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Carrot Cake Nest Cookies

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

How cute are these Easter jelly bean cookies?! These Carrot Cake Nest Cookies are the Food Network Magazine’s April cookies, which is perfectly fitting because they just scream springtime. After last month’s complicated Rainbow Slice-and-Bake Cookies I was very excited to see a classic drop cookie – with a twist of course.

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The cookie batter is filled with all the carrot cake staples: grated carrots, chopped toasted walnuts, and the warming spices of cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Using brown sugar and an egg yolk gives the cookies that ideal chewy texture, which are similar tips I use in my Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. Before being baked, the cookie dough balls are rolled in shredded sweetened coconut. In addition to the chewiness, I love the crunch and texture you get in each bite from the chopped walnuts and shredded coconut.

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

If it stopped there I would still gladly chow down on these carrot cake cookies any day of the week. But there’s more! Piped onto each cooled cookie is a pocket of sweet and buttery cream cheese frosting and some pretty jelly beans. Carrot cake is not complete without cream cheese frosting so it only makes sense for us to frost these cookies to make them truly carrot cake cookies! The little dollop in the middle of the cookie gives just the right balance of cookie to frosting.

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Even though they’re so cute, I thought I was going to end up picking off the jelly beans and eating them separately, but I actually really loved a bite of everything all together! Something about the added texture and sweetness of the jelly bean was a nice touch. I also used some of my favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavors so that might have been part of it!

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The recipe calls for blue and white jelly beans, but if you don’t have enough feel free to branch out into other fun Easter pastel colors. I used the blue and white combo ones for the photos, but I had other cookies in this batch topped with pink and purple jelly beans as well. I hope you all enjoy these Carrot Cake Nest Cookies – they were one of my favorites so far!

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies
 
Yield: about 22 cookies
Ingredients
for the cookies
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup finely grated carrots (about 2 carrots)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1¾ cups shredded sweetened coconut
for the frosting
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • Blue and white jelly beans, for topping
Directions
for the cookies
  1. Place oven racks in the upper and lower thirds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla then beat again until well combined. Add the carrots and walnuts then beat again. Slowly add the flour mixture while on low speed and beat until just combined.
  3. Scoop tablespoons of dough then roll the balls into the shredded coconut. I used my medium Oxo cookie scoop. Place 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use the handle of a wooden spoon or something round similar in size to make a deep indentation into the centers of the cookies. Bake the cookies, switching the baking pans halfway through from top to bottom, for 22-24 minutes, or until the cookies are set and the coconut is golden brown. Let cool completely on the pans placed on wire cooling racks.
for the frosting
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag with the corner snipped or a pastry bag fitting with a round tip. If you aren’t ready to use right away, keep refrigerated. Pipe the frosting into the indentation if each cooled cookie then top each cookie with 3 jelly beans.

 Recipe from January/February 2019 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!

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

We made it to Friday! Woo hoo! Time to celebrate with these Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve written about my large quantity of cookbook recipes I have yet to try, but I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned all my recipe binders here before. I have four enormous binders that are filled to the brim with recipes. Most of them contain recipes from magazines although one of them is devoted to recipes I’ve printed out. And you guessed it – most of them are waiting for me to try them!

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have a somewhat decent system where once I try one of the recipes if I like it then the recipe will usually end up on Lemon & Mocha so I can recycle the original. Of course, if I don’t like it then it immediately gets recycled. This way if I’m able to try some new recipes from the binder every once in a while I’m able to make room for all the new recipes I’m continually trying to shove in them. I figured I was long overdue in turning to my binders for some dinner inspiration. These roasted sweet potatoes from Cuisine at Home immediately caught my eye.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love sweet potatoes, but I tend to simply roast them as wedges or bake them whole, which can get really boring. This recipe is just as easy, but adds an extra depth of flavor and richness to the potatoes. The sweet potato wedges are tossed in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and salt and pepper. The brown sugar creates a subtle sweetness and caramelization, while the balsamic vinegar provides the right amount of acidity.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

Crunchy toasted walnuts and creamy gorgonzola crumbles get tossed on top as soon as the roasted wedges are out of the oven. I decided to toss half the cheese crumbles on top of the potatoes during the last minute of cooking so that some of them got nicely melted while the others I sprinkled on top after they were out of the oven held their shape more to add an additional textural element to the dish. This works well with blue cheese crumbles as well, which is what I used since that’s what was in my fridge. I hope you enjoy this simple and delicious sweet potato recipe!

