Dessert

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

Before you run away thinking I’m a crazy person for putting vegetables in my chocolate I have to tell you that you cannot actually taste the zucchini in this bread. As anyone who has tried zucchini bread before knows, even though there may be a ton of it in the bread all the zucchini does is make the loaf incredibly moist. So take that soft and sweet loaf, add in chocolate chips and cocoa powder, and the chocolate-addict in me is absolutely hooked.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was a little skeptical of this recipe when I first tried it, but all that went away when I tried my first slice. I found myself eating it for breakfast, snack, dessert – you name it – until the next thing I knew it was completely gone. Based on the ingredients and a note from the original recipe author I know this Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread will freeze well, but I have yet to have a loaf make it to that point. Although you could always make two loaves and freeze one to have on hand, which is an excellent idea.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

This recipe calls for instant coffee powder or espresso powder. As with my Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes, you cannot taste the coffee flavor; it just acts purely as an enhancer to the chocolate. You can certainly omit it, but I highly recommend to include it to help bring out that rich chocolate taste of the loaf.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

Matt is the only coffee drinker in our house and he drinks espresso every morning. Since I don’t typically have instant coffee powder or espresso powder (which is not really for drinking, it’s a specialty ingredient used in baking) in the house, I found this awesome hack by Bright Eyed Baker to DIY my own espresso powder. Lay used espresso grounds on a baking sheet then bake on your oven’s lowest temperature for about 1 hour, or until they are toasted and crunchy. Then run through your coffee grinder to make a fine powder. Voila! Espresso powder and no wasted grounds!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

So espresso powder hacks aside, this Double Chocolate Zucchini bread is perfect for using up all those extra zucchinis everyone tends to have in the summer, but don’t wait until then to try it!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
 
Yield: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini, about 2 zucchinis, lightly patted dry
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant coffee powder, or ¼ teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x5 or 8x4 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, instant coffee and ¾ cup of the chocolate chips. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil, yogurt, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl until combined. Pour into the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Fold in the shredded zucchini. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Top with the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips.
  4. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let bread cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack. Once cooled, removed from the pan. Store in an airtight container for 5 days or even longer in the fridge. Bread also freezes well and can be thawed in the fridge.
Notes
You can be flexible about the yogurt in this recipe. If you would prefer full or low-fat yogurt instead of the nonfat feel free to substitute. You could also use regular non-Greek yogurt or vanilla yogurt instead of plain.

Recipe slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Don’t worry, I promise this cake isn’t scandalous. Definitely delicious, but certainly not scandalous. It is called a naked cake because the sides aren’t frosted, but I will get to that in a bit. Last month we celebrated Matt’s 30th birthday!

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

When Matt and I first started dating during our sophomore year of college we celebrated his 20th birthday – that’s a whole decade of birthdays! We had only been dating for a few weeks, but I made him these very literal cupcakes.

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I’ve clearly come a long way- ha! I’ve made Matt many birthday desserts over the years, but I wanted this one to be extra special.

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

I decided to turn one of Matt’s favorite desserts, this Summer Berry Trifle, into a layer cake. The cake layers are angel food cake that have been brushed with a simple lemon syrup to keep them extra moist and bursting with light lemon flavor. The creamy filling and topping is a sturdy whipped cream. Basically, the base of a cream cheese frosting folded in with lots and lots of Cool Whip to make it light and fluffy. Piled in the middle and on top are sweet fresh berries. I used a combination of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Altogether, they make a fresh and light cake – perfect for eating a big slice.

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

When you get a big bite of the syrup-brushed cake with the cream filling and the berries it is completely magical.

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now, to the scandalous aspect of the cake. A naked cake simply means that there is little or no icing on the sides of the cake, letting the layers bare all. The layers of whipped filling in the middle and on the top of the cake are thick enough that you really don’t need the additional filling on the sides of the cake. Leaving the cake naked lets the beautiful berries in the middle of the cake peek out. It also saves you time from having to try to make the sides look perfect and smooth – a win-win!

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

I think a cake this delicious is great any time of the year, but it is especially fitting for a summer gathering with berry season soon approaching. Enjoy!

