Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling and Lavender Frosting

Also pictured: Butterbeer Cupcakes

Lemon Curd Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

(I doubled this recipe to make sure I would have enough filling.)

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick/4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese (homemade ricotta cheese recipe coming soon)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Lavender Frosting Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender, crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream, if needed
  • 1 drop purple food coloring (I used the Violet gel color from Hobby Lobby)
  • Fresh lavender, sugared lemon slices and edible pearls for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, cook and stir the sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the lightly beaten egg. Stir well and return all to the pan. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes longer or until thickened. Stir in lemon zest. Cool for 10 minutes. Cover and completely chill in the fridge.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cupcake baking tin.
  3. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the softened butter and vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer or stand mixer until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add ricotta, milk and lemon juice and mix until combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into cupcake tins, filling each one about 3/4 full. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean. Rotate the cupcake tin half-way through baking if necessary. Cool completely.
  5. Using a cupcake corer remove the middle of the cupcake. Using a small spoon, fill the holes in each cupcake with a generous amount of lemon curd.
  6. For the frosting you can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Add butter to a large bowl and beat until creamy. On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar and lavender to the bowl. Increase the speed and beat until fluffy and combined. Beat in the vanilla extract. If the frosting is too thick, add the cream or milk. If it is too runny add more powdered sugar a little bit at a time. Use one drop of purple food coloring. The Violet color was a little lighter so I used two drops.
  7. Put desired frosting tip into a piping bag. Add frosting to the bag and frost the cupcakes. Top with edible pearls and small lavender sprigs. Thinly slice lemons into halves and coat both sides with sugar. Place lemons on top of frosted cupcakes.

These were a lot of fun to make and they tasted great! The flavor combination was delightful! I took them to work and they were gone in an instant. I knew the Butterbeer cupcakes were going to go fast because they had been asking me to make them again, but I wasn’t sure how they would respond to the lemon ricotta and lavender. I was pleasantly surprised when those disappeared, too. 🙂

Ricotta Bread (In Bread Machine)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons warm milk (I use goat milk)
  • 2/3 cup ricotta cheese (homemade ricotta cheese recipe coming soon!)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour (I’ve been using Pillsbury)
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast/bread machine yeast

Directions

  1. Make sure the milk is not too, hot – around 100 degrees is good. Add the ingredients into the bread machine in the order recommended in the instruction manual. Generally, this is wet ingredients first, then dry ingredients – flour is second to last. Make a little dent in the flour and pour the yeast in the hole. (Pictured)
  2. Select 1.5 lb loaf and desired crust color – I go for light crust. Press start.
  3. When finished remove the bread pan with oven mitts and let cool. Use a spatula to loosen the bread from the pan. Tip the pan upside down and shake the bread out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

This bread is so fluffy and delicious. I like to dip it in oil and Italian seasonings. I eat it with soup. I also love putting goat butter on it.

Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Cheesecake Ingredients

  • 2 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • whipped cream and sugared cranberries – optional

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine graham crackers, butter and sugar. Pat into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of an 8-inch springform pan. Chill
  2. Beat cream cheese, eggs and lemon juice on medium speed for 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and salt. Continue beating until well blended, about 1 minute. Pour into crust.
  3. Place pan on a baking sheet with a tray of water on the rack below. Bake 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.
  4. For topping, combine sour cream and remaining sugar and vanilla. Spread over cheesecake. Bake 10 minutes longer. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
  5. If desired, serve with whipped cream and/or Sugared Cranberries

Graham Cracker Pecan Brittle Chunks

Ingredients

  • 1 box graham crackers
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 4 sticks salted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar

Directions

  1. Layer graham crackers in a single layer in a 9×13 pan that is lined with parchment paper. Cook butter and sugar 1 minute in the microwave. Stir until combined. Mix in nuts.
  2. Pour almost half the mixture over the crackers. Add another single layer of crackers. Top with the rest of the butter and sugar mixture.
  3. Bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool completely and break into pieces.

Easy and addictive.

