Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

 

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Lemon Bars are one of my favorites. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with alternative ingredients again this past week and came up with a recipe that is super delicious. Lemon Bars, a very refreshing and sweet dessert, without refined sugars and gluten-free.

I used a base of blanched almond flour and maple syrup. Coconut oil doesn’t work so well, so I stuck with grass-fed butter. The results were fantastic.

Taking from the traditional lemon bar recipe I have from my grandmother, I not only substituted the sugar with maple syrup, I also added a tropical twist with unsweetened coconut flakes as part of the top crumble. So refreshing.

The biggest differences that I have noticed is the consistency of the cake/cookie base being softer than it’s flour counterpart and the lemon curd isn’t as yellow because of the maple syrup. It does firm up overnight or once completely cooled. I would also put in the refrigerator for longer storage. These two differences didn’t impact the taste!

I hope you like this version of lemon bars as much as my family has!

Enjoy the bake!

Trace

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Lemon Bars Recipe

Lemon Curd

3/4 cup maple syrup

6 tbs lemon juice

1 tbs of lemon zest

2 tbs cornstarch

6 egg yolks beaten

1/2 cup grass-fed butter cut up

Combine the maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest and cornstarch in a sauce pan. Over medium heat bring to a boil, this will happen quickly so keep a good watch. Stir for about 1 – 2 minutes until thick, then in a separate bowl, add a little at a time of the hot liquid to the beaten egg yolks to temper the eggs and not turn to scrambled eggs. Once half of the hot liquid is incorporated, then add the egg yolk mixture to the remaining liquid in the sauce pan. Over low heat stir until completely combined and thick. Remove from the heat and add the butter and stir until melted. Let cool and then set aside.

I cooled my curd overnight, but you could use after about an 30-60 minutes of cooling.

Cake/Cookie Base

1 cup softened grass-fed butter

3/4 cup maple syrup

3 cups blanched almond flour

1 tsp baking powder

In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter and the maple syrup until combined. Then add the almond flour/baking powder to slowly to the butter mixture until fully mixed.

In a prepared 13 x 9 x 2 greased pan or a torte pan, spread the dough evenly and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 375 degree oven. Or until edges and top are slightly brown.

Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before spreading your lemon curd overtop, being careful to not “tear” the dough from spreading too hard. Spread curd until you leave just a little edge all around.

For the crumble, mix 2/3 cup flour, 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 1/2 slivered almonds, 1 tbs of softened butter. Using your fingers, completely combine the ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined and not large portions of butter remain.

Sprinkle the crumb on top of the curd. Bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the crumb becomes a bit browned. Remove and cool the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.

Enjoy!

Best Paleo Carrot Cake

The Best Paleo Carrot Cake

Best Paleo Carrot Cake Ever
Best Carrot Cake

 

The Best Paleo Carrot Cake

I don’t say this often, this is the best carrot cake I’ve ever had! It’s amazing and it’s made with alternative ingredients. These alternative ingredients include almond flour and coconut oil. Making this carrot cake suitable for a Paleo Diet or anyone looking to avoid dairy or gluten.

In my journey to uncover alternative ingredient bakes this month, I found a show stopper! You won’t regret trying this recipe, no matter what type of diet you may be on. Don’t be afraid to give it a try! Best of all, super easy to make!

One way I know I have a recipe I’ll keep as a family favorite; my husband and kids love it! All too often their noses turn up when they know it’s a Paleo Bake or something not ordinary. But this, they came back for seconds and thirds!

Here is The Best Paleo Carrot Cake recipe compliments of my new most favorite cookbook, Sweet Laurel.

I used two 6-inch pans and prepared them with coconut oil (bottom and sides) and parchment paper on the bottom.

1/4 cup coconut oil melted

2 cups almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3 large eggs – room temperature

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I prefer over walnuts, but you can use either)

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, coconut oil and maple syrup. Adding a little at at time, whisk in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until you reach a batter. Then add your carrots, raisins and nut of choice.

Divide the batter between the two baking pans and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove and cool on cooling racks.

Once completely cooled, make your icing.

Probiotic Cream Cheese Frosting recipe:

2 1/4 cup raw cashews soaked for 1 hour, drained and rinsed.