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Triple Berry Angel Food Cake Trifle
 
Yield: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 box angel food cake mix, batter prepared according to directions on box
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon or almond extract
  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 ounces reduced fat Cool Whip
  • 8 ounces strawberries, washed
  • 1 cup blackberries, washed
  • 1 cup raspberries, washed
  • More berries for topping, if needed
Directions
  1. To make two round cakes, I lined two 9” round pans with parchment paper. I divided the batter between the two prepared pans, making sure not to fill them more than ¾ full. You will most likely have some excess batter. I weighed them with my kitchen scale to make sure they would be even layers. Bake at the temperature specified by the box for 20-30 minutes. The cake is done when the top is dark golden brown and the top cracks are dry not sticky. When it’s done baking, tilt the pan on its side. I leaned mine up, cake facing down, against a raised cooling rack. Once it’s completely cool, run a knife around the edges of the pan then carefully remove.
  2. Over medium-high heat in a small saucepan heat ¼ cup of the sugar and ¼ cup of the lemon juice. Stir frequently while heating until the sugar dissolves. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon extract. Set aside.
  3. Beat the remaining ½ cup of sugar and the cream cheese on medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Fold in the Cool Whip until smooth. Stir in the tablespoon of lemon juice. Take one of the cooled angel food cake rounds and brush the top with the lemon syrup. Spoon a bunch of the whipped filling onto the cake and smooth with a spatula. Put half of the berries in a single layer on top of the filling. I left the blackberries and raspberries whole, but I halved and quartered the strawberries depending on how big they were. Dollop some more of the whipped filling on top of the berries then carefully smooth it out over the berries with a spatula. Top with the second angel food cake layer. Brush the top with the lemon syrup. Spread a thick layer of the whipped filling on top and smooth with a spatula. Top with the remaining berries. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from the July/August 2010 issue of The Food Network Magazine.

Lemon S’mores with Soft Gingersnap Cookies

Lemon S'mores with Soft Gingersnap Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Look at that crispy gooey marshmallow! Look at it nestled up against the tart and creamy lemon curd! Have you ever seen lemon curd look more mouthwatering than this? I’ve already shared lemon curd paired with puff pastry, as part of a parfait, and even spread on a waffle so I wanted to come up with a completely different use for the citrusy treat I shared on Monday. Enter this Lemon S’mores with Soft Gingersnap Cookies. Even though spring just started, the cold temperatures in Boston already have me daydreaming about summer. Between the bright lemon curd and the charred marshmallows, these s’mores combine spring and summer in the best possible mash-up.

Lemon S'mores with Soft Gingersnap Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

If it’s still a little too chilly to warm up the fire pit for a traditional roasted marshmallow, you can use your broiler or – carefully – use your gas grill. Roasting the marshmallow in the broiler doesn’t take much time so make sure you watch it carefully. You can broil the marshmallow right on top of one of the cookies or on a small piece of nonstick aluminum foil, but do not put the lemon curd in the broiler. If you still want that roasting on a stick experience you can be like me and – carefully – roast the marshmallow on a heat-safe skewer over a low flame of your gas grill. Mmmmm.

Lemon S'mores with Soft Gingersnap Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

I still haven’t gotten to the best part of these s’mores. Well, one of the best parts. Yes, I know there’s only three components, but don’t make me choose! The soft gingersnap cookies are so amazingly delicious. I’m not kidding when I say they are soft; they’re just like out of a bakery. The exterior is soft; the inside is soft; they’re chewy and sweet and the ginger, molasses and spices come together perfectly. Can you tell I’m a little bit excited?

Lemon S'mores with Soft Gingersnap Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I was deciding what cookie to use for the s’mores I knew a traditional graham cracker wouldn’t cut it. I didn’t want a crunchy cookie; I wanted the s’mores to have a soft perfect-bite quality, similar to a whoopie pie. If you want the classic graham cracker crunch then cinnamon graham crackers would pair well, but I would definitely recommend the soft gingersnap cookies for the most ideal lemon s’mores experience.

