About Lauren

Posts by Lauren :

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Good morning, everyone! Fudge week is continuing here on Lemon & Mocha with this Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge. Similar to Monday’s variation, the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge introduces a tart element that pairs extremely well with the rich chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes in the fall and winter flavors can become really heavy so I love having a dessert with a bright fruitiness or acidity, which is exactly what we get with this Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge. I’ve taken our classic chocolate fudge base and added raspberry extract before topping it off with some freeze dried raspberries and mini semisweet chocolate chips.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’ve had the World’s Smoothest Chocolate Fudge then you know it’s quite rich in its chocolate flavor so it takes a bit to break through all that chocolateyness. The amount of raspberry extract and freeze dried raspberries we’re adding allows the fudge to balance the fine line of the raspberry flavor being present while being neither overpowering nor too subtle.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

The reason we’re using freeze dried raspberries instead of fresh raspberries is because when they are freeze dried the flavor becomes more concentrated, which is exactly what we need in this recipe. Also, we’re able to get the raspberry flavor without any additional moisture that fresh fruit would bring. You can find freeze dried raspberries in quite a few stores; I’ve bought them in both Target and Trader Joe’s.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Don’t forget the mini semisweet chocolate chips on top! Since they’re just chocolate on top of more chocolate they don’t actually add any flavor nuances to this fudge, but they make it look even cuter between all the pops of red from the raspberries and adding a nice textural bit to the topping. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge
 
Yield: 64 pieces
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce unsweetened Baker’s baking chocolate
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon raspberry extract
  • Freeze dried raspberries for topping, about 3 tablespoons
  • Mini semisweet chocolate chips for topping, about 3 tablespoons
Directions
  1. Line an 8" x 8" pan with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Double Boiler Method: If not using a double boiler, skip to the next step. Melt butter and the Baker’s chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Pour in half the bag of chocolate chips and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted. Carefully stir in the condensed milk to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the raspberry extract. Skip to step 4.
  3. Saucepan Method: Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a medium nonstick saucepan over low heat, stirring regularly with a heatproof spatula to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine. Let the mixture get a little warm then pour in half the bag of chocolate chips. Stir to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted, being sure to scrape the bottom as you stir. Stir in the raspberry extract and remove from the heat.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Top with the freeze dried raspberries. Let cool very slightly then top with the mini chocolate chips. Press down lightly and refrigerate until the fudge is set. Once set cut into bite size pieces.

 

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Fudge

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Fudge season is back! I know I posted the Dirt Fudge recipe this summer and talked about how fudge is delicious all year round, which is true, but it still peaks during the holiday season. I have a special 12 Days of Christmas Cookies planned so my holiday post schedule filled up quickly, which is why I’m sharing this Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Fudge recipe with you all when it’s still October.

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s never too early to start planning holiday baking and treat gifting! In fact, to help you out I’m sharing brand new fudge recipes with you all week long. That’s three new epic fudge creations!

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m kicking off Lemon & Mocha’s fudge week with something simple. I’ve taken Diane’s classic, tried-and-true, World’s Smoothest Chocolate Fudge and I’ve added some chopped pistachios and sweetened dried cranberries. The crunch of the pistachios plus the tartness of the dried cranberries are a perfect addition to this rich and creamy dark chocolate fudge. And, bonus, how cute do the little bits of red and green look for Christmas time?

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve always made fudge using a double boiler as that is how Diane taught me, but last year I had success using just a nonstick saucepan. I tested it out for quite a few batches and had positive results every time so I’ve included both the double boiler method and the saucepan method in the recipe below. I can’t wait for you all to experience the rest of Lemon & Mocha fudge week – the next two recipes are outrageous!

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Fudge
 
Yield: 64 pieces
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce unsweetened Baker’s baking chocolate
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios, chopped, plus more for topping
  • ⅓ cup sweetened dried cranberries, plus more for topping
Directions
  1. Line an 8" x 8" pan with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Double Boiler Method: If not using a double boiler, skip to the next step. Melt butter and the Baker’s chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Pour in half the bag of chocolate chips and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted. Carefully stir in the condensed milk to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract, the pistachios and the dried cranberries. Skip to step 4.
  3. Saucepan Method: Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a medium nonstick saucepan over low heat, stirring regularly with a heatproof spatula to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine. Let the mixture get a little warm then pour in half the bag of chocolate chips. Stir to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted, being sure to scrape the bottom as you stir. Stir in the vanilla extract, the pistachios and the dried cranberries and remove from the heat.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Top with additional pistachios and dried cranberries, lightly press down.
  5. Refrigerate until the fudge is set then cut into bite size pieces. Best eaten straight from the fridge.

