Category Archives: Lemon

Lemon Morning Buns

Lemon Morning Buns

If you’re searching for a way to brighten up your weekend, look no further than these Lemon Morning Buns. They’re glossy, golden, gorgeous and swirled with fresh lemon flavor throughout.

Lemon Morning Buns

This is my third morning buns recipe, and there’s a reason I keep returning to them: I get a lot of bang for my baking buck. Though these twisty little guys look like they take some real skill, the truth is that if you can make cinnamon rolls and tie a knot, you can make morning buns.

I’ve posted detailed shaping tutorials previously and will link to them in the recipe below, but rest assured that these buns really are simple beginning to end. The entire recipe has just 8 ingredients with several being used in multiple places. The dough is enriched with butter, egg and whole milk, and is a pleasure to work with; it’s smooth and sticky and kneads like a dream. Let it rise for 45 minutes or so, then layer it with a lemon-sugar filling and twist it into knots. Let them rise a little more, then bake and brush with a lemon glaze, leaving them shiny and a little sticky. Oh, and bursting with buttery lemon flavor.

Lemon Morning Buns

These Lemon Morning Buns are a great way to put a little sunshine in your weekend. Between their fluffy texture and intense lemon flavor, they’re guaranteed to brighten your day.

Lemon Morning Buns
Lemon 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 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1 1/2 medium lemons)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

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 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

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

Make the filling. Combine sugar, lemon zest and salt in a small bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release the oils in the zest.

**Shaping photo tutorial here!**

Shape the buns. Return dough to floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough into an 18x12-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 12x6-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 12x12-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 12x6-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 14x8-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 put 6 on a half-sheet sized pan).

Cover pans loosely with parchment or a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for another 25-30 minutes. Remove parchment/tea towel. The buns 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 9 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 8-9 minutes, or until golden brown.

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

Brush warm buns with glaze. Let cool a few minutes before serving. Baked buns are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

Strawberry Lemon Bars

Strawberry Lemon Bars

I feel like I’ve been throwing freeze-dried strawberries in everything lately, but who can blame me? They’re pretty readily available at your local Target or Trader Joe’s, are consistently tasty, and can be eaten as a snack or pulverized into powder and tossed into anything that you wish to look and taste like summer. You know, like these Strawberry Lemon Bars.

Strawberry Lemon Bars

These are simply Lemon Bars with two tablespoons of pulverized strawberry powder in the filling and a tiny bit more in the confectioner’s sugar topping. Seriously, that’s it—no other changes. Easy peasy.

The primary flavor here is lemon, but there’s just a *little* hint of strawberry—think something akin to pink lemonade. It’s a subtle thing, to be sure, but it’s there and it’s delicious.

Strawberry Lemon Bars

The color, as you can see is anything but subtle. It’s bright as can be, in fact, and I totally dig it. I mean, why make another batch of regular old lemon bars when you can add one ingredient and get to show up to the party/picnic/cookout/your couch with these gems? I think we can call agree that pink, summery desserts just taste better.

Strawberry Lemon Bars
Strawberry Lemon Bars
makes 16 bars

Shortbread Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes

Strawberry Lemon Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
2 tablespoons pulverized freeze-dried strawberries, from about 1/2 cup pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 3 medium lemons
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 drop red food coloring (optional)

Topping:
3-4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pulverized freeze-dried strawberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with parchment or aluminum foil, leaving overhang on two sides for removal. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the shortbread crust. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Mixture will be very crumbly and dry. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and use your fingertips to press it into one even layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, lemon zest and pulverized strawberry powder. Use your fingertips to rub zest and powder into sugar until combined. Mix in all-purpose flour and salt. Whisk in lemon juice, followed by eggs and egg yolk, and melted butter. Add food coloring, if using. Mixture will be thin.

Pour filling over the shortbread crust. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until center is set. Let cool completely on a rack before chilling for at least four hours.

Use the foil overhang to remove bars from the pan to a cutting board. Peel parchment (or foil) from the edges. Use a large, sharp chef's knife to slice bars.

