Watermelon Sorbet

Coming off the success of the Lemon and Sugar Free Lemon Sorbets I made a week ago, I have been thinking of other fruits to make sorbet with.  Sorbet is so easy that it can be made quickly with little prep time.

After having family over for dinner we had some leftover watermelon.  I knew I had to use it for sorbet.

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I had never juiced watermelon before.  It seemed to me the easiest way would be to chop it into pieces, and then toss it in a blender.  This watermelon didn’t have many seeds, but I did remove them before putting in the blender.  I wouldn’t want seed bits to get into my sorbet.

watermelon in blender

I ran the blender on the “liquefy” setting until I thought all the chunks were broken up. To be safe, I ran the juice through a strainer, however, that was basically unnecessary.  There was very little solids left over and they would probably have been fine in the sorbet. IMG_4690

I had around 2.5 cups of juice, so I adjusted my recipe accordingly.  This is a forgiving recipe to make so it can be adjusted easily to make more or less.

As with the other sorbets I have made, I first made the simple syrup. Place the water and sugar in a small pot.  Over medium heat, boil until the sugar dissolves. How long this takes depends on how much you are making.  Once the sugar is fully incorporated into the water, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool.

After the simple syrup finished cooling, I mixed the watermelon juice into the syrup.  I put the juice mixture into the refrigerator to get cold.  This is something I did to help ice cream freeze better, but I don’t think it is really necessary with the sorbet.  I just do it out of habit.

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Then the juice mixture goes into an ice cream maker, and is churned according to manufacture directions.  It will end up a bit loose and soft even when fully churned.

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Place the churned sorbet into a freezer until fully frozen.

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This is a really sweet sorbet.  Watermelon is rather sweet on its own, and the addition of all the sugar adds to the sweetness.  If you have a raging sweet tooth like I do, then you will like this one.

 

Watermelon Sorbet

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3/4ths cup watermelon juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar, and boil until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Stir in the watermelon juice. I put mine in the refrigerator to get cold, but this isn’t really necessary.

Transfer to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions. When the sorbet has frozen (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. The sorbet will solidify in the freezer.

 

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Sugar Free Lemon Sorbet

Last week, I made Lemon Sorbet.  When I told my mom what I was making she wanted to have some of it, but she can’t eat much sugar.  She asked me to make her a sugar free version of the sorbet.  I made it on the same day as the regular sorbet, but just took a while to post about it.

I haven’t used sugar substitutes very often so I was curious how it would turn out.  We have both Stevia and Splenda at the house that I could have used.  My mom prefers Stevia so I used that to make the sorbet.

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The Stevia is supposed to be able to be used exactly like sugar, so I decided to use the same recipe.

I was worried when I first took the Stevia out of the bag.  It is much lighter and fluffier then sugar.  When I put the sugar in the pot of water, it sunk to the bottom of the water.  When I put the Stevia in the pot, it floated on top of the water.  I was concerned that it wouldn’t stir into the water correctly when I started to make the simple syrup.  However, as the water started to heat up the Stevia quickly dissolved into the water.  I stirred the water until all of the Stevia had dissolved into the water, making a simple syrup.

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I juiced enough lemons to get 3/4ths of a cup of lemon juice.

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Then I mixed the lemon juice into the simple syrup, and put the lemon mixture into the refrigerator to cool.

After it had cooled for a couple of hours, I put the lemon mixture into my ice cream maker.  I made a smaller batch of this one then the regular sorbet, so it froze much faster.  I walked away from it for a little to long, and it froze more then I wanted.  However, that didn’t seem to affect the final product.

Because I overdid the sorbet in the ice cream maker, it didn’t have the same smooth appearance as the other one I made.  I am not happy with the way it looks in this picture.  I don’t have any pictures of how it looks scooped since I gave it to my mom and dad, and they took it home to eat it.  Both my mom and dad said it tasted good, and I just have to hope they are telling me the truth and not being nice parents.

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Sugar Free Lemon Sorbet

1 cups water
1 cups sugar substitute (I used Stevia)
3/4ths cup lemon juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar substitute, and boil until the sugar substitute dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the lemon juice. Transfer to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions. When the sorbet has frozen (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. The sorbet will solidify in the freezer.

