When you think of lemon bars, you probably picture the lemon curd-topped treats that make citrus-lovers’ mouths water. I love a good lemon bar – and I have a recipe for perfect ones – but that’s not the only lemon dessert out there when you’re in the mood for a little citrus. These Iced Lemon Bars are dense, tender cakes that are topped with a lemon icing. They’re bursting with lemon flavor, though you’ll probably only need a single lemon to make a batch, and they’ll satisfy a citrus craving every time.
The cake bars start with a batter that is flavored generously with lemon zest. The zest of a lemon is the colorful outer peel of the citrus fruit and it contains lots of lemon oil, which has a very concentrated lemon flavor. The best way to get the zest from your lemon is by using a microplane, which will get the zest off of one lemon in just a few seconds. It is possible to zest a lemon without using a microplane, but it takes a bit more time. One large lemon should provide enough zest for this recipe. Though there is no lemon juice in the cake batter, the icing is flavored using lemon juice, so just set the zested lemon aside after you use it for the cake batter to use when you’re ready to make the icing.
This cake almost has a pound cake-like texture to it and, though it is quite a bit lighter in texture than most pound cakes, it still uses quite a bit of butter. The batter will not rise as high as some other styles of cake, yielding a denser bar that is still very tender. It’s firm enough that you can pick up a slice and eat it out of hand, even though it can also be served with a fork.
The cake is baked in a 9×13-inch pan and should be cut into about 20 squares, but you can make them larger or smaller depending on the number of people you need to serve. The icing should be poured over the cake once it has cooled and spread into an even layer on top of the cake, which should be relatively flat after baking. I added a little sprinkle of lemon zest to the top of my cake to hint at the flavor, but feel free to dress it up by adding sprinkes, colored icing or even some edible flowers!
Iced Lemon Bars
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
10 tbsp butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup yogurt (or sour cream)
1 tbsp lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, yogurt and lemon zest, then gradually stir in the flour mixture until the batter comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before topping with the icing.
To make the icing: Whisk together confectioners’ sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Gradually add in additional lemon juice, if needed, to thin the icing to a pourable consistency. Pour over cooled cake and spread into an even layer. Allow icing to set for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Instant Pot Duo Plus is the next evolution in the Duo Series, the #1 best-selling cooker in the Instant Pot family. The Duo Plus 9-in-1 Programmable kitchen appliance with advanced microprocessor technology incorporates all of the great features that made the Duo the #1 best-seller. It has new and improved programs and features to continually support one’s fast-paced, health-conscious and lifestyle. The Duo Plus includes 3 new programs, Cake, Egg, and Sterilize. The Cake program has been designed to pressure cook soft and moist cakes; whereas, the Egg program has been created to prepare perfect eggs in just a few minutes. With the Sterilize program one can pasteurize milk, and sterilize baby bottles, jars, and utensils; as well as, perform certain types of canning much more conveniently than ever before! The Duo Plus is designed with a large blue LCD display with a new user interface to adjust the cooking settings, pressure levels, keep-warm on/off at any time during the cooking process. There are 4 new icons to easily view the status of the cooker, Heat, Pressure Cook, Keep Warm and Sound. The ‘Heat’ indicates heating or cooking in progress, ‘Pressure Cook’ indicates the pressure cook program is selected, ‘Keep Warm’ indicates if it is on/off, and ‘Sound’ indicates if the sound is on/off when cooking starts or is completed. NOTE: This product is 110v and for use in North America, if you live in Europe or other 220-240v territories this product will not operate.
This version of chili con carne is made with chunks of beef, a homemade chili paste, and a couple secret ingredients. A great change of pace from chili made with ground beef!
Behold the absolute, without question, best bowl of chili I have ever had.
I first came across this recipe seven or eight years ago in Cook’s Illustrated and although it seemed like a lot of work (it IS labor-intensive), it produced one of the most amazing chilis I had ever eaten. In fact, I think I ended up making it at least three times over the course of a month because my husband and I loved it so much.
This is certainly not your average chili… it includes a few “secret” ingredients like cocoa powder, molasses and beer. It uses dried chiles ground down to make a chili powder and paste instead of the typical chili powder. And it used chunks of beef instead of ground meat. At the time, this was all very unfamiliar ground to my chili palate, but it all sounded so irresistible.
I’m so glad I tried it all those years ago because it really is the most flavorful chili I’ve ever eaten. It’s bursting with flavor, and the meat becomes so tender that it melts in your mouth.
You will likely find as many definitions for chili con carne as there are people living in Texas. If you look at the Wikipedia page for chili con carne, it sums it up as a spicy stew containing chili peppers and meat, and sometimes tomatoes and beans. If you do a little more digging, you’ll find that people have very strong feelings about their chili con carne, with some proclaiming that it must always include tomatoes and/or beans, and some proclaiming that it cannot include either to be authentic.
Then there’s the question of ground beef versus a cut of beef… since the technical definition is a “stew” I always err on the side of using a cut of beef cut into chunks, and I LOVE it this way!
It probably won’t come as a surprise that there are literally thousands, maybe millions, of variations and recipes that you can find out there… ground beef, chuck roast, tomatoes, no tomatoes, beans, no beans, etc.
THIS recipe starts by soaking dried pinto beans, and although I think they certainly hold up better than canned, in a pinch you could certainly substitute canned beans. Next is a homemade chili paste using the dried chiles and additional seasonings (including cocoa powder!), pureed together with some chicken broth.
