Breakfast

Pomegranate Orange Muffins

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Back when we were seniors in college Matt bought me a subscription to the Food Network Magazine for my birthday. We had only been dating a year and a half, but Matt was already well-versed in my food obsession. The first official Food Network Magazine issue had only come out a few months before my birthday in 2009 and I’ve been subscribed to the magazine ever since.

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Every month when it comes in the mail I get so excited and quickly start scouring it from cover to cover; pointing out recipes to Matt and devouring all the latest food news. After going through it multiple times, I tear out all the recipes I want to make and add them to my growing recipe binder collection. The binders have page numbers and even a table of contents (remember, I like to organize and make lists 😉), but then they tend to just sit there. I always want to make something from them, but then I find a new recipe I want to try from a blog I read or a new cookbook or something on Pinterest and I rarely get back to the Food Network Magazine recipes that I just had to try.

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

So this year I have decided I am going to make an active effort to cook from the magazine. When the January issue showed up with a Muffin of the Month section I knew I had found out just where to start! I will be posting each month’s muffin at the start of each month for 2018. 2018 is the year of muffins! Who knew?

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

First up, January’s Pomegranate Orange Muffins. I love a good citrus muffin and these did not disappoint! They are moist on the inside, slightly crispy on the outside, and pack the perfect amount of clementine punch. Prettiness and the short prep time also give January’s muffins serious bonus points.

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

You don’t taste the pomegranate seeds that much since they are just pressed onto the top so feel free to substitute. Matt and I thought raspberries or blueberries would make a nice alternative; I will have to try one of those next time because I will definitely be making these muffins again!

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pomegranate Orange Muffins
 
Yield: 18 muffins
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 clementines
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds (or raspberries or blueberries)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with 18 paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine then make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.
  3. Wash 2 of the clementines then cut them into 8 pieces each, leaving the peel on. Blend the 2 cut clementines and the milk in a blender until smooth. Add the eggs and blend until incorporated.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the center of the flour mixture. Add the melted butter then mix until just combined. You want the batter to still be lumpy, but without any pockets or streaks of flour.
  5. Scoop the batter evenly among the paper liners filling each cup about ¾ full. I found a cookie scoop to be the least messy way to divide the batter. Divide the pomegranate seeds (or raspberries or blueberries) and put some on the top of each. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out with no batter on it and the muffins are golden. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then move the muffins to a cooling rack until completely cooled.
  6. Cut the remaining clementine in half. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and the juice from half the clementine. Stir until the glaze is thick, but drizzle-able, adding more juice from the other half of the clementine if needed. Drizzle the glaze on the muffins then let the glaze set for 10 minutes.
Notes
If you only have 1 cupcake pan, buy another! Just kidding, put 6 of the liners aside until the first 12 muffins bake and the pan cools.
The original recipe calls for aluminum-free baking powder stating aluminum may react with pomegranate and make the batter blue. I made sure to use aluminum-free baking powder, but I still had a little blue on my muffins around the edges of the pomegranate. I have not yet experimented with non-aluminum-free baking powder to see if the batter would have been even more blue-tinged, but just a word of caution!

Recipe from January/February 2018 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Babu’s Coffee Cake

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

It is hard to believe that I am writing this post and it is even harder to write it. One month has passed since my family and I lost my grandma, Babu. For those of you who don’t know me personally or haven’t read my Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Mother’s Day post, Babu and I were incredibly close. These past few weeks without my best friend have felt surreal. As most people who have dealt with loss have experienced, the ache does not get smaller, you just get better at handling it.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha
Babu loved hearing about my cooking and the food blog. She would always ask me what I was making for dinner and would listen to me read her my latest posts over the phone. Several times I had prints made of the food photos I knew Babu would like and mailed them to her. Babu would share them with her friends in her building and report back to me with which ones everyone wanted to try the most. Not only did Babu encourage me to follow my food passions, but she also helped foster those passions by baking with me and of course our many, many lunch dates.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha
In my family it is hard to mention coffee cake and not think about Babu. When she lived with us she always made sure there were slices in the freezer. She would make a coffee cake, always waiting to let me help glaze it, then cut it into big slices, wrap them in plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer. I would come home from school, microwave a slice for 30 seconds and it would taste like it just came out of the oven. There would be one slice left and the next day the freezer would be stocked back up with a fresh cake.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

After Babu moved back down to Delaware I came to look forward to having some every time I went to visit, especially when we would do our annual beach trip. Since I always knew I would have some on these trips, I never made this cake on my own. When I was thinking of what I could make that would help celebrate Babu on Lemon & Mocha, once beach week started approaching I knew it had to be her coffee cake.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

It was difficult knowing I couldn’t ask Babu any questions before I started baking or knowing that this would be my first beach trip without her, but I know she was there with me the whole time- cheering with me when the cake came out of the Bundt pan perfectly and laughing with me when I totally left too much batter for the final layer. I hope that this simple cake can bring you as much joy as it has brought me over the years and that you can share it with someone special, too.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Babu's Coffee Cake
 
Yield: 10-12 servings
Ingredients
for the cake
  • 1 Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding (3.4 ounce size)
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
for the glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
for the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a Bundt pan and set aside.
  2. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, vegetable oil, water and vanilla extract with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until well combined.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon.
  4. Evenly pour ⅓ of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Use a spatula to even the layer. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the batter. Repeat with ⅓ of the batter and the remaining cinnamon sugar. Top with the last ⅓ of batter.
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Apply the glaze while still warm, but not hot.
for the glaze
  1. Combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Spoon or pastry brush the glaze over the warm cake.