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 sweet potatoes, about 16 ounces total
  • Salt and pepper
  • Toasted walnuts, for topping (see note)
  • Gorgonzola crumbles, for topping
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cut each sweet potatoes into 16 wedges. First, cut the sweet potato lengthwise. Then cut the sweet potato half into 4 long wedges. Cut each wedge in half to create 8 shorter wedges. Repeat for the other half of the sweet potato then repeat completely for the second sweet potato. Toss the sweet potato wedges in the bowl with the balsamic mixture. Place the wedges in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake the sweet potato wedges for 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until they are slightly caramelized and tender. Remove from the oven and immediately top with the toasted walnuts and gorgonzola crumbles before serving.
Notes
To toast walnuts, lay them on a single layer baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes at 350 degrees F. Watch them carefully as you do not want them to burn and it doesn’t take long for them to get toasted.

 Recipe from December 2011 issue of Cuisine at Home.

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!

Hoisin Beef Kebobs

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m back with another favorite from the simplest healthy cookbook, Cook This, Not That! These Hoisin Beef Kebobs are tender, sweet and savory. Pieces of sirloin steak get alternated with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and scallions before being glazed in a five ingredient sauce and grilled.

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love that the scallions get nicely charred while the cherry tomatoes burst, which brings the best flavor to the steak. These kebobs are a perfect dinner dish because the vegetables could be swapped out with so many other kinds of vegetables since the sauce is versatile and really would taste delicious with most veggies.

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

I usually serve these kebobs over rice, but they would also be great served with salad or alongside some more vegetables, like some grilled corn.

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

The most important thing to remember when you’re making this recipe is that the other vegetables can’t be taller than the cuts of steak – and that the cuts of steak need to be equal. Particularly if you are cooking on a grill pan, which is requiring direct heat, if you have one large mushroom or one large piece of beef, that other piece of steak won’t get cooked enough since it won’t be touching the grill pan. This is less important if you are using an actual grill.

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

If I’m making these in our grill pan, I actually usually grill the steak and vegetables individually in two batches since our grill pan isn’t long enough for the kebob sticks. Either way, Matt and I can’t get enough of the juicy bites of steak and glazed veggies!

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hoisin Beef Kebobs
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce (I use Trader Joe’s green dragon sauce)
  • 16 ounces sirloin steak, cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 20 small mushroom caps
  • 20 small cherry tomatoes
  • 8 scallion whites, sliced into ½-inch long pieces
  • 8 skewers (if wood, soaked in water for 5-10 minutes)
Directions
  1. Combine the hoisin, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili sauce. Divide between 2 small bowls and set aside.
  2. Skewer the steak, mushrooms, tomatoes and scallions, alternating between the meat and vegetables. Try to make sure the mushrooms aren’t larger than the steak pieces, and if the mushrooms are too big then cut them in half. Also make sure the vegetables aren’t pressed against the steak pieces to give the steak enough room to cook.
  3. Using one bowl of the sauce, brush the skewers with sauce and grill for 3-4 minutes per side, basting the other side with sauce before flipping. If you’re using a grill pan, lightly brush the pan with vegetable oil before grilling and grill over medium-high heat. Remove from the grill and brush with the sauce from the second reserved bowl before serving.

Recipe from Cook This, Not That!.
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!

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I wanted to make Matt a special breakfast treat during his birthday week so I dug into my Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook to get the recipe for these Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes. Ironically, after I had already scheduled these in my Lemon & Mocha calendar, Matt picked this cookbook and this recipe as what we should make in March for our monthly new cookbook challenge.

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I guess I was spot on when I thought he would like the recipe! I’ve actually already cooked from Brunch at Bobby’s though (check out these Cast Iron Home Fries with Creamy Garlic Dressing!), so I had Matt pick another cookbook anyways.

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

These are fluffy pancakes that have little chunks of caramelized pineapple inside and get topped with a warm pineapple maple butter syrup. Yum! When you pour the pancake batter onto your frying pan or skillet you then add a couple pieces of pineapple and a sprinkling of sugar so that when the pancake gets flipped, the sugar caramelizes right on the exposed pineapple chunk.

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I did have to adapt this recipe from Bobby Flay’s cookbook version because his pancake batter recipe let me down. The batter was too thin and as soon as I put it in my frying pan I knew it wouldn’t make the big fluffy pancakes that I wanted. So instead, I used the sour cream pancake base from my The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook, which have the perfect pancake texture and taste. Don’t worry – they don’t taste like sour cream! It just helps to keep the pancakes moist and light.

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

The best part of the whole recipe, though, was the simple pineapple maple butter syrup. Butter, maple syrup and pineapple chunks get cooked together to make a velvety sauce that you will want to drizzle over all your pancakes. And your waffles. And even your french toast. Maybe even on an actual pineapple upside down cake! Which I’ve never made before, but after having these Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes taste so good it’s on my list to try soon! Enjoy!

