINA replies as she scans a two-dollar bottle of Rose.

RINA finishes scanning HAYLEY’S family’s groceries and gives her the total. HAYLEY searches feverishly in her oversized purse for her COUPON BOOK. Within COUPON BOOK holds precious money-saving gems HAYLEY clips every Sunday. And HAYLEY is well aware she bought four cans of green chiles for some reason and HAYLEY knows she has a coupon in here somewhere. HAYLEY extracts a small stack of coupons and places them on RINA’S checkstand. 

“You didn’t buy two packages of hot dogs, did you?” RINA asks.

“Yes! I swear I did because I knew I had the coupon so I purposefully bought the name brand!!” HAYLEY exclaims. 

“And this coupon is expired,” RINA says with a note of sadness in her voice. HAYLEY curses under her breath for not checking the coupon dates, but also because she knew she had a coupon for that shampoo and bought it strictly because of the coupon which is now expired and that shampoo was like, $8 which is a total freaking rip off because it’s just HAIR and isn’t paying $30 every 8 weeks for a haircut ENOUGH?!

Later, HAYLEY is at the mall where she goes into JUICY COUTURE to check out their sale. HAYLEY is known for having what she calls NON-RICH-PERSON-DENIAL which means HAYLEY thinks she is rich and can afford even the deepest clearances at JUICY COUTURE but actually is friggin’ poor. Unbeknownst to HAYLEY, there is a dress in JUICY COUTURE she is able to afford by some act of magical generosity from the FASHION GODS. JUICY COUTURE senses HAYLEY’S denial disease and, to make her feel better, puts the dress in an unusually large bag so everyone in the mall will think HAYLEY is loaded. 

HAYLEY exits the store only to cross paths with a woman carrying an even larger bag from LOUIS VUITTON. The woman looks at HAYLEY and gives a small smile as if to say, “that’s cute that you still shop at JUICY COUTURE. Good for you for staying within your budget.” HAYLEY goes home, watches Real Housewives of Beverly Hills while simultaneously shoveling chips in her mouth and drinking cheap wine from a TUPPERWARE cup. NEXT WEEK, HAYLEY tries bribing the people in the meat department at Walmart with cookies so they’ll lower the cost per pound of chicken. Do they really think money grows on trees? Why is chicken so frickin’ expensive? WHAT THE HELL.

And you should know, that somehow in my real housewifeness I managed to make some pretty damn elegant cookies, y’all. They have lavender in them which obviously is eaten by rich and fancy people, thus making you rich and fancy by associating yourself with lavender-desserts. You’re welcome.

DSC_0333Now remember, life isn’t all Lavender Lemon Cookies and cheap wine, but it should be.

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Lavender Lemon Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Did you know lavender is edible? And did you know it gives cookies magical powers? It's science, people.
Ingredients
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1-2 Tbsp dried lavender flowers (yes, they're edible), plus more for sprinkling, if desired
  • (Scant) ¼ cup lavender syrup (I found mine at a local coffee shop by the brand Monin)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, and oil until well blended. Stir in the white chocolate chips, lavender flowers and lavender syrup to combine.
  3. Drop Tablespoonfuls of dough 2" apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for approx. 10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through bake time, until centers are just set and cookies are lightly golden. Cool on the sheets for approx. 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. If desired, sprinkle tops of cookies with remaining flowers. Store leftover cookies airtight, at room temperature, up to a week.

 

DSC_0336I have a HUGE infatuation with lavender. I love it in my perfumes, in my bedroom, and even in my laundry detergent. When I spotted the Monin Lavender syrup, I couldn’t resist it and knew immediately I wanted to pair this delicate, floral flavor with bright and citrusy lemon. I have to say, it was a good idea! The lemon flavor is the forefront flavor in these buttery, tender cookies. However, there’s a subtle hint of lavender, thanks to the concentrated syrup and the flowers peeking through the dough. Don’t worry–it doesn’t taste like you bit into a lavender plant, but if you’re looking for a stronger flavor here, try adding a Tablespoon of more syrup at a time, or add more leaves. I just wanted something light and subtle.

DSC_0339And I just have to say, after baking these cookies on my Heirloom Cookie Sheets, I fell in love all over again with the bakeware! I didn’t even need to use a silicone liner OR grease the cookie sheet–I just dropped the delicate balls of dough onto the sheet as-is and baked with confidence. The results were perfection: no burnt bottoms, no messed up cookies–everything looked and tasted flawless, and cleanup was easy (yay!)! If you haven’t picked up an Heirloom yet, you should!

Have a wonderful day!!

xo, Hayley

 

Lemon White Chocolate Cranberry Bars, Food & Wine Giveaway, and a #TopChef Review!

lemoncranberry

Let’s talk TV, shall we?

Do you guys love #TopChef as much as I do? Because forreals, I am kinda sorta obsessed.

I’ve always thought about signing up for Top Chef, but it’s like, the ultimate cooking show. Those chefs are the real deal, and frankly, if there’s no cake mix around, I kind of get itchy. And fresh fish. Don’t make me tell you that story about how I fainted at the fish hatchery.

Anyway, in the most recent episode, the Chefs opened up with a really fun Quickfire featuring Reynolds wrap where their entire kitchen was wrapped in foil–including the ingredients. Immediately seeing this, I went into panic mode. Knowing me, I’d choose the STUPIDEST ingredients EVER, like fish sauce and cinnamon and green onions or something.

Kristen, who’s one of my favorite Cheftestants, made an awesome sponge cake using a makeshift pan out of foil. I was so impressed with some of the creativity in which the Chefs used the foil! It makes me feel like only foil-lining my pans is super lame when Bart straight-up made a colander. I meaaaan, Calphalon-who?

For the Elimination Challenge, the Chefs were asked to go head-to-head in a berry challenge, each team getting a different berry to feature in a dish. Gooseberries, tayberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries were the berries of choice–and they all made me drool over my lap. Seriously, berries are my, er, jam. I love them. And I instantly starting brainstorming all the berry recipes I’ve had on this here blog…(#TopChef here I come??)

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Berries are kind of those perfect fruits that can go with almost anything. Whether it’s savory, sweet, rich, or light, they kind of transcend into every dish and every occasion. I mean, hello, popcorn, donuts, cupcakes, pie? They are a do-everything kinda super food, and the Chefs definitely proved it with their assortment of creative dishes (Lizzie’s cabbage roll with bacon–OH MY WORD). And Kristen’s fabulous dessert berry dish with the olive oil-soaked berries? Um, was she checking out my blog post about Blackberry Wine Olive Oil Cupcakes beforehand or what??

With the holidays practically here, Bravo and Food & Wine Magazine also want to spread some last-minute holiday cheer by giving away one lucky reader a one year subscription to Food & Wine Magazine! All you have to do is answer me this: What is your favorite holiday recipe(s?) Links welcome! A winner will be selected at random on Christmas Eve, 12/24. All entrants must provide a valid email :)

And since Christmas is approaching and cranberry is quite popular during this time of year, I decided to make a super easy, festive Christmas bar you can literally whip up in minutes. With less than five minutes prep, 20 minutes of bake time and a simple dusting of powdered sugar, you’ll be out of the kitchen and sticking your face into this pan of heavenly goodliness–or in the glossy pages of Food & Wine–in no time :)

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Lemon White Chocolate Cranberry Bars, Food & Wine Giveaway, and a #TopChef Review!
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
I am in LOVE with using Craisins in desserts. The slightly sweet, slightly tart cranberries add a burst of color and texture to these sweet lemon bars!
Ingredients
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Craisins
  • Powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" pan with foil, extending the sides over the edges of the pan. Mist very lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs and oil until blended. Stir in the white chocolate chips and Craisins to combine. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until the middle is set and the edges are lightly golden. Cool completely.
  3. Dust the tops of the cooled bars with powdered sugar, if desired. Cut into bars and serve!

 

DSC_0032These bars are moist, refreshing, and SO simple to whip up. I love the combination of the sweet lemon cake base with the creamy pockets of white chocolate and the pop of the tangy, tart cranberries studded throughout these chewy, delicious bars. Now if only cranberry had been a choice for the Top Chef berry challenge, I think I would have won, but then again, I am pretty biased :)

If you have yet to see this episode of #TopChef, be sure to check out this teaser clip from the episode. Remember, Top Chef airs on Wednesday nights at 10/9c on Bravo. You can also visit Bravotv.com for interviews, pictures, cast blogs, episode guides, and more!! Or live Tweet during the show at @BravoTopChef using the hashtag #TopChef. And if you’re super sad about the eliminated chefs, fear not! Top Chef is offering them another chance during their Last Chance Kitchen. You can tweet your favorite chef back into the competition–it’s easy!! (Psst, I’m voting for #savechefcj!!)