 

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s time for the final seasonal cupcakes on Lemon & Mocha! Of course not the last seasonal cupcakes I’m ever going to post, just the final ones this year. For those of you who haven’t been following along, last year for my birthday my goddaughter gifted me with unique cupcake toppers from Etsy for each season. The cute toppers inspired plenty of delicious cupcakes all year long, including winter’s Hot Chocolate Cupcakes, the Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes in spring and summer’s Classic Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream.

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

There are so many warm and inviting fall flavors to choose from so I decided to go with two of my favorites: apple and maple. These are Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream – and they are crazy delicious. The cupcake is moist, loaded with shredded apple and filled with plenty of the warming spices you find in apple pie, such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

The buttercream on top balances both the maple and brown sugar flavors while bringing the perfect amount of sweetness to the little apple spiced cupcakes. There’s also a hint of saltiness in the buttercream, which really works well with the sweet flavors.

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

I chose to make mini cupcakes this time because I’ve been baking so many desserts that just a little mini cupcake (or two) was preferable to having a huge cupcake every time. They were super easy to frost with a piping bag, too, because each one just needs a little dollop of frosting.

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was worried about making a cupcake filled with fruit because sometimes it can add too much moisture to the batter, as seen from a few failed experiments I had this summer. I’m excited to report that the combination of straining and squeezing the shredded apple dry to get as much liquid out as possible worked perfectly to allow for a moist apple-filled cupcake, while still having that light and springy texture an ideal cupcake should have. I hope you all love these cute fall mini cupcakes as much as we do!

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream  |  Lemon & Mocha

Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream
 
Yield: 48 mini cupcakes
Ingredients
for the cupcakes
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup buttermilk (see note)
  • 3 cups peeled, shredded and strained gala apples, about 3-4 medium apples
for the frosting
  • 2¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
for the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 24 cup mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes, scrapping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Add the buttermilk and beat on low until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until a few streaks remain. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the shredded apple, making sure you’ve strained the water out and squeezed the apple shreds dry with a paper towel or cheesecloth.
  4. Use half the batter to fill the 24 prepared mini cupcake liners. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool for a couple minutes in the pan then carefully move the mini cupcakes to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Add 24 more cupcake liners to the pan and repeat with the rest of the batter.
for the frosting
  1. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the confectioners’ sugar, brown sugar, butter and salt, first on low then on medium until fluffy. Add the maple syrup and vanilla then beat on medium-high until combined. Frost the cooled cupcakes. If piping on the frosting, use a Wilton 1M tip to pipe small star swirls onto each mini cupcake.
Notes
To make your own buttermilk: pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Pour milk, any fat percentage, into the measuring cup until you have ¾ of a cup. Let sit 5 minutes before using.

Cupcake recipe adapted from Chowhound.
Frosting recipe adapted from Country Living.

Light Baked Spaghetti

Light Baked Spaghetti  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love a good one dish meal. Not exactly a one pot meal since we’re cooking in a pot and a sauté pan on the stove before putting everything in a baking dish. But one dish where all the protein, veggies and starch are combined for an all-in-one meal deal.

Light Baked Spaghetti  |  Lemon & Mocha

You’re probably sitting on your phone or computer thinking, um, Lauren, it’s called a casserole. But casseroles are usually cooked slowly in the oven, while this Light Baked Spaghetti is mostly cooked on the stovetop and then just baked a little extra in the oven to get warm and melt the cheeses.

Light Baked Spaghetti  |  Lemon & Mocha

There’s so much goodness in this meal! It’s basically a hybrid of a spaghetti dinner and sausage, peppers and onions. We’ve loaded in angel hair pasta, a simple tomato and basil sauce, chicken sausage, sautéed mushrooms, peppers and onions and some gooey cheese.