1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 probiotic capsule*

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt

*Probiotic Capsules: You can find probiotics in the refrigerator section of health food stores. Sweet Laurel recommends gluten-free brand called Flora. Don’t use prebiotics.

In a blender, combine everything and blent until creamy. If too thing, blend remaining soaked cashews until smooth Refrigerate until ready for use.

If you don’t have a dairy aversion, you could make a delicious cream cheese icing using maple syrup and vanilla along with the smaller amount of cashews. However this would then negate the Paleo aspect of the cake. Feel free to experiment.

The best way to eat, slightly warmed in the microwave for about 30 seconds at 50% power! Yummy!!!

Enjoy the bake & share your results!

Trace

Best Paleo Carrot Cake Ever!
Best Carrot Cake
Berry Shortcakes Recipe

Berry Shortcakes Recipe

Berry Shortcakes Recipe

Berry Shortcakes Recipe

Summer time for us in the Northern Hemisphere is just around the corner and super excited to share my favorite summer bakes. This month, I’m going to dig into my collection of family favorites that bring back lots of memories.

To kick-off the great month of bakes, I’m starting with Berry Shortcakes. Whether your a strawberry, raspberry, blueberry or blackberry and maybe event cherry fan, this versatile recipe for shortcakes is great to bake ahead of your summertime picnics. I have this recipe from my granny, very similar to biscuit dough, but with a bit more liquid.

I make mine now in the food processor, really makes a nice soft dough to work with and the results never fail me.

For the berries, you could cook them down into a compote, cover them in sugar and let stand while the sugar melts, or raw and simple.

I like to use fresh whipped cream with a hint of lemon zest to really help pull out the flavor of the fruit. And then a dash of sea salt to give that sophisticated salty sweet flavor! So many possibilities to make it your own. My mom loves fresh mint and that would be heaven on this delicious summer time favorite.

Here is the recipe for you to enjoy and as always let me know what you think, questions or share your favorite.

Shortcakes Recipe

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour

1/2 cup sugar (plus a little extra for dusting)

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup butter or shortening

1 cup milk

In a food processor, combine all the dry ingredients. Then pulse to completely mix the dry ingredients together. Then, add your butter or shortening. Pulse until a nice crumble forms. (It won’t be like pie dough, but you can see it forming on the sides of the processor.)

Then on slow setting, add your milk slowly until fully incorporated. Don’t over process. Then remove onto a floured surface. Work the dough gently and form into an 8″ x 4″ rectangle.

Using a large biscuit cutter, cut your shortcakes and place on cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Sprinkle the tops of your shortcakes with sugar before baking.

Bake for about 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven, being careful not to over bake. You want them a bit hard so it can take the wet ingredients you’re going to place atop. I don’t like a mushy shortcake.

Remove and let cool on a wire rack. The shortcakes will pull apart nicely without much effort. Fill with your favorite ingredients.

These are great for picnics, parade watching and taking to neighbors for summer time celebrations.

Enjoy the bake!

Trace

 

Aunt Linda's Light Rolls Recipe

Aunt Linda’s Light Rolls Recipe

Aunt Linda's Light Rolls RecipeAunt Linda’s Light Rolls Recipe

To end this months bread bakes, I reached back to a family favorite, Aunt Linda’s Light Rolls Recipe. These delicious rolls are so light and fluffy, they just melt in your mouth as you eat them. The best “down on the farm” roll you’ll ever eat, guaranteed.

When I was talking to Aunt Linda to garner some tips on the best way to make these wonderful rolls, we were talking about how they would disappear. All 100 of them. With cousins, friends, family all coming and going at Uncle Dan and Aunt Linda’s farm, there was no need to freeze for later! These rolls bring back some fantastic memories.

So what makes them light rolls? No kneading, just mix, let rise, punch down and form into rolls for the second prove. This recipe was so simple, first time I had ever made them. The results were fantastic!

The trick…a big enough container to make the recipe, and you’re going to need about 10 pans to freeze for future bakes. I used a medium size rubber tub with a lid. Perfect to use, since the first prove takes about 2.5 hours. When done, I recommend you  share them with neighbors or friends, and if you want them all for yourself…pull them out of the freezer in the morning and have fresh bread for dinner!

