Dessert

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl  |  Lemon & Mocha

Ever since Matt and I went to Seattle in 2013 I’ve been a sucker for any chocolate cherry combination. While we were there on vacation we did a food tour of Pike Place Market and one of the vendors they introduced us to was Chukar Cherries. They source their cherries right in the state of Washington and make all kinds of cherry goodies. It began an instant love affair and Matt and I have ordered deliveries from them several times just to satisfy the occasional craving that still pops up six years later.

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl  |  Lemon & Mocha

Their chocolate covered cherry treats single-handedly converted me to a fan of the chocolate cherry flavor profile in all forms. Including this easy and healthy Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl. The chocolate flavor hits you first, but then the fresh cherry flavor comes through and you’re in chocolate-cherry heaven. The texture is similar to the Chocolate Tahini Banana “Soft Serve” recipe I posted back in March, which is that it is like partially melted ice cream. This chocolate cherry version is more of a smoothie bowl because I included some nonfat milk, although you can use whichever milk fat or milk alternative you prefer.

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl  |  Lemon & Mocha

I stumbled upon this Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl recipe last summer while I was trying out different desserts that would satisfy my after-dinner sweet tooth and chocolate craving, but that were still relatively healthy. During one hot week last summer I had it for dessert every night. You can use either a fresh or frozen banana, but I prefer using a fresh banana since it’s easier to blend in my blender, I never remember to put bananas in my freezer and I like the more melty texture of the smoothie bowl. Matt prefers the thicker texture of the smoothie bowl with the frozen banana so it’s totally up to you.

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl  |  Lemon & Mocha

The frozen cherries and the frozen cauliflower, which I snuck in there for some veggies, provide plenty of frozen goodness to the bowl. I figured this treat might be especially welcome after all the 4th of July hot dog and flag cake consumption so I hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup nonfat milk (or milk of your preference)
  • 1 frozen banana (or unfrozen if you like it more melty)
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • ¼ cup frozen cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon agave (or honey)
  • Fresh pitted cherries, chocolate drizzle and granola, for topping
Directions
  1. Blend the milk, banana, cherries, cauliflower, cocoa powder and agave in a high-speed blender until smooth. Top with desired toppings and eat immediately.

Recipe adapted from Sprouting Zen.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

How fun is this Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter? As I’ve mentioned in past posts, Babu and I used to make a classic flag sheet cake every Fourth of July. Now my new tradition seems to be coming up with a tasty new alternative every year instead! I really enjoyed putting together last year’s Flag Fruit and Dessert Platter and I wanted to do something similar this year.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Just like mini appetizer food, dessert boards encourage informal snacking and eating, which is especially welcome during lazy summer barbecue parties. When it’s hot out and all the yummy fruits are in season during the summertime I find myself craving fruity desserts. Even better if they’re light and refreshing. This red, white and blue platter essentially turns an already simple dessert into a top your own angel food cake bar.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

The white stripes consist of chunks of fluffy angel food cake. Buy it at the store, bake it from scratch or use a box mix; totally up to you! I went basic with the red stripes and just layered juicy strawberries. Strawberries, raspberries and pitted fresh cherries are all great choices that would pair well with the angel food cake.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

For the blue section of the flag I have a quick sauce made with blueberries. It was my first time making this easy four-ingredient sauce from Barefoot Contessa and it will definitely not be my last. Striking the perfect balance of sweet and tart, the blueberry sauce tastes so good drizzled all over the angel food cake and fresh berries.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finally, in a bowl nearby since it doesn’t really fit into the flag is some homemade whipped cream because you can’t have summer cake and berries without whipped cream! If you’re going for all simple this holiday then just break out some Cool Whip. I promise no one will complain. However, if you do take the extra few minutes to make the fresh whipped cream then I also promise you will have some extra rave reviews of your top your own angel food cake bar. Enjoy and have a great holiday!

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter
 
Yield: 1 platter; 2 cups blueberry sauce
Ingredients
for the platter
  • 1 angel food cake, cut into cubes
  • 24 ounces strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
for the blueberry sauce
  • 1½ pints blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Directions
for the platter
  1. Arrange the cake cubes on the platter in stripes, leaving room for the strawberries and a bowl filled with blueberry sauce in the upper left corner. Place the strawberries on the platter right before serving.
  2. In a cold metal bowl of a stand mixer or in a large cold metal mixing bowl with a hand mixer, use cold beaters to beat the heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it. You can make the whipped cream a day ahead, just store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve then lightly beat with a whisk.
for the blueberry sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the blueberries, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and ¼ cup water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should be thickened. Remove from the heat and blend in a blender or with an immersion blender. Alternatively you could strain in a mesh strainer to remove the blueberry chunks. If you prefer the chunks of blueberries in the sauce then you can just leave it as is. Cool to room temperature then store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Notes
I used a box mix and baked it in two square baking pans. I lined the baking pans with parchment paper then made the angel food cake according to the package instructions, baking at 325 degrees (my pans were nonstick) for 35 minutes, or until the tops were dark golden. When they came out of the oven I leaned the pans on their sides and when they were mostly cool I took them out of the pans and cut them into cubes.