 

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles with Crispy Chorizo, Smashed Avocado and Green Chile Hollandaise

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

I cannot believe I waited so long to share this dish with you. If you thought I was excited about the waffles, oh baby, that pales in comparison to this creation. A couple months ago my brother-in-law, Nick, and our friend, Kate, came to visit and I wanted to make it a proper foodie weekend. I brainstormed for weeks to come up with the perfect breakfast that would have a variety of textures, bold flavors and most importantly, be creative and inspired. This right here is my ultimate breakfast. Eggs Benedict over Cheddar Scallion Waffles with Crispy Chorizo, Smashed Avocado and Green Chile Hollandaise. I know you were probably expecting something sweet and overflowing with chocolate, but there’s actually a candy bar hidden under that waffle! I’m kidding, that would be gross. Or would it… hmmm…

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Let’s break down this Southwestern eggs Benedict layer by layer. First, there is the all important base in the form of an outrageously cheesy cheddar and scallion waffle. I took my Perfect Buttermilk Waffle base, omitted the vanilla extract and then loaded it up with sharp cheddar cheese and chopped green onions. Next, I smashed together an avocado with some lime juice and salt to give it a little fresh punch and spread it over the waffle. I found some deli-sliced chorizo at Trader Joe’s so I threw that in a frying pan to make it crispy and crunchy before layering it on top of the smashed avocado.

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

In comes the perfectly poached egg, ready to burst open with its runny yolky goodness. I poached mine sous vide, but we will come back to that in a later post. If you are intimidated about poaching an egg you could always fry up an over easy egg instead.

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finally, the icing on the cake, er the hot fudge on the sundae, er never mind… the sauce on the savory dish! Creamy, luscious, buttery hollandaise sauce mixed with diced green chiles for a very subtle flavor kick. Hollandaise is made using egg yolks, lemon juice and lots and lots of butter (see tutorial here), but I bought mine right from the dairy section of Trader Joe’s. Top with salsa or sour cream and get ready to make inappropriate noises while you devour this dish.

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

What Nick and Kate didn’t know is that this dish right here single-handedly kick-started my motivation to dive back into Lemon & Mocha after a longer than intended hiatus. And I am so glad to be back! So make this dish and feel inspired. Or just come over for breakfast and we can cook then devour it together.

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles with Crispy Chorizo, Smashed Avocado and Green Chile Hollandaise
 
Yield: 4 servings, plus extra waffles
Ingredients
for the waffles
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled in a medium mixing bowl
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar, more or less depending on how cheesy you want the waffles
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
for everything else
  • 1 avocado
  • Lime juice, to taste
  • 8 thin slices chorizo
  • 4 poached eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons diced green chiles
  • ¾ cup warm hollandaise, more or less as desired
  • Sliced scallions, for topping
  • Salsa and sour cream, if desired
Directions
for the waffles
  1. Turn on the waffle iron to get it hot and spray with nonstick cooking spray, depending on manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine then create a well in the center for the liquid ingredients.
  3. Add the eggs to the cooled butter mixing bowl and beat until frothy. Add the buttermilk and beat again until well-combined.
  4. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the well in the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. The buttermilk and leavening will create a batter full of air bubbles. Fold in the cheddar and scallions, being sure not to over-mix.
  5. Pour the batter onto your waffle iron in batches and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. If working in batches, let waffles rest on a cooling rack after they are cooked, or place them directly on the rack of your oven or toaster oven on a low heat to stay warm.
for everything else
  1. Take four plates and place one waffle on each plate. In a small bowl, mash the avocado and sprinkle with lime juice and sea salt to taste. Spread the avocado mixture on each waffle.
  2. In a dry frying pan, heat the chorizo in a single layer over medium heat, until hot and crispy. Remove from the pan and place in between two paper towels to remove some of the grease before placing two slices on each avocado-topped waffle.
  3. Place one poached egg on top of each chorizo-topped waffle.
  4. Stir the diced green chiles into the warm hollandaise then drizzle (or pour if you’re feeling dangerous) over the poached eggs and waffles. Top with sliced green scallions, salsa and sour cream as desired.
Notes
If you cannot find deli-sliced chorizo, crisp up some crumbled chorizo in a pan instead, being sure to drain/pat out the grease.

 

Mini Broccoli, Ham & Cheddar Quiches

Mini Broccoli, Ham & Cheddar Quiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mini food gets lots of love for being cute. Mini cupcakes, mini burgers, mini quiches; it’s all, “Aw, they’re so tiny and cute!” Let’s get to the truth of the matter though. Everyone’s just excited because it means they get to eat a whole bunch of them. What they actually mean to say is, “Aw yeah! They’re so tiny I can eat a whole bushel of them! Let’s go!” Or something like that.