Preview Clip: Episode 7

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Bravo.

Happy Thursday!!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, I am part of Bravo and Top Chef’s A-Listers program in which I provide reviews of Top Chef. All opinions are 100% my own.

Lemon Pound Cake

You know how when you’re a kid and you loved fish and chips–like, almost as much as you loved Barbie dolls and the color pink and Scooby Doo reruns? And then you went to Mel’s Diner with your family and you ordered the fish and chips and were so excited to bite into that flaky fish and those crunchy fries. And by the time it came your little kid self was practically bouncing off the walls stoked and you took a big, greasy bite of fish and wait, what the hell is that?

A bone?

A bone in my fish?

Whaaa-why–how?

And then you spent the next half hour hurling in the bathroom because you saw a bone inside of your fish filet? And then you swore you’d never eat fish filets again?

That’s kinda sorta how I felt–very sadly–about the soft pretzel I got off a street cart yesterday in San Francisco.

I had a hankering for one and, after walking around and checking out the Betsey Johnson clearance (which was sadly–no joke–nothing but hangers and old sale posters), we found a cart parked outside Union Square boasting juicy hot dogs and thick pretzels. Yum, right?

Plus, people are all over food carts nowadays. The term “roach coach” is a thing of the past. People can now trust food carts. It’s trendy, and trendy things never hurt people… right?

Wrong!

A good ten minutes after finishing the pretzel, I wished the pretzel would just finish me. Seriously poisoned or something. I was dying. It was awful. And being in a foreign city having just consumed a tainted pretzel? No. Bueno.

Especially since Jessie and I had dined at a rinky-dink Brazilian cafe just hours before. I’ve had the food in the past and I’ve been fine, and it was no different today. In fact, the first time we approached the fort-like, run-down structure, I immediately thought of that scene in Bridesmaids when they had Brazilian food and there were some, er, consequences. But thankfully, the food was great and it only reassured my trust in tiny buildings on street corners no larger than a backyard shed that sell THE BEST FOOD OF YOUR LIFE.

However, street pretzels are not the best food. Ever. And now I never want to see a pretzel again.

Although when I got home, I did find comfort in knowing I had this Lemon Pound Cake waiting for me. Lemon is my favorite flavor of cake and I never pass up a piece of lemon cake–so long as I know it’s dense, moist and totally refreshing. Personally, I’m a cake girl over a frosting girl (blasphemy for some of you, I know) and sometimes I find frosting is too cloying for delicate lemon cake. Powdered sugar does it juuuust fine for me, thank you!

So I may or may not have consoled myself with a couple fat slices smothered in snowy sugar… after all, you hafta replace one carb with another, right? :)

Lemon Pound Cake *inspired by Stephanie Ashcraft’s recipe in her book 101 Things To Do with a Cake Mix

1 lemon cake mix
1 small box lemon instant pudding mix
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs
Powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a bundt pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, blend together the cake mix, pudding, lemon juice, sour cream, oil, applesauce and eggs with a mixer for 5-6 minutes or until creamy and well blended. Batter will be very thick. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for approx. 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with light moist crumbs. Do not overbake! Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before carefully inverting the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Dust the cake with powdered sugar. Store leftover cake airtight for approx. 1-2 days. Cake may be refrigerated, airtight, if desired.

At first, I was unsure of why I needed sour cream, oil and applesauce, but somehow, the trio works well in making such a dense yet perfectly moist cake. Pound cake without butter but just as perfectly rich? Who knew?!

Have a wonderful Tuesday!!

xo, Hayley

Lemon-Strawberry Petit Fours

I live in the “new” part of my town.

I doubt any building in this area is over fifteen years old, homes included, and that’s fine by me. I like newer communities, personally.

When we lived in our old house, it was just that–an old house, dating the early 50’s. When new homes popped up nearby, I was SOOO jealous of the obviously rich people living in the big, new looking homes.

