Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lemony Recipes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

1 1/2C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2T. Baking Powder
1t. Ground Nutmeg
1t. Ground Cinnamon
1/2t. Salt
4T. Sugar
2C. Ricotta Cheese
4 Eggs
1 1/3C. Milk
1 Meyer Lemon, Zested and Juiced
Butter for griddle

Preheat a nonstick griddle.
Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk together the cheese, eggs, milk, lemon juice and zest in a large bowl. Whisk the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Brush the hot griddle with butter. For each pancake, pour approximately 1/4 cup measure of the batter on the griddle and cook on both sides until light golden brown. Repeat until all batter is used.
Yield: 8-12 pancakes

Lemon Bars

This recipe originally came from Ina Garten, one of my favorite cooks, and I tweaked it to my liking.

For the crust:
1/2 pound Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1/2C. Sugar
2C. Flour
1/8t. Kosher Salt

For the filling:
6 extra-large Eggs at room temperature
3C. Sugar
1T. grated Lemon Zest (2-4 lemons)
1C. freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
1C. Flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9x13x2" baking sheet, building up a 1/2" edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.
Yield: 20 squares or 40 triangles

The Skinny on Lemons

Okay! Let's get to our ingredient of the week. Drum roll please......LEMONS!! Lemons are an amazing creation. They are so versatile, and they brighten up almost any recipe. The juice is used to make lemonade, soft drinks, and marinades. Not to mention some pretty yummy desserts like lemon cheesecake, lemon bars, and my yummy Lemon Ricotta pancakes which I will share with you later. ;-) Lemon slices and rinds are used for garnishes. Lemon zest, the grated outer rind, is used to add flavor to baked goods, rice, and lots of other dishes. Lemon juice also acts as a short-term preservative on certain foods that tend to oxidize and turn brown after being sliced, such as apples, bananas, and avocados. Also, I don't know how to explain this scientifically, but the flavor of lemon somehow makes the pallet think it's had salt, thereby allowing you to add less salt to a dish when you include lemon.

The average lemon contains approximately 3 tablespoons of juice. Allowing lemons to come to room temperature and rolling them on the counter before squeezing both make the juice easier to extract. A good way to store cut lemons is in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator. A 3.5oz. lemon contains; 2.8g of dietary fiber, 53.0mg of vitamin C, 26mg. of calcium, 8mg of magnesium, 16mg. of phosphorus, and 138mg. of potassium along with several other nutrients in much smaller amounts. It packs quite a punch in one piece of fruit.

There are many varieties of lemons. The common supermarket lemon is called "Eureka". It grows year-round and abundantly. My favorite is the "Meyer" lemon. It's actually a cross between a lemon and an orange. It's fairly thin-skinned and less acidic than the Eureka. Meyers require more care when shipping and are not widely grown on a commercial basis, so you won't see them as often in the grocery store. They are beautiful though, and I LOVE to cook with them when I can find them. Some of the other varieties are; "Lisbon", "Ponderosa", "Variegated Pink", and "Verna", just to name a few more.

A beautiful thing about lemons is their wide variety of non-culinary uses. The low pH of juice makes it antibacterial. The peel oil is used as a wood cleaner and polish. A halved lemon dipped in salt or baking powder can be used to brighten copper cookware. The acid dissolves the tarnish and the abrasives assist the cleaning. In the kitchen, the juice can deodorize, remove grease, bleach stains, and disinfect. When mixed with baking soda, it can remove stains from plastic food storage containers.

The bright, friendly little lemon is a great thing to keep around. I always have a bowl of them on the counter. Just their presence seems to brighten my kitchen. In the days to come I'll share some of my favorite ways to cook with lemons. So, next time you're at the grocery store, you can look at lemons in a whole new way and maybe even be inspired to put a few in your grocery cart. :-)


These are my signature cookies.  I took bits and pieces from a couple of different recipes, added some of my own twists, and voila!  "Doozies"  My husband came up with that name because he says they're "a doozie of a cookie".  I hope you enjoy them as much as my family does.

Copyright 2012 Brendilly Bakes, All rights reserved

2 Sticks Softened Butter
1C. Brown Sugar
1/2C. White Sugar
1t. Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1 1/2C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2C. Quick Cooking Oats
1t. Baking Soda
1t. Kosher Salt
1t. Cinnamon
1C. Chopped Dried Apricots
3/4C Chopped Pitted Dates
3/4C. Craisins
1 4oz. Bar Ghirardelli 60%cacao, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In large bowl; cream butter, sugars, and vanilla until well blended and creamy. Add eggs and mix well.
In medium bowl; combine flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix with a wire whisk making sure the baking soda is well incorporated. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix well. Add apricots and other add-ins and combine well.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10-13 minutes.
Let cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack to continue cooling. Enjoy!

NOTES: 1.)The trick to fluffy cookies is two-fold; room temperature ingredients, and plenty of beating for the butter and sugars. 2.)You can substitute any kind of add-ins you like for the ones mentioned here. Some others I've used are; chopped pecans, white chocolate chips, dried cherries....just have some fun with it. 3.) To achieve uniform size cookies I use a small ice cream scoop to deliver the batter to the cookie sheets. 4.) Another way to ensure that you don't have baking soda chunks in your batter is to sift your baking soda and cinnamon together through a sieve. That way you can monitor any chunks. Kosher salt is too big to go through the sieve and it's not necessary anyway. Have fun! :-)

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