Category Archives: citrus

Coconut Lime Squares

Coconut Lime SquaresI started fiddling with this recipe pre-social distancing, and have gotten close to posting it twice, but then hesitated at the last second both times. The first attempt was just golden toasted coconut on shortbread. Tasty, but also a little dry. The second involved a can of sweetened condensed milk drizzled over the top before baking. The consistency was right, but the results were a little one note—they needed acid.Coconut Lime SquaresThis, the third and final go-round, has the zest and juice of two limes,* an egg yolk and a little salt stirred into that sweetened condensed milk, so that it bakes up reminiscent of Key Lime Pie filling. Yum!

*Yes, you can use lemons. Then they’ll be Coconut Lemon Squares.Coconut Lime SquaresFor those of you concerned about using only an egg yolk in a recipe right now (no food waste allowed in a pandemic!), you’ll be relieved to know that the white gets used in the coconut layer. It’s whisked together with sugar, salt and vanilla, and then used to coat a bunch of flaked coconut before baking.Coconut Lime SquaresI used large-flake unsweetened coconut because that’s what I had on hand, but feel free to swap in a finer flake/shred style. If you’re using sweetened coconut, cut the added sugar in the topping to 1-2 tablespoons. I wouldn’t leave it out completely, as you want it to get really good and toasty and for the coconut below to be vaguely…marshmallowy? Sounds weird, yes, but that’s the word to describe its flavor, if not its texture. Trust me, it’s like a big macaroon and you’re going to love it.Coconut Lime SquaresAs for the crust, it’s just shortbread: flour, sugar, salt, cold butter. It’s crunchy, flaky and buttery—the perfect vehicle for the lime filling and coconut topping. I understand that a lot of people cannot get their hands on flour right now, so please note that you can use a graham cracker, Oreo (or Golden Oreo), or another crumb crust and it will work just fine. It may even be better…maybe I should have done a round four? Should I have bailed on posting at the last second again?

Oh lord. Somebody social distance me from myself.Coconut Lime Squares

Coconut Lime Squares
makes 1 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 servings

Shortbread Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold

Lime Filling:
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
zest of 2 medium limes
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 medium limes)
1 large egg yolk
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Toasted Coconut Topping:
1 large egg white, room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flaked unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil. Grease. Set aside.

Make the shortbread crust. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub butter into flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It will be powdery, but should hold together when pinched.

Pour shortbread mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using the flat bottom of a measuring cup (or the heel of your hand) to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Bake 10 minutes to set. Wipe out bowl (no need to wash) and set aside for coconut topping.

Make the lime filling. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, lime zest & juice, egg yolk, and salt. It may thicken slightly. Set aside.

Make the toasted coconut topping. In a medium mixing bowl (I use the same one I used for the crust), use a fork to whisk together egg white, sugar and vanilla, just until bubbly/a little foamy, about 1 minute. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in coconut.

Spoon lime filling over shortbread crust. Use a silicone spatula or the back of a spoon to carefully spread into an even layer. Scatter coconut filling over the lime filling, making sure to get it all the way to the edges. Press down lightly.

Bake 30-35 minutes, or until coconut is deeply toasted on top and center barely jiggles when pan is jostled. If coconut begins to burn during baking, tent with foil.

Let pan cool completely in a pan on a rack. Use foil overhang to transfer to a cutting board. Peel off foil. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice into squares, wiping clean between cuts as necessary. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Squares will keep covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4.Coconut Lime SquaresCoconut Lime SquaresCoconut Lime Squares

Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies Oh y’all, I have winter citrus on my mind. Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls, Orange Cardamom Cake, Key Lime Linzers, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins—if you can throw zest or juice into it, I. am. interested.