Mini Broccoli, Ham & Cheddar Quiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

These Mini Ham, Broccoli and Cheddar Quiches are so savory, fluffy and packed with flavor that you are definitely going to want to eat a whole bushel of them.

Mini Broccoli, Ham & Cheddar Quiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

I like to make a batch of these on Sunday so that Matt and I have them for throughout the week. One minute in the microwave and they are good to go for breakfast or a quick snack. Supplement them with a big arugula salad (or some Perfect Buttermilk Waffles!) for a satisfying meal.

Mini Broccoli, Ham & Cheddar Quiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

Not a fan of ham, broccoli or cheddar? Simply swap them out for your favorite veggies, meat or cheese. Some other combinations I love are spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese and bell peppers, sausage and provolone. I’ll even let you in on a little secret: I ran out of broccoli while making these so half of the mini quiches photographed here have spinach instead of broccoli. It’s that easy to customize these bad boys! Whip some up this weekend and enjoy!

Mini Broccoli, Ham & Cheddar Quiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mini Broccoli, Ham & Cheddar Quiches
 
Yield: 12 mini quiches
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk, whatever you have in your fridge is fine
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 10 ounces frozen broccoli, thawed, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup diced ham, or 12 slices deli ham, chopped
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and milk. Sift in the flour and baking powder, stir to combine.
  3. Add the chopped broccoli, cheese and diced ham. Stir to combine.
  4. Evenly divide into the 12 cups of the muffin pan. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the edges have browned and a tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Notes
You can substitute any fillings you would like, just add about 1 cup of veggies, 1 cup of cheese and 1 cup of meat, or another vegetable. If you want to try different flavor combinations in the same batch you can wait to add the fillings until after you have spooned the egg mixture into the muffin cups, then put a tablespoon or two of toppings into each cup and give them a little stir. Just be sure not to overfill!

Recipe slightly adapted from Moneywise Moms.

How to Host a Waffle Bar Brunch

Waffle Bar Brunch  |  Lemon & Mocha

I am still not done talking about those Perfect Buttermilk Waffles from last week! They are so full of crispy-fluffy goodness that I needed to drag them into a second post. And what better way to put waffles on a pedestal than by hosting a waffle bar? A waffle bar is an easy (and delicious!) way to impress your guests, whether you’re hosting a friend get-together, a baby shower or even celebrating a waffle-lover’s birthday.

Waffle Bar Brunch  |  Lemon & Mocha

I threw my first waffle bar the other month for breakfast following a girls night and it was a big success. To provide a break from the sweetness I also made mini broccoli, ham and cheddar quiches, which can be made the night before and reheated in the microwave.

Waffle Bar Brunch  |  Lemon & Mocha

To allow yourself more time to hang with your guests I would suggest doing as much prep as possible before they arrive. You’re going to need quite a few serving dishes so pulling those out along with the serving utensils ahead of time will help. Certain ingredients that can be left out, such as the candies and nuts, can be poured into their serving dishes and covered until you’re ready to eat.

Waffle Bar Brunch  |  Lemon & Mocha

Once the guests arrive it’s waffle making time! Make sure to keep waffles warm in the oven until you’re ready to eat- they will lose their crispiness if you keep them warm on a covered platter. I factored two waffles per person, but it depends on the group.

Waffle Bar Brunch  |  Lemon & Mocha

A full list of ideas is below. Pick a fun mix of each of the three categories for a delicious waffle brunch!

Fresh Fruit
Bananas, whole
Blackberries
Blueberries
Cherries, pitted
Kiwi
Peaches, sliced
Raspberries
Strawberries, quartered

Toppings
Caramel sauce
Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate syrup
Fruit jam or syrups
Greek yogurt
Honey
Lemon curd
Maple syrup
Nutella, warmed
Peanut butter, warmed
Whipped cream

Add-ons
Almonds
Browned Butter Peaches
Coconut flakes
M&Ms
Mini chocolate chips
Oreo crumbles
Peanut butter cup pieces
Pecans
Reese’s Pieces
Sprinkles
Toasted walnuts
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

To inspire you even more, here are a few of my very own waffle bar combinations:

Perfect Buttermilk Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Strawbanana Love: strawberries, bananas, whipped cream, Nutella
Lemon Blueberry Blast: lemon curd, blueberries, sprinkled with powdered sugar
Ice Cream Sundae: chocolate syrup, whipped cream, cherries, rainbow sprinkles (and actual ice cream if you have any!)
Peanut Butter Cream Pie: peanut butter, chocolate syrup, peanut butter cup pieces, whipped cream
The Vermonter: blackberries, toasted walnuts, maple syrup
Coco for Waffles: raspberry jam, coconut flakes, raspberries
Health Nut: Greek yogurt, blueberries, almonds, maple syrup
Trust Me: strawberry syrup, strawberries, Reese’s Pieces, whipped cream

How would you top your waffle?!?

Perfect Buttermilk Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha