Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What do you do when you finally run out of lemon curd?

You make some!  I finally got up to making my own lemon curd and just so happened to come by this recipe over at Baking Bites when I wasn't even looking for a lemon curd recipe yet!
Obviously what caught my eye was the fact that it was low fat lemon curd. The only fat in this recipe is from the egg.
I thought that surely there had to be a big difference between a lemon curd made with butter and a lemon curd made without, and there was a difference. I'll get to that later...
Here's what you need to make your own lemon curd-
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup sugar (original called for one more tablespoon of sugar)
1 egg (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon)

First combine the lemon juice, sugar, and lemon zest in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
On the side, whisk an egg thoroughly.
Then add sugar mixture in a steady stream whilst continually whisking the egg.
Add this mixture back to the sauce pan through a sieve.
And cook on low heat until its thickened up to your liking! (but a little less thick than to your liking because it will thicken even more as it cools.)
The original recipe said to wait till it came to boil, but mine never did and just continued to get thicker and thicker so I cut it off right around here._^
Then, take the pan off the heat and add  the vanilla extract. I didn't add as much as the original because I wanted the curd to keep it's tang.
Mine made about 1/3 cup.
After I put it in the(empty store bought lemon curd)  jar I added a dash of water to it because I think it got a little too thick on me.
I sampled the last smudge of the store bought lemon curd and then my lemon curd to compare the two. Wow! The low fat lemon curd actually tastes better! I did a blind taste test on my dad to see what he thought and he picked mine as the clear winner. After tasting the two side-by-side, it was clear that the store bought lemon curd's lemony flavor was clouded by the butter flavor that didn't really add much of anything, but actually took away. The low fat one is so intensely lemony!! I can't wait to try other curds, like lime curd or grapefruit curd..is there even such a thing?
I utilized my homemade lemon curd on a batch of lemon blueberry muffins that I wanted to make for my friend. She came over when I still had my first batch, tried one of them, and couldn't stop raving over them! When I told her they were fat free and whole wheat she exclaimed "how is that even possible? These are amazing!!"
I love those types of reactions :D
So I made her a batch to enjoy (and kept one for myself...for quality control, ya know...) sans the almonds cause she's semi-allergic.
Close up of the homemade lemon curd!

That looks like a swimming pool of good eats that I would love to just dive right into :P

I was in a "make food" mood, and my plans got canceled for the day, so I decided I would make my other friend mock girl scout cookies for her birthday that was a couple days ago. Her favorite are the Lemonades but I decided to go with her second favorite, Caramel de-Lites. Mostly because the Caramel de-Lites sounded more fun, and also because I couldn't find any recipes for Lemonades (and I was all lemoned out at the point!)
I used another recipe from Baking Bites! Nicole had a whole list of mock girl scout cookie recipes (I most definitely bookmarked the Thin Mints! Totally making those soon.) including the famed Caramel de-Lites. Though time consuming, I went with it anyway and just did a couple shorts cuts.

The cookie recipe is comprised of a shortbread base, caramel/coconut topping, and chocolate drizzle and dunk.
Since I didn't have a normal round cookie cutter ( I know, who am I?!) I just went the simple route and rolled the dough into balls and flattened them to around 1/4 inch thick. Unfortunately, they turned out pretty thin. Too thin to dunk in chocolate, so I went with plan B. I sandwiched the cookies and added a chocolate layer in between, then added the coconut topping. Everything was smooth sailing from there besides the fact that my coconut caramel mixture needed a lot more milk then called for. A slight drizzle of dark chocolate and these babies were done!
They may not completely resemble Samoas, but they're in the ballpark!
A flaky, buttery cookie sandwiched in between dark chocolate, topped with toasted coconut and caramel and then drizzled with more dark chocolate. Is your mouth watering yet?
I saved one for each of my family members to try and they absolutely loved them, which is always a good sign, but the real person to please was of course the friend I was giving them to.
Lets just say that 24 hours after I gave them to her, she told me she ate them all and couldn't stop because they were that good! Is that not incentive enough to head on over to Baking Bites and try out this recipe yourself? :D
***
The last thing I made on my day of free time was graham crackers! Well actually, I made the graham cracker dough only, because it has to sit in the fridge over night. I then made the actual graham crackers the day after.
I used this recipe from All Recipes because it seemed to have pretty good reviews and had a low butter to flour ratio (which I like).  I read reviews saying they were kind of bland but those were the minority, so I ignored them and went with the many reviews that raved them.
I followed this recipe exactly except I used butter instead of margarine (and you can bet I'll be trying Brummel & Brown next time!) whole wheat pastry flour instead of AP flour, and Graham flour instead of whole wheat flour. I figured that if I actually had graham flour that I had to use it in a graham cracker recipe! I also ended up adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt because I noticed the recipe called for none.
Here they are, all baked up!
Eh, I wasn't trying to be exact. But some turned out super purdy!
Some of them I rolled too thin, so you want to watch out for that (because then it turns into a wafer, not a cracker) and a few were a bit too thick and didn't cook at the same time as the rest of them. Consistency is key!
Next time I will probably add 1/2 or maybe even 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of cinnamon because these were a bit bland. I do really like them, but they don't really taste like graham crackers from the store. I couldn't stop eating them, though!
And of course I had to try them out in the classic s'more combo..
The easy way, with toasted marshmallow fluff and nutella. A little too sweet for me(because of the nutella), but it definitely brought back memories of good ol' s'mores. I tried another with dark chocolate chips melted a bit in the microwave that tasted even better.
When's the last time you had a real s'more with actual toasted marshmallows by the fire?

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