Butterbeer Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cream soda

Ganache Ingredients

  • 1 11 oz. package butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 16 oz package powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with liners. (Makes 18) Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy (this can be done with a handheld mixer or a stand mixer – if using a stand mixer make sure you are regularly scraping the bottom of the bowl). Add sugars and beat until well combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla and butter extract.
  3. Alternate adding buttermilk, cream soda and dry ingredients. Beat until combined – this is where the stand mixer comes in handy. (I’ve heard you are supposed to start and end with the dry ingredients, but not sure that actually matters)
  4. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full. Bake 15-17 minutes, rotating the baking pans half-way through so that the cupcakes in the back are then in the front. (This needs to be done in my oven anyway). A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Cool completely on wire racks.
  5. In a double boiler (I just use a sauce pan and a large metal mixing bowl), combine butterscotch chips and cream. Stir until completely combined and smooth. Cool to room temperature.
  6. Fill a squeeze bottle with ganache and insert into center and squeeze until filling begins to overflow. (This method only really works if the ganache is still a little warm and runny. It seeps into the cake. When it is completely cooled, not nearly enough ganache gets into the cupcake. If you are going to cool the ganache to room temperature you will need to core out the center of the cupcake and then squeeze in the ganache with the bottle)
  7. For the frosting, cream butter until fluffy. Add in ganache, vanilla, butter extract and salt. Mix until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. Add cream by the tablespoon if needed. (Honestly, without specific instructions I wasn’t sure what to do here. I ended up using 1 tablespoon of cream and 2 cups of powdered sugar. It tasted ok to me, and then I had several people tell me they don’t normally like frosting, but they liked it this way. And my husband liked it and that’s a miracle!)
  8. Frost cupcakes and drizzle with butterscotch ganache. I also sprinkled them with edible gold stars (Hobby Lobby)

These cupcakes are amazing!!!!!!! I have had this recipe for 10 years and never made it until now, but I am glad I finally did. You can’t eat just one – they are that good. I am about to make my third batch next week because people keep asking for them! So good!

Kolaczki

One of my favorite cookies, especially around the holidays! My mom’s side of the family is polish so we have always had these.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 cups pastry flour
  • 2 cups jam of your choosing
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter, flour and cream cheese until it is fluffy.
  2. On a well floured surface, roll the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for an hour.
  3. On a well floured surface, roll the dough out into a thin, flat piece. Cut the dough into even sized squares. Place jam in the center of each square. Fold the sides of the squares in, pinching the corners together.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until corners just start to brown.
  5. After they have completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

In the picture I used apricot jam, strawberry jam, and fig jam. I would say apricot and raspberry are the most popular. You can also make your own jam.

Cream cheese is a pretty popular filling too:

  • 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoom vanilla extract
  1. In a bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to fill pastries.

You can store these cookies in airtight containers with parchment paper in between the layers or in the fridge. I definitely like to put the cream cheese ones in the fridge.

What is also great about these cookies is you can customize them however you like. You can make them bigger or smaller. I always thought that there was never enough jam in these cookies so I loaded mine up. 😀

Honey Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 15 oz. can pineapple slices in juice, drained
  • 1 can seeded black cherries in juice, drained
  • 1 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plain yellow corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour honey into a buttered 10 inch cast iron skillet or a pineapple upside down cake pan. Tilt to spread evenly. Top with pineapple and cherries.
  2. Beat sugar and butter at medium speed with stand mixer until fluffy. Stir in vanilla. In one bowl, whisk together flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In another bowl whisk together buttermilk and eggs. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until blended. Spread batter over pineapple.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Shield with foil after 45 minutes if necessary to prevent over browning. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
  4. Invert cake onto serving platter. Drizzle with honey glaze and let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Honey Glaze

  1. Bring 1/4 cup honey, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter to a simmer. Stir lightly. Cook 1 minute, then remove from heat.

Amish White Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (between 100 and 110 degrees)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups bread flour

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
  2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes and divide in half. Shape into loaves and place into 2 well oiled 9×5 loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

My husband says that this bread tastes overly yeasty, but I think it is supposed to. I like it and it is a little bit sweet. The second loaf I wrap and put in the freezer until I am ready for it. I read somewhere that if you turn the oven on for 20 seconds and then place the dough inside the oven it will rise faster.

Tangerine Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • orange zest of 2 tangerines
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tangerines
  • powdered sugar

Directions

  1. In a bowl mix eggs and sugar. Add zest, oil, milk and yogurt. Mix well. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix.
  2. Cut tangerines into halves. Sprinkle the bottom of muffin tins with sugar. Place the tangerines, cut side down, into muffin tins. Pour mixture over each tangerine.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I was surprised that these turned out pretty good. I used the little, seedless halo tangerines. These muffins are not very sweet at all. Great as a breakfast muffin. I also made a gluten free version for my gluten intolerant co-worker. I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour.

My mom said these taste like Christmas. hehe

Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips, or more to taste
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with a handheld mixer on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs. Beat until smooth. Add ricotta and vanilla and beat to combine.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder into bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Mix on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Drop cookies in heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets. Leave about 2 inches between cookies. Bake, rotating the trays from top to bottom halfway through, until cookies are puffed and golden at the edges, about 18 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Dust cookies with confectioner’s sugar before serving if desired.

I got this recipe from the newspaper! A lady named Lidia Bastianich.

I had to take these out right at 18 minutes. Any longer and the bottoms started browning. I also thought the suggested amount of mini chocolate chips was perfect.