Of course, I also assumed everyone who lived in one was rich but now know that’s not the case, but whatev. If you could afford a home with two bathrooms, you were rich in my book!

Now, to get to the “older” area of town (where my college is and nearby where Jessie lives) I have to go through residential neighborhoods on particularly long stretch of roads Jessie and I call “Death Valley” because it’s annoying and 25mph the whole way and feels like it takes FOREVER to get to the main road.

But one day, I found a shortcut street that no one drives down which means it doesn’t exist on the space/time continuum, obviously, and which means yours truly usually bends the speed limits a little and goes a couple notches above 25 (and by a couple, I mean in the 15-25 above that range).

I know it’s bad and against the law but I’m always looking out for kids and pedestrians and cops, of course. But it SO beats driving behind gramps or some goody two shoes who can’t bear to push the pedal beyond 23.

But lately, someone must have mentioned something to their fellow neighbors, friends, family, baristas, hairstylists, and everyone else in their address book, because now this street is ridiculously populated with cars ALL THE TIME. It’s like Death Valley, but worse, because this was like, my personal Nascar track and now it’s a slow-moving parade of cars.

So lame!!

So lately, I’ve been actually driving the speed limit (sorry, Mom!) and it’s kind of funny. In fact, yesterday, I turned down the street behind someone adamant about going below 25 and I nearly lost it until I realized, this is the actual speed limit. People are actually supposed to drive this fast.

It makes me wonder how they determine the speed limits, because in some regions of our town on residential streets, the speed limit is 35, or 40-45, even. How come some streets are 25 while others are 40? Are the people living on a 40 speed limit street like, more badass and mentally equipped to deal with people speeding down their street day and night? Are the 25’s only old people, kids and weirdos who do things by the book only??

Why can’t we just have hovercrafts already so I can just speed in the streets while everyone else flies in sky traffic?! It’s 2012. We are supposed to have Rosie-like maid robots like in The Jetsons and as far as I’m concerned, my brother is not named Rosie, nor a robot, nor vacuums so I’m kind of upset about this.

Anyway, my normal 15-minute commute was extended by a good 10 minutes because I drove the speed limit and the moral of the story is,  my annoyance and dislike for the speed limit is no excuse for speeding, BUT it does get me home quicker so I can make yummy treats like these super easy Lemon-Strawberry Petit Fours.

Do you know what petit fours are? Me either, except that they’re little stacked cakes, usually with a fruit jam or curd filling, and coated in candy coating or chocolate. They’re adorable, two-bite treats that remind me of miniature tea parties or something and only look super fancy. Sheesh, I used a prepackaged pound cake for crying out loud–this ain’t no black-tie affair, but it is a black-tie dessert made simple.

Plus, the cake-jam-coating mixture is totally versatile, so mix things up based on your taste preferences or what you have on hand.

Lemon-Strawberry Petit Fours

1 store-bought pound cake (can substitute your own recipe, if desired), cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick and crusts cut off
About 1/4 cup lemon curd
1/2 pkg white candy coating or almond bark
1 pkt Strawberry Shortcake Duncan Hines Flavor Creations Frosting Mix
Assorted sprinkles

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.
2. Cut each crustless pound cake slice in half, then in half again (making four square slices). Repeat process with remaining pound cake slices–just don’t use the end pieces. How many slices/pieces depends on the size of your pound cake, how thick your slices and how many you’ll get. Just know that three slices goes into one petit four.
3. Spread a small smidgen of lemon curd onto two squares and stack them. Stack an unfrosted square on top. You should have three stacked squares, two of which have curd. The top square should be dry. Repeat until all cakes are frosted and stacked. You may have squares leftover; eat those or save for another use.
4. Freeze the petit fours for approx. 1 hour until chilled and solid. In a large bowl, prepare the candy melts according to package directions until smooth and melted. Stir in the strawberry shortcake mix until combined.
5. Dip the frozen petit fours into the chocolate mix, coating thoroughly. Remove with a fork and allow excess to drip off before placing onto the foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with assorted sprinkles, pearls or jimmies. Repeat until all have been dipped and sprinkled. Allow the candy coating to harden before eating. Store leftovers airtight for about 2 days.