Lemon S'mores with Soft Gingersnap Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The recipe below is for a full batch of the soft gingersnap cookies as well as how to make one s’more. The s’mores are pretty big so I would suggest planning on one per person. I would definitely recommend making the full batch of soft gingersnap cookies because, trust me, you will want s’more of those. This recipe wraps up my week on lemon curd here in the Lemon & Mocha kitchen – just in time for Easter! Do you have a favorite way to enjoy lemon curd? Or, which of these are you going to try first?! Enjoy!

Lemon S'mores with Soft Gingersnap Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon S'mores with Soft Gingersnap Cookies
 
Yield: 24 cookies; 1 s'more
Ingredients
for the soft gingersnap cookies
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, plus additional for rolling the dough
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup molasses
for the s’mores
  • 2 cookies, per s’more
  • 2 teaspoons lemon curd, per s’more
  • 1-2 marshmallows per s’more, depending on size of marshmallows
Directions
for the soft gingersnap cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the egg and molasses and beat to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Place a few tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl. Use a medium cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon of dough; roll into a ball then roll in the sugar before placing on the baking sheet. Continue, placing the cookie dough balls about 2” apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are puffy and the edges have started to lightly brown. Let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet then carefully move the cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool.
for the s’mores
  1. Pick two cookies that are of equal size and slather one of them with the lemon curd. Roast your marshmallow or marshmallows. Place the roasted marshmallow(s) on the cookie with the lemon curd then sandwich with the other cookie, pressing down while you pull out your roasting stick or skewer.
Notes
This recipe is for a full batch of the soft gingersnap cookies as well as how to make one s’more. The s’mores are pretty big so I would suggest planning on one per person.

Gingersnap cookies from Taste of Home.
Lemon curd from Sketches and Scribbles.

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits. Yes, you read that correctly. I will let that sink in for a moment. As much as I love all the chocolatey treats I’ve made over the years, this might be one of my favorite desserts I’ve ever made. I say one of because I definitely would never be able to choose. You know about my love affair with homemade lemon curd from Monday’s post so I’m going to skip ahead here and dive right into this no-bake cookie butter cheesecake layer.

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’ve never tasted cookie butter before (also known as speculoos spread), it tastes like crushed up sweet spice cookies that have been turned into a spread a little thicker than peanut butter. If that description is blowing your mind right now wait until you actually try some; definite life-changing experience right there. So this amazing spreadable cookie butter is combined with cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Right when you think it can’t get any better, Cool Whip is folded in to make the whole layer light, airy, and perfect for eating by the spoonful. But try to resist! You need it for the parfaits!

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits  |  Lemon & Mocha

The cookie crumb layer is made with speculoos cookie crumbs, which are the same cookies used to make cookie butter. The predominant flavor is brown sugar with a bit of cinnamon. I used the Lotus Biscoff brand for both the cookies and the cookie butter, but Trader Joe’s also makes an excellent version of both products.

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits  |  Lemon & Mocha

The buttery cinnamonyness (say that five times fast!) of the speculoos cookie crumbs and cheesecake pair perfectly with the tart creaminess of the lemon curd. Top it all off with some Cool Whip and extra cookie crumbs and you are one spoon away from light, creamy, and flavor-exploding heaven.

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits  |  Lemon & Mocha

These are the first parfaits I’ve made and they do take a fair amount of time to put together. The presentation is spot on and they would look really nice for a shower or fancy brunch. Next time I might try putting all the layers in a small trifle bowl to reduce the amount of assembly time. And I say next time because these will be happening again very, very soon. Enjoy!