Blueberry sauce recipe adapted from Ina Garten.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Even though it’s still June I’m here sharing the Food Network Magazine July cookies because they are perfect for the Fourth of July. Like the May macarons I skipped, these cookies were slightly involved, but there’s also ice cream so of course I stuck it out.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you ever made homemade ice cream sandwiches? I have a handful of times, but they can be difficult to get right because the texture of the cookies is so important. The cookies needs to be soft enough that they don’t get too hard in the freezer so you can actually bite through the ice cream treat. They also can’t be too soft that the cookie falls apart when you try to put the ice cream sandwich together.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

One thing the Food Network Magazine got right was definitely the texture of the cookies for these Ice Cream Sandwich Stars. I thought they were too soft and underdone when I baked them, but they ended up being just the right texture for ice cream sandwiches. The cookies have a malted milk vanilla flavor that isn’t too sweet, which is another reason they work well for making into ice cream sandwiches. I would not recommend baking and eating these cookies on their own; they seem specifically designed for consuming with creamy vanilla ice cream.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you get the Food Network Magazine then you know their version of these cookies are bright cherry red. I did run out of red gel food coloring so mine shown here only have half the amount the recipe below calls for, but even with the full amount I’m not sure how the cookies would ever be that color since the cookies get fairly browned by being baked in the top 1/3 of the oven. I’m curious to see if anyone else is able to get the ice cream sandwiches that bright red color or if it was all food styling and editing tricks.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Either way, they still looked cute with all the Fourth of July red, white and blue sprinkles. I have an easy red, white and blue dessert I’ll be sharing next week right before the holiday so stay tuned!

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars
 
Yield: 9 ice cream sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons red gel food coloring
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup malted milk powder (such as Carnation original)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Red, white and blue nonpareils or 4th of July sprinkles, for decorating
  • 3 pints vanilla ice cream
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 with the rack positioned in the upper third of the oven. Line a rimmed 13x18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, buttering the pan so the parchment paper stays put. Butter and four the parchment, tapping out the excess flour.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the vanilla, food coloring and milk. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, malted milk powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, shortening, sugar and brown sugar on low speed until combined. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, beating after each addition, until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the flour mixture then beat on low until just combined. Add the milk mixture and beat on medium until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and then spread until even. Sprinkle the nonpareils or sprinkles over top then bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake is just set. Cool completely in the pan set on a wire cooling rack. Once cool, use a 3¼-inch star cookie cutter to cut out 18 stars. Let the cookie stars sit in the fridge to firm up until you are ready to sandwich then with the ice cream.
  4. While the cake is baking and cooling, cut out the ice cream stars. Line a baking sheet (that will fit in your freezer) with parchment paper. Take 1 pint of ice cream out of the freezer. Turn it on its side and cut into ½-inch thick slices, right through the cardboard and ice cream, starting with the wide end. You will get 3 to 4 slices out of the pint. Place the pint slices on the parchment and remove then cardboard wrapping then place the baking sheet in the fridge to firm up. Once the slices have firmed up, use a 3¼-inch star cookie cutter to cut the slices into stars, placing the ice cream scraps in a container for another use. Put back in the freezer then repeat with the remaining two pints.
  5. Once the ice cream stars are firm enough to handle, working with a few at a time sandwich the ice cream stars between 2 of the cookie stars. Return to the freezer until ready to eat. If not eating right away, wrap them in plastic wrap after they’ve had a chance to firm up.

 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!

Lemonade Pinwheel Cookies

Lemonade Pinwheel Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have a confession that you may or may not have noticed. I skipped the May Food Network Magazine cookies. The May cookies are strawberry french macarons and at first I was intimidated, but excited. French macarons have been on my kitchen bucket list for years now. I bought all the ingredients to make them, read through the recipe (which was my ultimate mistake – always fully read through a recipe before committing to it!)… and just couldn’t get psyched up to make them.

Lemonade Pinwheel Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The Food Network Magazine recipe did a few things differently from other recipes I’ve read and I’ll be honest, sometimes the magazine recipes can be really hit or miss. When it came down to it, if I was finally going to make french macarons, something I’ve been excited about for years, but have never gotten around to, should I really be using a Food Network Magazine recipe with no reviews instead of my trusted cookbook or blogger sources? So, I put everything aside, ate a bunch of strawberries, and decided to move right along to the June cookies.