-Joshua

 

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Scones

I have a confession to make: I use our blog as a place to store recipes! So I often refer back to my old posts to bake a certain flavor of scones or figure out a macaron recipe. Sometimes, a post will just be a reference for me so that I can find a recipe again. That is likely what this post will be. Perhaps later, I will be able to improve on these scones to really make them pop. I am thinking maybe some cinnamon chips or a cinnamon brown sugar filling.

There is nothing very spectacular about these cinnamon scones, but they are definitely yummy if you like cinnamon! I baked these for an order but wanted to have two types with glaze and two types without glaze. Sadly, these cinnamon-y scones ended up being the unglazed ones. I think they could be brought up a notch with some vanilla glaze though!

I have been baking scones a LOT lately, but that is okay. I’ve been baking different flavors of scones and I am getting to where I can probably start making the basic scone recipe from memory!

I do plan on making July macaron practice month though if I can. So expect a lot of macaron recipes at that time… if I can get my macarons back to where they were before the new oven that is!

cinnamon scones

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Scones

  • Servings: 16 servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Vanilla glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-5 tsp milk/water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl; flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat pieces with flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Fold everything together just to incorporate as much of the flour as possible; do not overwork. When you have shreds of dough, pour the dough out onto a floured surface and finishing working the dough into a ball there.

Pat the dough out into a rectangle. Using a bench knife, cut the dough rectangle in half, then each half in half. Cut down the middle to form 8 squares and then cut each square on the diagonal to form 16 triangles.

Transfer each triangle to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, leaving an inch or two of space between each wedge. Bake for 12-17 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool completely before drizzling with glaze.

Stir together the powdered sugar, milk/water, and vanilla to make the glaze. Add a teaspoon of milk/water at a time until the glaze is desired consistency. Drizzle over the cooled scones.

When Life Hands You Lemons: Make Lemon Scones

I have been sadly absent from the blog the past month! Many, many thanks to my hubby, Josh, for keeping the blog going. I mentioned at the beginning of May that three of our kids have birthdays in May (plus there is Mother’s Day to think about) so I was concentrating on those things as well as a big model rocket launching birthday party we had out in the desert on May 13th. That was definitely one of the more unconventional birthday parties we’ve done!

As Josh said, we have an overabundance of lemons coming from our lemon tree. And that means finding ways to use them other than in lemonade or lemon curd, although lemon curd is definitely something I want to make!

I had been wanting to make blueberry cheesecake scones for a while, but then I realized that they would be even better with lemon added as an extra layer of flavor. I also nailed down my recipe for lemon poppy seed scones. I had never actually written it down in recipe form.

So here are two new scone recipes for you all!

Let’s start with the lemon blueberry cheesecake scones. The most difficult part of making these scones is… how do you get the cheesecake part in? These aren’t the prettiest scones in the world, and I actually thought they tasted just okay. But… I’m not the most reliable taste tester right now as nothing really tastes good to me! So I have to depend on what my family tells me. Josh said these were yummy and I should post about them! They probably could have used some glaze just to make them look prettier but I don’t think the glaze would have added anything in flavor since the cheesecake filling was there to add a punch of lemon.

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The cheesecake filling was just 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of sugar beaten together until smooth. The filling was too much for one batch of blueberry scones so I ended up making two batches. I attempted to keep the filling from oozing out of the scones too much by patting the each batch of scone dough out into a rectangle, spreading half of the filling over the rectangle, and then folding the dough in a gate fold like you would with paper

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Then, I sealed up all the open edges as best I could. Mostly, the sealing is to prevent the filling from coming out while patting the dough out again and then cutting the dough into wedges. One batch made 16 small scones.

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Scones

You can easily double all the ingredients to make 32 scones if you want to use a whole brick of cream cheese.

Ingredients

Scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream + juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries, soaked in water and drained
  • 1- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream for brushing tops of scones
  • Coarse white sugar, optional

Cheesecake filling

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

If possible, rub the lemon zest into the sugar before adding the sugar to the dry ingredients.

Sift together dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and lemon zest. Using pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat pieces with flour. Mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make well in center and pour in heavy cream and lemon juice. Fold everything together; do not overwork. Fold in the dried blueberries until you have what looks like shreds of dough.