That goes double for these Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies, which contain plenty of fresh grapefruit zest and juice, and even have some extra zip from a lemon! They’re a little on the soft side with huge citrus flavor—perfect for a party, late night dessert, or pairing with a cup of tea. If you are looking for a recipe to drag you out of the winter doldrums, this is it.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesGrapefruit Sandwich Cookies are exactly what they sound like. The cookies themselves are a variation on my favorite sugar cookie dough. I nixed the cream cheese in favor of more butter, reduced the baking powder and threw in some grapefruit zest for obvious reasons. They’re baked until they’re just barely done, about 6 minutes.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesThe filling is the completely stellar Grapefruit Curd that I made for kolaches a couple of years ago. It takes some zesting, juicing and whisking, but it’s actually incredibly simple to make. Just make sure to make it ahead so it’s fully chilled by the time you want to assemble.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesPipe it almost to the edges. You want the curd to peek out the sides.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesYou may certainly eat these cookies right after assembly, but I highly recommend refrigerating them for about 6 hours before doing so. This allows the curd to set and the cookies to soften slightly so that everything stays in place when you bite in. You know, instead of falling apart in your hands. Not that that’s a bad thing.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesYou’ll notice that the batch makes 8(-ish) dozen cookies. Don’t let this scare you off! The cookies are teeny, made with a 1 1/2-inch cutter, and will keep for approximately eternity (…or a week) in the fridge. If you want to make fewer larger cookies, feel free to use a 2 1/2-inch cutter and maybe give them an extra minute in the oven. I’m pretty fond of these little gems though. Anything that allows me to eat five cookies in one sitting is okay by me.Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies
makes 8-ish dozen very small cookies

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ruby red grapefruit zest (from about 1 1/2 grapefruits)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling:
1 recipe Grapefruit Curd, made ahead & chilled (recipe below)

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
cookie cutters

Read through this recipe before beginning. The grapefruit curd will need to be made ahead of time and the assembled cookies are best after a 4-6 hour chill.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use your fingertips to rub grapefruit zest into sugar. Add butter and use an electric mixer to beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Divide dough into quarters.

Working with one quarter at a time, sandwich dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll until 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to the freezer (on a baking sheet, if desired) for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. It is okay to stack the sheets of dough in the freezer.

While the dough is freezing, preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Remove one sheet of dough from the freezer. Peel on of the pieces of parchment off. Use a lightly floured 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut cookies. Place them at least 1 inch apart on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough. Scraps can be re-rolled, frozen, and cut.

Bake cookies 6-7 minutes, until no longer raw looking. Let cookies cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with any remaining dough.

To assemble sandwich cookies, place half the baked cookies on a surface bottom-side-up. Load grapefruit curd into a piping bag and snip a small corner. Pipe filling almost to the edge (1/8-1/4-inch blank border on all sides) on each cookie before gently topping with another cookie, bottom-side-down. Repeat until all cookies have been filled.

Place filled cookies on a rimmed baking sheet (or other large-ish pan) and chill for 4-6 hours or overnight before serving. This will slightly soften the cookies and keep the curd from squishing out when you take a bite.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Grapefruit Curd
makes about 1 1/3 cups

1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, from about 2 large grapefruits
2 tablespoons grapefruit zest, from about 2 large grapefruits
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, from about 1/2 medium lemon
1 large egg + 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 24 small cubes

Pour grapefruit juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 12-15 minutes). Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

In the heatproof bowl, whisk together grapefruit zest, sugar, warm grapefruit reduction, lemon juice, and eggs. Set bowl over the pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens slightly (it should coat the back of a spoon). Add butter 1-2 cubes at a time, whisking until melted. Continue until all butter is used. This should take 11-15 minutes total.

Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium mixing bowl. Push curd through sieve to remove zest. Transfer curd to a jar (or other container) and press a piece of plastic wrap to the top. Chill well.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesGrapefruit Sandwich CookiesGrapefruit Sandwich Cookies

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed MuffinsIt’s been gloomy out lately, but I’m keeping it sunny in my kitchen with these classic Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.Lemon Poppy Seed MuffinsThey’ve got loads of bright lemon flavor from fresh zest and juice, a little crunchy texture from poppy seeds, and they stay moist for days thanks to ingredients like eggs, oil and whole milk.Lemon Poppy Seed MuffinsThese muffins come together quickly and easily and don’t require a mixer. In fact, a mixer would be a detriment here. The secret to tender Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (and most muffins and quick breads) is to mix them as little as possible. You can stir the wet and dry ingredients separately as much as you like, but once they’re in the same bowl, you want to stir just 15 or 20 times.Lemon Poppy Seed MuffinsThe batter is divided into 12 muffin cups before being baked at 400F for five minutes, and then 350F for fifteen more. That initial blast of heat helps them to dome, while the remaining bake time ensures they cook evenly.Lemon Poppy Seed MuffinsOnce baked, let your muffins cool a few minutes before drizzling on a quick lemon glaze. You could skip it in the name of breakfast or health, but…why?

Life is short. Muffins are breakfast-appropriate cupcakes. This glaze is “secretly” an icing.

Don’t. skip. the. glaze.Lemon Poppy Seed MuffinsServe your Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins up with coffee or tea or whatever makes you happy. Good luck resisting a second. I’ve been known to eat three or four of these throughout the day, which seems like a lot, but can you blame me?Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
makes 12 muffins

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 medium lemons)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 medium lemons)
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2-1 medium lemon)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, use your fingertips to rub lemon zest into sugar. Whisk in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds.

In a small-medium mixing bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk together milk, lemon juice, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon just until combined—no more than 15-20 strokes.

Divide batter among muffin cups—they will be full. Carefully tap the pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350F and bake for an additional 14-16 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a cooling rack over a sheet of parchment or wax paper.

Remove muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing to prepared rack.

Make glaze. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar and lemon juice until thick, but pourable. Pour or drizzle over muffins. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving. Glaze will set completely after several hours.

Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days. Unglazed muffins may be double-wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 3 months.Lemon Poppy Seed MuffinsLemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls

Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsToday is alllll about meyer lemons, y’all! As far as I’m concerned, they’re the queen of winter citrus. If you’ve never tried them, they’re what happens when you cross a mandarin orange with a lemon. This goes without saying, but they’re very, very good in baked goods.

Exhibit A: these Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls!Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsThese tall, fluffy rolls make excellent use of meyer lemon juice and zest. They’re bright and tangy and just a little bit sticky, but in the best sort of way.Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsMeyer Lemon Sweet RollsMeyer Lemon Sweet RollsThese rolls get three doses of meyer lemon flavor. The first is in the filling, which is simply a paste made of meyer lemon zest, sugar, salt and melted butter. It’s spread onto the dough before it’s rolled up, sliced, risen and baked.Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsNext up: a glaze! I got the idea for painting on a glaze from last year’s Meyer Lemon Drizzle Cakes and I regret nothing. This simple syrup is made of meyer lemon juice and a few tablespoons of sugar, and brushed onto the rolls right after they come out of the oven. It makes them a little sticky and a little glossy and I am very much here for it.Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsMeyer Lemon Sweet RollsIt’s all rounded out with a layer of meyer lemon icing. Ohhhh, the icing. It’s the crowning glory of this whole operation! To make it, just whisk a couple tablespoons of meyer lemon juice and a pinch of salt into a cup of confectioners sugar, and then spoon/pour/drizzle/spread it all over the tops of the rolls so that they’re absolutely impossible to resist.Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsAnd then eat the dang rolls and bask in the sunshiny goodness that is the union of perfect winter citrus and fluffy pastry. Bask, I tell you.Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls

Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls
makes 12 rolls

Dough:
2 2/3-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature

Filling:
2 tablespoons meyer lemon zest (about 2-3 meyer lemons)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh meyer lemon juice (1-2 meyer lemons)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Icing:
1 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2-3 tablespoons fresh meyer lemon juice (1-1 1/2 meyer lemons)

Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish or rimmed baking pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 110F.

Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold milk mixture into dry ingredients , followed by beaten eggs. Add more all-purpose flour in 2 tablespoon increments until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 5-6 minutes before forming into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes (you may do this in a bowl, but I just do this on my surface).

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use your fingertips to rub meyer lemon zest into sugar. Add salt and melted butter and stir with a fork until a paste forms.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12×18-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or the back of a spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, keeping a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge closest to your body, tightly roll filled dough away from you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size. Remove pan from oven.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes (mine took 27), tenting the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

While rolls are baking, make the glaze. In a small bowl, use a fork to stir together meyer lemon juice and sugar. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the sugar has dissolved (45-60 seconds total).