Lemonade Pinwheel Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

These Lemonade Pinwheel Cookies are definitely not to be skipped! They are chewy and bursting with lemon flavor. A couple weekends ago we had an awesome long family weekend with Matt’s parents and brother, Nick, in the Catskills. Nick is a lemon and lime fan so I brought some of these cookies along. They were a definite hit; my mother-in-law, Theresa, even ate some, which is a big deal since she is not usually a dessert person!

Lemonade Pinwheel Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The way you get the pinwheel effect is by laying two sheets of cookie dough on top of one another, rolling them up, then slicing and baking the cookies. The lighter dough is a sugar cookie dough with lemon extract. The yellow layer is that same lemon sugar cookie dough, but with lemon juice, lemon zest and lemon gelatin powder amping up the lemon flavor. There’s also a little yellow gel food coloring.

Lemonade Pinwheel Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you like lemon then I promise you will love these cookies! Make sure you read the recipe thoroughly well in advance because there’s two separate chilling steps so you most likely will want to give yourself at least two days to make them. Enjoy!

Lemonade Pinwheel Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemonade Pinwheel Cookies
 
Yield: 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), room temperature
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • ¼ cup lemon gelatin powder (from one 3-ounce box), divided
  • Lemon zest from 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon yellow gel food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons yellow sanding sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon coarse white sugar
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, or until fluffy. Add the egg, beat, then add the vanilla and lemon extracts and beat, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the flour mixture on a reduced low speed until just combined.
  2. Place half the dough on a large sheet of plastic wrap, flattening the dough into a disk as you wrap it. To the remaining dough, add 2 tablespoons of the gelatin powder, the lemon zest, lemon juice and the gel food coloring. Beat until just combined then wrap that half of the dough in plastic wrap, also shaping into a disk. Refrigerate both disks of dough until firm for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Remove the plain colored dough from the fridge and roll it out into a 10-inch by 11-inch rectangle on a lightly floured. I found it easier to move the dough if I rolled it out on a floured piece of wax paper or plastic wrap. Put aside. Remove the yellow dough from the fridge and repeat the rolling process. Place the yellow dough rectangle on top of the plain colored dough rectangle. Trim the edges then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the yellow sanding sugar over top. Starting with the long end, tightly roll up the dough to form a log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap then refrigerate until firm for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of gelatin powder, 1 tablespoon yellow sanding sugar and the coarse white sugar. Remove the dough log from the fridge and roll it in the sugar mixture, pressing to help stick. Use a sharp knife to cut the log into ⅜-inch thick slices. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are set around the edges, switching the pans halfway though. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the pan then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Notes
Make sure your dough sheets are equal sizes and wrap the dough together tightly when you roll it. The ends of my dough log were all uneven and not very tightly wrapped so I got about 14 or so perfect looking cookies and the rest of my cookies were kind of odd shaped because they were closer to the ends of the dough log.

 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!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Spring desserts are all about bright flavors and colors so I thought these Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes would be the perfect fit for these cute spring butterfly cupcake toppers gifted to me by my goddaughter. They are technically strawberry lemon cupcakes, but doesn’t strawberry lemonade sound much more fun?

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

The cupcake is a classic lemon recipe flavored with lemon zest and lemon juice. It’s a nice subtle lemon flavor that doesn’t overpower the strawberry frosting.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

If I was making these lemon cupcakes with a plain vanilla or cream cheese frosting I would add lemon extract to really amp up the lemon flavor since I love it so much, but the strawberry frosting is so good you really don’t want a lemon punch from the cupcakes to take away from it.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

The strawberry frosting is a buttercream frosting flavored with powdered freeze dried strawberries. I took a cue from my Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls; using freeze dried strawberries crushed up into a powder is the ultimate way to pack in real strawberry flavor without any of the moisture of fresh strawberries. I’ve seen freeze dried strawberries in many grocery stores and Trader Joe’s and Target definitely stock it.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve used this strawberry frosting on a chocolate cake before and it tasted just as bright and delicious paired with these lemon cupcakes. I hope you enjoy these cupcakes – they went fast in our house!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
 
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Ingredients
for the cupcakes
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup milk
  • Zest and juice from 2 lemons
for the frosting
  • ½ ounce freeze dried strawberries
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
Directions
for the cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners so you have enough for 12 cupcakes.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt until combined.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla then beat on medium-high until combined. Add the flour mixture while on low until only a few streaks remain. Add the milk, lemon zest and juice then whisk by hand until combined.
  4. Fill the cupcake liners with the batter until ⅔ full. Bake for 18-22 minutes. They are done when a toothpick comes out clean and the tops spring back when you lightly press on them. Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
for the frosting
  1. Turn the freeze-dried strawberries into a powder using a food processor or by carefully crushing into a powder in the bag with a rolling pin. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the strawberry powder and the powdered sugar, beat on low until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Frost the cupcakes using a pastry bag fitted with a 1M Wilton tip.

Lemon cupcake recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.