Light Baked Spaghetti  |  Lemon & Mocha

You can use any type of chicken sausage you prefer. I used a sun-dried tomato and basil chicken sausage from Wegman’s and it was perfect. The original recipe calls for whole wheat pasta, which you can certainly use if you like it. Matt and I aren’t big fans of whole wheat pasta so instead I used Barilla Protein Plus.

Light Baked Spaghetti  |  Lemon & Mocha

Matt and I ate this Light Baked Spaghetti three nights in a row for dinner and we weren’t mad about it one bit. In fact, we missed it when it was all gone! I hope you all enjoy this baked pasta dish!

Light Baked Spaghetti  |  Lemon & Mocha

Light Baked Spaghetti
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta, whole wheat or preferred type
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces chicken sausage, crumbled, see note
  • 2 bell peppers, stems removed and diced, see note
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • ½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Cooking spray
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil then cook pasta according to package instructions for al dente, drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the crumbled chicken sausage and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt and Italian seasoning. Cook until the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil and ¾ cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 15 minutes. The sauce should be thickened slightly.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9”x13” pan with cooking spray.
  5. When the sauce is done simmering, toss in the pasta until coated. Add half the pasta mixture to the baking dish. Sprinkle with half of each cheese then add the remaining pasta mixture on top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, removing the foil with 5 minutes left. If you want the top to be crunchier you can broil for a couple minutes at the end. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
You can use any type of chicken sausage you prefer. Sweet Italian, roasted garlic or sun-dried tomato and basil are all great options. If your chicken sausages have thick casings that are able to be removed then remove them before crumbling. If the casings are soft and crumble along with the sausage then just do that instead.
You can use any type of bell peppers you prefer. I don’t like green peppers so I used 1 red pepper and 1 orange pepper.

 Recipe from January/February 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Southwestern Sweet Potato Noodles

Southwestern Sweet Potato Noodles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you jumped on the spiralizing bandwagon yet? I’ve had the KitchenAid attachment for a couple years now and it makes spiralizing veggies so easy. Spiralized zucchini is my go-to, but I’ve also enjoyed baked spiralized french fries and roasted spiralized beets. I had yet to try spiralized sweet potatoes so I was excited when I came across this recipe for Southwestern Sweet Potato Noodles in my Food Network Magazine binder archives.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Noodles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Once you have your sweet potato noodles, whether you spiralized them yourself or picked some up at the store, this is a quick one-pan meal. The sweet potato noodles get sautéed along with corn, bell pepper and onion. Smoky ground cumin, chili powder, ground coriander, fresh cilantro (or parsley if you dislike cilantro), and plenty of lime juice help give the dish it’s southwestern flair.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Noodles  |  Lemon & Mocha

This is a vegetarian meal so have it for Meatless Monday alongside a small salad, or add a protein of your choice. Matt and I liked it left vegetarian, but I think it would also be great with some chicken sausage or sliced steak on top.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Noodles  |  Lemon & Mocha

When you’re sautéing the sweet potatoes, use the time in the recipe below as a gauge. It will greatly depend on the thickness of your sweet potato noodles. The original recipe photo showed really thin noodles, almost shaved, and I could tell since the cook time they had listed was way too short for my much thicker noodles. You want them cooked through, but still with a little structure to them, otherwise they’ll taste mushy. Also, another note about the recipe is that if you’re looking for some extra zing with these noodles try adding a little zest from the lime. Enjoy!

Southwestern Sweet Potato Noodles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Southwestern Sweet Potato Noodles
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 small sweet potatoes (about 1¼ pounds), peeled
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stem removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced into rounds (see note)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Up to ¾ teaspoon chili powder, depending on preference
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges for serving
Directions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the sweet potato noodles, season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the pan.
  2. Add the frozen corn to the pan and let get slightly charred, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil (plus more if needed), the red onion, bell pepper and the jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until slightly charred then add the garlic, cumin, chili powder and ground coriander. Cook for 1 minute then add the sweet potato noodles back to the pan. Cook until warm then remove from the heat. Add the cilantro and lime juice. Toss, season with salt and pepper and serve with the lime wedges.
Notes
If you don’t like spicy food, slice the jalapeño in half, remove seeds and pith, then thinly slice into half rounds.

 Recipe adapted from April 2017 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!