Remove rolls from the oven. Let cool 1-2 minutes, then use a pastry brush to paint glaze all over all exposed pastry. Use all glaze. Let sit 5 minutes while you make the icing.

Make the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of meyer lemon juice. Add more juice by the teaspoon (up to 3 teaspoons) until icing is thick, but pourable.

Spoon/pour icing over the rolls and use an offset icing knife or the back of a spoon to spread icing over the rolls as desired. Serve.

Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls are best served the day they are made, but will keep covered at room temperature for a day or so.Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsMeyer Lemon Sweet RollsMeyer Lemon Sweet Rolls

Orange Cardamom Morning Buns

Orange Cardamom Morning BunsThere’s little rhyme or reason as to what I choose to blog—it’s usually just whatever I’ve felt like making lately. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a breakfast kick. I’m not exactly sure how many fall breakfast options I think you need, but it’s at least three: waffles, a pumpkin-spiced oven pancake, and these Orange Cardamom Morning Buns.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsI mean, look at these sticky, swirly things! You need them. I need them. Preferably on Saturday morning alongside my daily French press.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsThey’re flaky and fluffy, filled with a fragrant orange-cardamom sugar, and twisted to perfection. The crowning glory is a brush of orange-cardamom glaze as soon as the buns come out of the oven, which gives them an extra layer of flavor and their gleaming appearance.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOh, and they take two hours start-to-finish—a rarity in the from-scratch breakfast bun realm. And their twists? Much easier than they look. My motor skills are seriously lacking (I am comically bad with scissors), so if I can shape them, anyone can.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsJust twist a strip of dough and tie it in a knot. Boom, done.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsEven if you do it “wrong” (which is near-impossible), I promise they will still turn out beautifully. And even if they don’t (which is also near-impossible—can you see that I did this with one hand?), call ‘em rustic. That’s what I do. If anyone complains, eat theirs. That’s also what I do.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsWhat?! You don’t need that negativity at breakfast.Orange Cardamom Morning Buns

Orange Cardamom Morning Buns
makes 12 buns

Dough:
2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
4 teaspoons ground cardamom
pinch of fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze:
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Make the dough. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and milk together until just warm to the touch, about 95-110 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, add the butter/milk mixture in a thin stream until completely combined. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together. A shaggy dough should form and be pulling away from the bowl. Gradually add flour in 2 tablespoon increments until the it pulls away a bit.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Gather dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a little oil on all sides. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Make the filling. Combine sugar and orange zest in a small bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release the oils in the zest. Use a fork to stir in cardamom and salt.

Shape the buns. Return dough to floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Brush dough with butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Mentally divide the dough into thirds, like an unfolded letter. Place half the sugar mixture in the middle third of the dough—it’ll be a 12×6-inch section surrounded by two buttered sections of the same size.

Carefully grab one short side of the dough and fold it over the center, so that the dimensions are now 12×12-inches. Brush the top of the folded section with more butter and scatter on the remaining sugar mixture. Fold the other short side over the top so that the dimensions are 12×6-inches. Tap edges “closed” with your rolling pin.

Carefully lift and turn dough over so that the seam is against the floured surface. Roll the dough so that the dimensions are 14×8-inches.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim the short edges of the dough by about 1/2-inch. Slice dough into 12 strips. Working with one strip at a time, twist the ends until you have a loosely-twisted rope of dough. Carefully bring ends toward one another until they cross over one another and create a small hole. Tuck ends into that hole. Place shaped buns on prepared pans, leaving about 6 inches of space between (I can get 6 on a half-sheet sized pan).

Cover pans loosely with wax paper (or parchment) and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for another 25-30 minutes. Remove wax paper (or parchment). They will not seem to have changed drastically, but if you poke one with your finger, the indentation should remain. If any ends have come loose, just nudge them back into the centers.

Place oven racks in the center positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake buns for 10 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown.

While buns are baking, make the glaze. Combine orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cardamom and butter.

Use a pastry brush to brush warm buns with glaze. Buns are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning Buns