In a small bowl, stir together confectioner’s sugar and pulverized strawberry powder. Sift confectioner's sugar over the tops of the bars before serving.

Serve bars immediately or refrigerate for up to three days. Confectioner’s sugar will degrade over time—this can be remedied by sifting more over the tops.
Strawberry Lemon Bars
Strawberry Lemon Bars
Strawberry Lemon Bars

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

If you’ve never had pavlova, your life summer dessert game might be about to change. This naturally gluten-free meringue cake has a crisp, glossy exterior and marshmallow-soft interior, and is a vehicle for all sorts of good things, including but not limited to whipped cream, lemon curd and fresh summer berries. It’s a perfect rustic-but-classy dessert to have in your warm weather recipe arsenal. I don’t have a roof deck or a backyard, but one day when I do, I’m going to have friends over for mocktails and pavlova all summer long, just because I can. In fact, my maternal grandparents’ backyard is the first place I ever remember eating pavlova.

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

You might be wondering “Is pavlova popular in North Texas?” The answer is a hard “no.” To tell you the truth, I don’t know how my grandma learned about it, aside from the part where she just *knew* how to throw together simple dinner party foods. If she ever told me, I’ve forgotten…probably because I was trying to get a whole bunch of fruit, whipped cream and meringue in my face as efficiently as possible. My best guess is our friends-who-are-family from Australia taught her about it during one of their visits.

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

So how did I go from eating pavlova exactly once during my Texan childhood to making it thirty-odd years later? Well, the answer is simple. I had leftover egg whites, a fresh jar of Lazy Lemon Curd, got a little over-ambitious with my berry purchasing, and I always have heavy cream. When life gives you those things, make Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries.

Like most things that rely whipped egg whites and sugar for structure, pavlova is incredibly simple to make. The most important step in the whole process is ensuring that your mixing bowl and mixer attachment are super clean and dry so that you end up with airy results and not sad egg white soup.

The actual work of making meringue is just gradually combining egg whites, salt, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and vinegar while your mixer works overtime to create stiff peaks. After that, form your meringue into a cake on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake it very low and slow before letting it cool completely in the oven.

Now, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that baked, cooled pavlova meringue can be made up to three days before you serve it. The bad news is that once you start piling toppings on it, your pavlova isn’t long for this world. Glossy, crisp, marshmallowy meringue is fleeting, so don’t assemble your pavlova until right before you want to serve it. But then, do it up!

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

Obviously, I went the lemon curd/whipped cream/fresh berries route here, but feel free to go wild with your pavlova toppings. Change the fruit to mango, pineapple, cherries or peaches! Grate on chocolate! Scatter toasted coconut over the top! Use key lime curd in place of lemon and sprinkle crushed graham crackers on there. Key Lime Pie-vlova, anyone?!

But back to the point, which is, as always, to take my recipe and make it yours. Like I said, your life summer dessert game might be about to change.

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
makes one pavlova, about 8 servings

Pavlova:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

For Assembly:
1 cup Lazy Lemon Curd or other lemon curd
2-3 cups fresh berries of choice (I used strawberries, raspberries & blueberries)

Preheat oven to 250F. Draw an 8-inch circle on a sheet of parchment big enough for a rimmed sheet pan. Turn the parchment over (so the drawn circle side is facing down) and place on the pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a separate very small bowl, combine vanilla and vinegar. Set aside.

Add egg whites and salt to a very clean, dry mixing bowl. Starting at the lowest setting and gradually ramping up to medium-high, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites until foamy (about 2-3 minutes). With the mixer running, add sugar-cornstarch mixture a tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Then add the vanilla-vinegar mixture. Turn the speed up to high and whip until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes).

Turn the mixture (now a meringue) out onto the prepared baking sheet, using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to gently spread it to the edges of the circle. Make it taller at the edges than the center so you have a logical place for the toppings.

Place pavlova in the oven and bake for 75 minutes (1:15) until puffed, glossy, and slightly cream-colored. Turn off the oven and wedge a wooden spoon in the door to keep it slightly ajar. Let the pavlova cool completely in the oven (a couple of hours or overnight).

If not using immediately, carefully remove the pavlova from the parchment and double wrap with plastic wrap. Keep at room temperature for up to three days.

Assemble the pavlova immediately before serving. If wrapped, gently remove and discard plastic wrap. Place pavlova on a serving plate.

Make whipped cream topping. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form.

Spread the top of the pavlova with lemon curd. Spoon/spread whipped cream over the top. Finish with berries of choice. Serve immediately.
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Sugar CookiesIf you’re keeping track, this is my third lemon dessert in six weeks. What can I say? I’ve got a fridge full of lemons and I know how to use them.

Sunny Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Lemon Meringue Tart
Lemon Sugar Cookies ✅✅✅ Lemon Sugar CookiesY’all these Lemon Sugar Cookies are so good and so easy! The dough comes together in a pot on the stove just like my Maple Sugar Cookies—no need to dirty a mixing bowl! There’s no chill required for this recipe either, although there are a couple of ten minute rests for the flour to soak in all that buttery lemon goodness. Still, these are easy, easy, easy.Lemon Sugar CookiesThe ingredient list here is relatively short, but has one somewhat unusual addition: confectioner’s sugar. This super-smooth mix of sugar and cornstarch keeps these cookies soft, tender and just sweet enough. If you’ve tried my all-egg yolks chocolate chip cookies, you know what a game changer this is!

As for the lemon flavor, it comes from lemons (duh). The dough is flavored with only lemon zest, and the baked cookies finished off with a quick lemon glaze. The finished products are buttery and bright and pretty dang wonderful, but you can add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract if you’d like an extra lemony punch.Lemon Sugar CookiesPro Tip: wait a little bit to eat these. The difference in flavor between the time they are glazed and thirty minutes later is shocking to say the least. Somehow that half hour allows the lemon flavor to really shine through.Lemon Sugar CookiesLemon Sugar Cookies are crisp at the edges and chewy throughout, the way so many of the best cookies are. And make no mistake, these are the best cookies—the kind that are low maintenance and deliver big time. Take the time to make a batch this weekend. You’ll see.Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies
makes about 1.5 dozen cookies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (from about 1 medium-large lemon)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Lemon Glaze:
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
5-6 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 of a medium-large lemon)

Arrange your oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Place butter in a medium pot (4 quart) over medium-low heat. Melt, then cool 10 minutes.

Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and use your fingertips to rub them together. Whisk the mixture into the butter, followed by the confectioner’s sugar.

Add the egg and yolk to the pot and whisk to combine. Whisk in the vanilla, followed by flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Let dough sit for 10 minutes.

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I use a medium cookie scoop). Roll into balls and place at least 2.5 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake cookies 10-11 minutes, or until puffed and no longer raw looking. Cookies will relax as they begin to cool.

Set a cooling rack over a pieces of wax paper or parchment.

Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on the pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl use a fork to whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt and 5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice. Add more lemon juice by the 1/2 teaspoon, until desired consistency is reached.

Load glaze into a small piping bag and snip off the tiniest corner. The glaze will be dry to the touch within 20 minutes and harden after a few hours.

For best lemon flavor, let glazed cookies rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Lemon Sugar CookiesLemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart

Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartI put a lemon meringue pie on here a few years back, and while it was good, it wasn’t great. I didn’t add enough sugar to the meringue, so it browned in a weird way, and I had a bit too much liquid in the filling. The good news is that baking is a journey, not a destination. I’ve gained experience and used it to make a truly killer lemon meringue pie filling. I’ve already updated the old pie recipe and will take new photos soon, but until then, let’s discuss this Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartYou read that right: Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart. Like tangy lemon filling and airy meringue layered into a giant coconut macaroon crust. Oh y’all, this is something special.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartLet me get this out of the way: we are talking about macaroons (coconut) not macarons (delicate French almond cookies). Both are delicious, but today is all about this magical three-ingredient coconut crust.It’s made only of shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk and salt, and resembles a coconut macaroon in both flavor and texture. It’s naturally grain-free and incredibly easy to make—just stir the ingredients together, press the mix into a heavily-buttered pan and bake until golden. Unlike traditional pie crusts (and very much like a macaroon) it will stay a bit soft, but will hold up with just about any filling you like. You know, like chocolate ganache…or lemon meringue.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartI know lemon meringue filling can be intimidating if you haven’t made it before, but I promise it’s not scary. I think it’s the color blocking that sends people running for the nearest bakery, but lemon meringue is just a marriage of two really simple recipes. The lemon portion is very similar to the grapefruit filling from the pie I posted last week. As with that recipe, if you can make pudding on the stovetop, you can make this. Heck, if you can use a whisk, you can make this. The most important thing to remember is to have all your ingredients prepared and within arm’s reach before you turn on the stove. This process goes quickly, but isn’t stressful at all if you have your ingredients ready. Just whisk, whisk, whisk and in mere moments, you’ll have made gorgeous, golden lemon filling.