To make the cheesecake filling, use a hand mixer to beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth.

Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough gently as if you were making pie crust, until the dough comes together to form a smooth ball. Pat the dough out into a rectangle. Using a spatula, spread the cheesecake filling over the rectangle, leaving some room at the edges for sealing. Fold the dough in a gate fold and pinch or fold over the edges to seal. Don’t forget to seal the middle where the folds meet. You will now have a square of dough. Carefully pat the square out into a rectangle again and using a bench knife, cut the rectangle in half. Cut each half in half again, then cut down the middle of the rectangle so that you have 8 squares. Cut each square on the diagonal to get 16 triangles.

Using the bench knife, transfer each wedge to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure there is an inch or two separating each wedge. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle sugar on the scones if desired. Bake for 12-17 minutes on the middle rack or until golden brown. Allow scones to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

The lemon poppyseed scones are pretty straightforward so I will just post the recipe. I will note that instead of drizzling the glaze on, I brushed it on so that each scone was covered evenly in the glaze.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

Ingredients

Scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream + 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream for brushing tops of scones

 

Lemon glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon water or milk, until desired consistency

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

If possible, rub the lemon zest into the sugar before adding the sugar to the dry ingredients.

Sift together dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, lemon zest, and poppy seeds. Using pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat pieces with flour. Mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make well in center and pour in heavy cream and lemon juice. Fold everything together; do not overwork.

When you have what looks like shreds of dough (almost like when you are working with pie crust), pour the dough out onto a floured surface and finish kneading it there until the dough comes together and forms a smooth ball. Pat the dough out into a rectangle and using a bench knife, cut the rectangle in half so that you have two squares. Cut each square in half, then cut down the middle of the rectangle so that you now have eight squares.  Cut each square on the diagonal to get 16 triangles.

Using the bench knife, transfer each wedge to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure there is an inch or two separating each wedge. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.

Bake the scones for 12-17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow scones to cool completely before brushing with glaze.

To make the glaze, stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add water or milk and continue stirring until desired consistency. Brush the glaze onto the cooled scones.

I know that finishing the dough on a floured surface does add one step to the usual scone method, but this extra step helps me very much not to overwork the dough. It usually only takes 5-10 kneads before the dough comes together, smooths out, and forms a ball.

Also, baking time is very important! 2-3 minutes makes a big difference between a moist scone and a dry scone! Once the scones are golden on the edges and still pale on top, they only need about 2 more minutes to be perfect. There is also the burnt scone! Which I have done before.

 

When Life Hands you Lemons: Make Lemon Sorbet.

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Our lemon tree is going crazy right now.  The only problem with lemons is most people don’t want to eat them as is, they need to be made into something.  With a large pile of lemons in the house, and many more to come soon we had to come up with things to make out of lemon.  Lemonade is always a good option, but I wanted to do something different, something I have never tried before.

Since summer is fast approaching and the weather is warming up, I knew I wanted to do something cold.  I was thinking ice cream, but that can be heavy and filling.  I wanted to do a nice light summery recipe.  Finally, I landed on the idea of lemon sorbet.

I had never made sorbet before, but it was incredibly easy.  In fact, it is vastly easier then ice cream, and something I want to make again later in different flavors.

There are many lemon sorbet recipes on the internet.  I saw many that use lemon zest or peal.  I chose to omit that because I didn’t want bits in the sorbet.  I wanted it to be nice and smooth. My sorbet ended up being only three ingredients: water, sugar, and lemon juice.

The longest part of this recipe was juicing the lemons.  I doubled the recipe to have enough for all the family and needed to get 1.5 cups of lemon juice.

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After I juiced the lemons, I made a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar into water.

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Then I let the simple syrup cool to room temperature before adding my lemon juice.

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I put the lemon mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow it to get cold and make the freezing process faster.  At this point you freeze the sorbet according to your ice cream makers instructions.

I did find that the sorbet didn’t freeze as quickly as ice cream.  I think I had it churning in the maker for 40 minutes, the ice cream is usually done in 25-30 minutes.  I think it might be because the ice cream I make is custard, and is rather dense.  That allows it to conduct the cold much faster.  The sorbet wasn’t much thicker then water when I put it in the ice cream maker.  The sorbet came out of the maker about the texture of a slushy.  I put it into a container and then into the freezer.