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits
 
Yield: 4 parfaits (see note)
Ingredients
for the lemon curd layer
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
for the cookie crumb layer
  • 16 speculoos cookies, about half of an 8.8 ounce package
for the cheesecake layer
  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup cookie butter or speculoos spread
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 8 ounces reduced fat Cool Whip
for the topping
  • 4 ounces low fat Cool Whip
Directions
for the lemon curd layer
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in the pieces of butter. Whisk the curd frequently until the curd is thick enough that it keeps the mark of the whisk when you touch it to the curd in the saucepan.
  2. Transfer the lemon curd to a small bowl to cool. If there are small lumps of egg you can push the curd through a fine mesh sieve, but I typically skip this step because it will also strain out the lemon zest, which adds a lot of flavor. Cover the surface of the lemon curd with a piece of plastic wrap so that it’s completely touching the curd. Place in the fridge to cool.
for the cookie crumb layer
  1. In a food processor, pulse the cookies until you have crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, carefully smash the cookies in a freezer bag with a rolling pin or meat mallet. Put in a bowl and set aside.
for the cheesecake layer
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, cookie butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the Cool Whip and fold in until combined. Try not to eat it all and set aside.
assembling the parfaits
  1. Use parfait dishes or stemless wine glasses to layer the parfaits. Start with the cookie crumbs. It will depend on the size of your dish, but I used a couple spoonfuls. Then top with some of the cheesecake layer. You’re going to want the cheesecake layer to be the thickest layer (other than the Cool Whip on top). It takes a bit to get into a rhythm with these; I found if I used a spoon to push the cheesecake cream to touch the edge of the glass all around it stuck better and let me smooth it instead of it moving around with my spoon when I was trying to spread it. Next is the lemon curd layer. A little goes a long way; you don’t want it to overpower the cookie butter cheesecake. The layer looks thick in mine, but that was because I was trying to make sure it was visible it for the photos. Next top with another cookie crumb layer, then more cheesecake, then more lemon curd. Finally top with Cool Whip to fill the glass, smooth and sprinkle some cookie crumbs on top. Eat or cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Notes
I used 11 ounce stemless wine glasses and it made 4 parfaits. Depending on how hungry you are, this was a lot of parfait for 1 serving. Maybe fill them only ¾ of the way up or use smaller glasses.

Lemon curd from Sketches and Scribbles.

How to Make Homemade Lemon Curd

How to Make Homemade Lemon Curd  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you have never had homemade lemon curd you are in for a treat. Homemade lemon curd is luscious, tart, and sweet with a texture similar to pudding. In other words, nothing like the jelly-consistency store-bought lemon curd I have purchased. Not that I have anything against store-bought lemon curd; I grab it if I’m super time-crunched for a recipe or if I’m simply mixing a bit of it into a dish. But every time I make homemade lemon curd I stand there swooning while spooning it into my mouth thinking, why don’t I make this more often? Oh yeah, because then I will stand at my kitchen counter and eat it with a spoon while making inappropriate noises. Got it.

How to Make Homemade Lemon Curd  |  Lemon & Mocha

Making the lemon curd is super simple. As long as you keep your heat on medium-low and continuously whisk it you literally cannot mess it up. You can do this! It takes a bit for the lemon curd to start to get thick. It will stay liquidy for quite a while and you will be ready to give up. But don’t! Because then all of a sudden it will become thick and you will be moments away from the most decadent lemon spoonful of heaven you’ve ever had.

How to Make Homemade Lemon Curd  |  Lemon & Mocha

Other than eating it with a spoon, lemon curd is great for topping all sorts of baked goods to make them bright and springy. Lemon curd especially pairs well with berries. Some of my favorite ways to serve lemon curd is on this easy puffy pastry tart with berries, on top of this lemon cheesecake, or as part of a DIY waffle bar. I have a couple new outrageous ways to use lemon curd that I will be sharing later this week so stay tuned!

How to Make Homemade Lemon Curd  |  Lemon & Mocha

How to Make Homemade Lemon Curd
 
Yield: about 1½ cups
Ingredients
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in the pieces of butter. Whisk the curd frequently until the curd is thick enough that it keeps the mark of the whisk when you touch it to the curd in the saucepan. It takes a bit of time for it to thicken, but just keep whisking!
  2. Transfer the lemon curd to a small bowl to cool. If there are small lumps of egg you can push the curd through a fine mesh sieve, but I typically skip this step because it will also strain out the lemon zest, which adds a lot of flavor. Cover the surface of the lemon curd with a piece of plastic wrap so that it’s completely touching the curd. Place in the fridge to cool.

Recipe from Sketches and Scribbles.