As for meringue, it’s a snap to make. The key to success with meringue (and all whipped egg white things) is making sure your bowls and mixer attachments are very clean and dry before you begin; any errant drop of yolk, water or oil will keep your meringue from fluffing up properly. Just like with the lemon portion of this operation, preparation is everything. I go so far as to wipe my kitchen tools down with vinegar before whipping egg whites. Though that might seem like overkill, it’s worth it when you get billowy meringue every time!Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartRegarding assembly, you’ll need to have your crust baked and cooled and the meringue whipped before you make the lemon filling. The reason for this is that the filling needs to be piping hot when it meets the meringue. By doing this, we are allowing the egg whites in the meringue to bake directly onto the entire surface of the filling, helping them to fuse together so they don’t slide apart during slicing. Once filled, the tart will need to bake for about 25 minutes, just until the meringue is beginning to turn golden.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartSome people like their lemon meringue desserts at room temperature, but I prefer mine cold. Also, I think it makes for more aesthetically pleasing slices. That color blocking though 😍 Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartOne persnickety thing about lemon meringue desserts? They need to be served the day they’re made. Meringue is a beautiful thing, but it is fleeting. If not served within hours of baking, it will begin to weep. Ew. Rest assured that even if you don’t have the time to bake and serve on the same day you can still get your lemon macaroon tart fix. The solution? Skip the meringue layer. You can cool the tart just after adding the lemon filling, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Have a great weekend, y’all!Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart

Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart
makes one 9- or 10-inch tart

Macaroon Crust:
1 14 ounce package sweetened flaked coconut
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Meringue:
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 large egg whites, room temperature

Filling:
5 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (about 1 medium lemon)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9- or 10- inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again.

Make the crust. Combine sweetened flaked coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold together until combined. It will be thick.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Lightly grease your hands before pressing mixture onto the bottom and up the sides. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until edges are browned and center is turning pale golden. Remove to a rack and cool completely.

Make the meringue. In a small bowl, use a fork to combine cream of tartar and sugar. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, use a fork to whisk together cornstarch, water, and vanilla. Microwave in 10 second increments, whisking with a fork in between, until mixture gels (about 30-35 seconds total).

Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat them on medium-high for 1-2 minutes, until frothy. Add sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time, beating until completely incorporated. Add cornstarch mixture one tablespoon at a time, until combined. Continue beating on medium speed until egg whites form stiff peaks. Set aside.

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to beat egg yolks. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, use your fingers to rub lemon zest into sugar. Whisk together lemon sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in water. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches a simmer and thickens. Whisking constantly, pour 1/3 of the mixture into the egg yolks. Whisking constantly, add egg yolk mixture to the pan, followed by lemon juice. Whisk continue to whisk until mixture comes to a simmer for 1 additional minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter. Push filling through a sieve to remove lumps.

Pour hot filling into prepared crust. Drop spoonfuls of meringue over the top of the filling, making sure all edges are covered. Use the back of the spoon to spread it out. Bake 25-30 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned. Let pie cool completely on a rack. Chill uncovered for a couple of hours.

Before serving, carefully run a thin flexible knife between the crust and the pan a couple of times. Release the springform. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve immediately.

Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart is best served the day it’s made. Meringue will weep over time.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon Tart