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I was afraid the sorbet would be hard like a chunk of ice.  Thankfully, it scooped very easily.

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This lemon sorbet is quite tart.  It made my mouth pucker up a little bit, but it is so good.  It is the perfect mix of sweet and tangy.

The recipe will still work well halved.  I made a sugar free that was half sized.  I will be posting about that one later.

Lemon Sorbet

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1.5 cups lemon juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar, and boil until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the lemon juice. Transfer to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions. When the sorbet has frozen (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. The sorbet will solidify in the freezer.

-Joshua

 

 

 

May the Birthday Month!

This will be a very short post, but I just wanted to let you all know why I might not be able to post very much for the next few weeks. 

We have five children: four boys and one girl (she’s the youngest :). And the oldest three boys have birthdays all in May! So May is always a busy month for us.

I attempt to be really, really supermom this month because they each get their own cake and we do something special together on the days of their birthdays. Yesterday, we went to Legoland!

Ian also requested a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream. 🙂


I didn’t really get a good picture of the cake when it wasn’t sliced. But boy, was this cake good! Which surprised me because the layers didn’t rise very much. I used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Devil’s Food Whiteout Cake. I used a plain vanilla butter cream instead of the meringue frosting though. 

I think I’d need to double the recipe to get the height I would want in a layer cake, but this cake did turn out better than I expected!

The next cake is a chocolate chip cookie pizza. I’m tempted to try making a deep dish version!

Strawberry Limeade Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I have mentioned before that cake, specifically layer cakes, is not my forte. Just because it is not my forte though does not mean that I should not make one once in a while.

For our Easter lunch a few weeks ago, I wanted to make a cake. At first, it was just going to be a lime bundt cake. I had some homemade strawberry jam though in the fridge that I needed to use for something, so then I came up with the bright idea of a lime layer cake with strawberry jam and white chocolate frosting in the middle.

I had been itching to make a lime cake recipe I found on the internet for quite a while, so I was glad to finally have the chance to make it!

Find the recipe for key lime cake here: Key Lime Cake From Scratch

The above link also includes the recipe for a white chocolate buttercream frosting.

Find the recipe for homemade strawberry jam here: Small Batch Strawberry Vanilla Jam

I didn’t get to take any pictures of the actual process of making this cake, but I can talk a little bit about some of my mistakes (which always seem to be many when I am baking a cake!).

Mistake number one: I didn’t use enough lime zest! I think I used the 6 key limes as stated in the recipe, but I don’t think I ended up with enough lime zest.  I probably also should have used a little bit more lime juice. The cake itself definitely needed more oomph to it.

Mistake number two: Sprinkling day-old lime zest on the frosted cake. The lime zest lost its bright green color overnight. I don’t think I need to say what it looked like after sitting in the fridge overnight. I really should have used fresh zest on the cake.

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Mistake number three: I thought the cake layers were flat enough after baking and that I didn’t need to level them. I was wrong. I really should have sliced off  just a little bit. Because the top of the bottom layer wasn’t flat, the strawberry jam in the middle of the cake kept trying to slide out and down the side of the cake.

Mistake number four: Not doing a crumb coat when frosting. I was in a hurry. I guess I really shouldn’t make cakes when I am in a hurry. Or maybe I should just stick to bundt cakes!

Mistake number five: Using white chocolate buttercream frosting. Because the cake needed more lime flavor and thus wasn’t tart enough, the whole cake was too sweet and just didn’t have enough variances in flavor for me. A cream cheese frosting might have worked better in this case.

Mistake number six: Inferior chocolate candy eggs for the decoration. Those candy eggs in the picture were quite literally only for decoration. I bought them in bulk from a nearby grocery store and they just didn’t taste very good! Even Josh didn’t like them and that is saying something right there!

There weren’t any complaints from the kids about the cake itself, and none from Josh, so that is a good thing. I have to admit though; I think the key lime-mint bundt cake I posted about more than a month ago is still my favorite cake I’ve made so far.

Maybe I will try this recipe again when I am making a cake only for my family. And when I can taste more than one slice!

-Lynn