Aunt Linda’s Light Rolls Recipe

5 lbs all-purpose unbleached flour

1 Quart (4 cups) whole milk

6 packets of yeast

2 cups sugar

4 tsp salt

12 (1 dozen) eggs – slightly beaten

1 lb (4 sticks) of unsalted butter

Warm your milk in a large sauce pan to 110 degrees. Dissolve the yeast stirring frequently until all the yeast has been dissolved.

Let the milk and yeast rest while you combine the sugar, salt, eggs and butter. In a large bowl using a hand-mixer, beat the ingredients until they are creamed. I creamed the butter, added the sugar and salt, then add the eggs.

Place your flour in a extra-large bowl or container. Pour in the yeast milk and the egg mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir until completely mixed together. This will form a nice sticky dough.

Cover and let rise for 2.5 – 4 hours depending on humidity temperature, etc. For me in a warm kitchen with the oven running all-day in Florida, it took about 2.5 hours to double in size.

Punch down and then begin forming rolls. I coated my hands with a little oil spray. Coat the bottom of your aluminum pans. I used 8″ x 8″ pans with spray oil and the clear plastic lids.

Form the rolls by grabbing a small pinch of dough. Form by pulling and tucking the dough under to stretch and make a nice smooth surface. Place the tucked portion of the roll down into the pan. Keep going, they rise fast!

If you’re freezing, let the pan of rolls rise for about 15-20 minutes before placing in the freezer. If you’re baking right away, the second prove (rise) will take about 1 hour. My mom shared that if you place your pinky finger in the roll and the dimple stays, it’s time to bake. If the dimple bounces back, keep proving.

I had a dark pan for my initial bake, so I used a 325 degree oven to ensure the bottom of my rolls didn’t get too dark. Otherwise, you would use a 350 degree oven in your aluminum pans sitting on a baking sheet.

The results are amazing. Smother with butter and honey while still warm and you and your family are in for a delightful treat!

Enjoy the bake!

Trace

 

Aunt Linda's Light Rolls Recipe

 

Onion Focaccia Recipe

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Onion Focaccia Recipe

It’s been a busy week of baking! I don’t have a lot of family recipes to lean on for this month of baking breads, so I’ve had to do a bit of research, experimentation and while some have been successful, other attempts have not. But one in particular that was a big hit – Onion Focaccia recipe I came across in a book, “Classic Breads” by Martha Day.

It’s a pizza like dough that has classic dimples. The dough makes a great texture and perfect consistency to enjoy with olive oil and herbs.

I did make some variations, using other ingredients like fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes. I found that the basil baked nicely, bu the sun-dried tomatoes did not. The next batch, use the sun-dried tomatoes after your first prove.

In Martha Day’s recipe, she recommended using a 10-inch metal flan ring to hold the shape. I only had tart pan rings with scalloped edges. So I used my 10-in tart ring to help with the size, but didn’t use it for baking as she recommended. It held it’s shape well as you can see, but to garner a perfect round shape, you’ll want to use a metal flan ring as recommended. I believe imperfection is perfection!

I used yellow onions, the recipe called for red onions. We found the yellow onions were subtle in flavor, perfectly balanced with some sea salt I sprinkled atop to give it a nice flavor without dipping into olive oil.

Below is the recipe to follow and I hope you have as much fun with this as I did!

Enjoy the Bake.

Trace

Onion Focaccia Recipe

This recipe makes two round loafs of Focaccia.

6 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tbs rapid-rise yeast

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 cups lukewarm water (110 degrees)

Topping:

2 red or yellow onions, thinly sliced

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs coarse sea salt

Sift the flour, salt, sugar into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast, oil and water and mix dough using a blunt knife.

Turn dough onto floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until you obtain a nice smooth elastic consistency. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a damp cloth. Place in a warm area of the kitchen and let rise until doubled in size.

Punch down and cut dough in half. Roll-out to a 10 inch circle and let rise for 30 minutes.

Make deep holes, about 1 inch apart in the dough. Cover and lets rest for about 20 minutes or so.

I mixed the onions and olive oil in a bowl after slicing the onions to fully coat the onions. Then place on the rested dough and sprinkle the salt. Martha recommends sprinkling the top with water before placing in a 400 degree oven to prevent crusting.

Bake for 25-27 minutes until nice and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Serve immediately with olive oil and fresh herbs for dipping.

Enjoy the bake!