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons butter, diced and chilled in the freezer
  • 2½ cups finely diced fresh pineapple, divided
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Butter, for cooking the pancakes (alternatively you could use cooking spray)
  • Fresh cherries and mint for serving, optional
Directions
  1. Heat the maple syrup in a small saucepan over low heat. Once simmering, add the cold butter, one piece at a time, and whisk until the butter has melted and the syrup has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat. Add ½ cup of the diced pineapple, stir to combine, then cover and keep warm.
  2. Put the sour cream in a medium mixing bowl. Sift in the flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir together until just combined. The batter will be lumpy.
  3. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs with the vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.
  4. Place a frying pan or griddle over medium-low heat. Once the pan is hot melt just enough butter to lightly coat the pan or griddle and wait for it to bubble. Pour a scant ¼ cup of batter for each pancake. Try not to overcrowd your pan; the amount of pancakes you can fit will depend on your pan's size. Leave some space between the pancakes as they will expand when you add the pineapple. Once the pancakes start to bubble, about 2 minutes, add some chopped pineapple over top then sprinkle the pineapple with sugar. Flip the pancakes and cook until set, about another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add some more butter and repeat with the remaining batter until you have cooked all your pancakes. Keep pancakes warm in a single layer on a baking sheet in a warm oven. Serve the pancakes, caramelized pineapple side up, with the pineapple maple butter sauce and garnished with fresh cherries and mint, if using.

Pancake recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.
Syrup recipe from and pancake recipe adapted from Brunch at Bobbys.
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!

Tuna Melt Egg Rolls

Tuna Melt Egg Rolls  |  Lemon & Mocha

My go-to diner order is a tuna melt. I love tuna fish and when it’s sandwiched between two toasty slices of bread along with some gooey melted cheese I’m in heaven. I had some leftover egg roll wrappers from the Baked Barbecue Chicken Egg Rolls and when I was brainstorming what I could make with them I thought of my favorite diner food. Skinnytaste turned me on to baked egg rolls with the Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls from her cookbook and I’m constantly thinking of new variations.

Tuna Melt Egg Rolls  |  Lemon & Mocha

I stuffed the egg roll wrappers with cheddar cheese and a quick tuna salad I made with canned tuna, mayonnaise, scallions and fresh ground black pepper. Then I baked them until they were crispy and crunchy on the outside and had the perfect melted cheese in the middle.

Tuna Melt Egg Rolls  |  Lemon & Mocha

As I mentioned in my Pasta Tuna Salad post (if you love tuna fish then you will go nuts for that dish!), Matt does not like tuna fish so I made these for myself for lunch. This is a small batch recipe as it only uses one can of tuna fish to make two servings. You could certainly make more if you are making it for more people, but I would not recommend saving them for leftovers as they taste best fresh from the oven.

Tuna Melt Egg Rolls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now that I have those Goat Cheese Spinach Pesto Egg Sandwiches on my mind from Wednesday I’m thinking I missed an opportunity to put some everything but the bagel seasoning on the top of the egg roll wrappers just for some added flavor. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had tuna fish on an everything bagel, but it is so good. There’s this place I used to order from at work that would make a tuna melt on an everything bagel with some of the bagel scooped out so it would get nice and crispy. Like these egg rolls! Minus the everything but the bagel seasoning, but maybe next time!

Tuna Melt Egg Rolls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Tuna Melt Egg Rolls
 
Yield: 6 egg rolls
Ingredients
  • 1 5-ounce can of tuna fish, drained
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 scallion, end removed and chopped
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 egg roll wrappers
  • 6 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • Everything but the bagel seasoning, optional
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine the tuna fish, mayonnaise and chopped scallion in a bowl. Season with the black pepper.
  3. Before filling the egg roll wrappers, make sure you have a little bowl or cup of warm water and a clean work surface. Place the egg roll wrapper down so that a corner is facing you. Scoop ⅙ of the tuna mixture and place it near the bottom corner of the wrapper. I like to adjust the mixture so it’s more of a log shape then a big mound. Place a tablespoon of the shredded cheese on top. Take the bottom corner of the wrapper and fold it up and over the mixture so it’s completely covering it then continue to roll it one more time. Fold in the left and right corners so they create a little envelope then continue to roll it until it’s 1 roll away from the top corner. Wet your finger with the water and use it to moisten the whole exposed top corner. Fold the corner down to close up and seal the roll. Place it on the baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining rolls then coat all the rolls with cooking spray. Sprinkle with everything but the bagel seasoning if desired.
  4. Bake the rolls for 8 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 8 minutes. They should be crispy and golden brown. Serve warm.

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