The first time that I made this recipe was my first time ever working with dried chiles, and I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to find them, but was pleasantly surprised when I found them at my regular supermarket. They were located in the international aisle, under the Hispanic foods.
Using the dried chiles to make a homemade chili powder and paste is one of the things that really sets this recipe apart from many of the other chili recipes I have ever tried.
After toasting the ancho chiles, you toss them into a food processor with the arbol chiles, salt, cornmeal, oregano, cocoa powder, and cumin… voila! Chili powder!
Then you slowly drizzle in a little chicken broth, and… voila! Chili paste!
The rest of the recipe is pretty straightforward – the chunks of meat are seared and added to the chili paste, beans, onions and jalapeños, along with additional chicken broth, beer and diced tomatoes. It is cooked in the oven for a couple of hours, and then you’re ready to dig in!
I realize that this recipe is a far cry from the supremely easy classic beef chili that is my personal chili go-to because it’s so simple, so I have a bunch of notes that may help you out…
Garnishments and side dish possibilities are truly limitless, but when I make this, these are the toppings I put out for people to choose from:
This certainly is not a fast, whip-it-up-when-I-get-home-from-work type of chili. This is a hunker down on a rainy or snowy Saturday and make this for a cozy night in. It’s time-consuming, but if you can make the time for it, it’s absolutely worth every minute. Plus, you could make a big pot over the weekend and then freeze it in portions for a rainy day, so to speak.
Although I don’t make this chili recipe as I do others, it’s by far one of my two favorites and has an unbelievable amount of texture and flavor in every bite. These cold winter days are a perfect opportunity to give it a try!
This version of chili con carne is made with chunks of beef and a homemade chili paste. A great change of pace from chili made with ground beef!
This recipe was originally published on October 27, 2011.
A few weeks ago I received a dozen and a half miyagi oysters from Real Good Fish as part of my my seafood subscription. Because miyagi oysters are delicate and small, I generally just serve them on the half shell, but this time I decided to make bisque. Bisque is a creamy soup traditionally made from seafood and in particular broth from seafood shells.
I love to work with good quality white chocolate. Though it is sweeter and contains more sugar than its darker counterparts, the vanilla and dairy flavors of a high quality, ultra-creamy white chocolate are hard to beat and work exceptionally well in many recipes. White chocolate is also unusual in that it can be caramelized quite easily. Since it contains more sugar than most other forms of chocolate and has no cocoa solids, those sugars can be caramelized to deepen the flavor of the white chocolate and create something exceptionally delicious – even if you’re not usually a white chocolate fan.
This Caramelized White Chocolate Mocha is one of the easiest treats that you can make with caramelized white chocolate, though I recommend my Caramelized White Chocolate & Cherry Ice Cream when you’re ready to take your white chocolate cookery to the next level.
How to Caramelize White Chocolate
Start with good quality white chocolate that is made with pure cocoa butter, not other vegetable fats. High quality white chocolate is easy to work with and will always have the best flavor.
Place the white chocolate in a nonstick skillet and melt it over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring regularly, until it begins to turn a golden color. Continue stirring until the chocolate is almost the color of peanut butter. If it appears to sieze up a bit as you cook it, don’t worry because it will smooth out again as it sits. The finished chocolate will be almost the color of peanut butter.
Assemble the Drink
Once you have your caramelized white chocolate, all you need to do is combine it with hot milk and coffee to make the mocha. I typically use espresso for this drink, but strong coffee will work, too. All the sweetness of the drink comes from the caramelized white chocolate, which has a wonderful caramel flavor and subtle dairy sweetness that reminds me a bit of sweetened condensed milk – but far more delicious.
The drink is quite rich and the recipe below makes two smaller servings. If you’re feeling indulgent, feel free to pour everything into a big mug and treat yourself! I topped mine with whipped cream, but the drink is just as good without anything on top.
Caramelized White Chocolate Mocha
1/4 cup chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips*
3/4 cup milk (pref. whole)
1/3 cup strong coffee or 2 oz espresso
In a nonstick skillet, melt the white chocolate over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring regularly, until the chocolate begins to turn a golden color. Cook until chocolate is golden and resembles peanut butter.
In the microwave, heat up the milk for about 60 seconds (just below a simmer). Pour milk and espresso into the skillet with the white chocolate and cook over medium heat, whisking until the chocolate has completely dissolved. Divide into two mugs to serve.
Top with whipped cream, if desired.
*You must use real white chocolate, made with only cocoa butter and not other vegetable fats.
Along the way there are wonderful features on pairing chocolate with cheese, tea, spirits and more plus recipes including a few from locals Michael Recchiuti and Alice Medrich.
This book is perfect for anyone who loves chocolate and wants to know more about the American chocolate makers, and is looking for new ways to enjoy chocolate.
The recipes come from Dandelion’s in-house pastry chef, Lisa Vega. Vega gives away the secrets to recipes for cookies, brownies, cakes, drinks and more.
This book is for chocolate aficionados, especially those who want to try their hand at making it or just want to learn more about it. It’s also good for those who want to use different percentage chocolate in recipes. The recipes don’t call out specific brands.
All photos by Greg Seber
Pomegranates are one of the best parts of fall and winter months. Won’t you agree? Love the fruit!
Recently, at a private cuisine and culture presentation and lunch event I did for a group of home economists in our house, I was asked if there was any special technique I used to cut and de-seed a pomegranate. Well, of course there is! I am a pomegranataholic and I better know how to get those ruby red arils out of the fruit as quickly as possible!