These make excellent little treats for coworkers, teachers, neighbors or friends–and like I said, the flavors are totally versatile. I love lemon & strawberry together since they’re so reminiscent of spring and are so fresh, but feel free to try chocolate and almond, key lime and lemon, raspberry and lemon, raspberry and white chocolate, strawberry and chocolate–whatever you like!

Have a wonderful day, my petite pals!

xo, Hayley

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

I have a problem with certain food descriptors.

Obviously, being a food blogger, I have to use certain words to get my point across. If I didn’t, you would probably decide for yourself whether the picture was appealing enough to recreate it at home, but isn’t it a lot easier if I just told you how warm and perfect these muffins are, or how I really can’t stop thinking about these because of their soft, moist texture and because baked sea salt and sweet butterscotch is the world’s greatest marriage?

See?

But those aren’t bad. Anything describing something as simply “delicious” or “decadent” or “sweet and salty” or what-have-you is good in my book.

It’s the weird, freaky stuff that gets me a little sour.

Let’s just say, there’s a BBQ joint near my house that gives out free cups with a drink purchase and, on the back, they boast how good their BBQ is. And they use the freaky adjectives that make me irk and squirm and in turn, make me prey to my dad and brother who love saying them in gross, banjo voices to bother me.

I know what you’re thinking: jeez, this girl is over-dramatic. What are these so-called “freaky” words? I think she’s making this up. She is SO weird. I swear, this is the LAST time I’m reading her crap. And what the hell is a banjo voice? She is obviously deranged and on drugs.

But no! I’m not. And I’ll tell you what a banjo voice is.

A banjo voice can best be described as a gross, hick-ish voice that would sound most accurate out of a man with a straw hat, more than 50% of his teeth missing, wearing a tattered red & white checkered shirt, overalls with only one overall-hooked in, and with bare feet, tapping them, while playing a banjo. And his feet would be weird and smell like cheddar, and you know how I feel about that…

Also, if you’re getting really into this like I am, he would walk like Cheddar Alladin. What the eff is “Cheddar Alladin”? Well, that’s when people walk with their feet thrusting out to the sides like Alladin does in the Disney movie. Almost like a duckling, but cheddar-y since Alladin was barefoot.

OHMYGOD I just lost all my readers. I am so so so sorry. This is what happens when you give me free speech. Whack jobs like me take advantage of it and start tainting your innocent minds to absolutely, positively THE CRAZIEST STUFF EVER.

I know you just came here for a recipe and I’m sorry I ruined Alladin for you. I’ll just give you the Lemon Cheesecake Bars recipe after my condensed list of weird, gross food words that should never, ever be used. Ever. Because I will think of banjo man and start freaking out.

Please Never Say These Things Around Me

Finger-licking
Toe-tapping
Gut-busting
Lip-smacking
Tongue-wagging
Any body part noun-ing
Moist* if anyone has a better word for moist, let me know. It’s obviously necessary to describe that a cake is moist (because otherwise, I’m implying it’s crumbly and dry) but it kind of reminds me of a sponge with bacteria on it sooooo… I need a new moist-replacement word.

Okay, I promise to never, ever talk again.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars *inspired by this recipe from Quick Cooking

For “shortbread” crust:
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg

For lemon cheesecake filling:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened slightly
1 can (7 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

Powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, melted butter and egg with a wooden spoon until blended; dough will be thick but on the wetter side. Spread 3/4 of the dough evenly into the bottom of the greased pan and bake for approx. 8 minutes while you prepare your filling.
3. For the filling, beat together the softened cream cheese, milk, egg, lemon juice and lemon zest with an electric mixer for approx. 1 minute or until blended and smooth. Pour the mixture into the par-baked crust. Sprinkle the additional dough on top of the filling mixture.
4. Bake for approx. 18-20 minutes or until the center is set. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Store covered in the fridge for about 1-2 days. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Pretty, pretty PLEASE still be my friend even though I am insane? I made you lemon bars and they’re not foot-stomping or tummy-tickling good or anything but they’re creamy and sweet and refreshing and I’m kind of obsessed with the faux-shortbread crust right now & I know you will be, too. ‘Cause we’re friends, and friends know sometimes the other friend can get crazy. Next time I’ll leave the Disney movies out of it, kay?

Forgive me?

Sure you do.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

xo, Hayley

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