Recipes

Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls

Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m going to have a hard time writing about these Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls because every time I think about them my mind goes blank except for thoughts of wanting to eat them. By the time I’m done writing this post I’ll probably find myself in the kitchen making a batch of these because I made and photographed them so long ago – like last September long ago! Which means I don’t have any right now while I’m writing about them and editing the photos, which is probably the most torturous writing endeavor ever.

Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Typically, cake balls consist of cake and buttercream mushed together and then dipped in chocolate. Instead of the traditional buttercream, these cake balls are made with my Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe and my Chocolate Ganache. Chocolate ganache is silky, decadent and a pure chocolate-lover’s dream. Alternatively, if you wanted to speed the recipe up you could use a store-bought chocolate cake mix instead.

Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Just the cake and the ganache together is enough to make me swoon, but I’ve rolled the cake balls in powdered freeze-dried strawberries to add some tartness and fruitiness. What are powdered freeze-dried strawberries? Just store-bought freeze-dried strawberries that you can get at Trader Joe’s and or Target that I’ve crushed up in my mini food processor to make a powder. I got this idea from one of my favorite candy retailers – Chukar Cherries out of Seattle, Washington. Matt and I first tried Chukar Cherries products during our Seattle vacation in 2013 and we’ve been hooked ever since. They have these raspberry truffles that are dried cranberries covered in white chocolate and then rolled in raspberry powder. They are sweet, tangy and crazy addictive.

Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve even seen raspberry powder and strawberry powder in a local spice shop here, but it would definitely be less expensive to buy the pack of freeze-dried strawberries and crush them yourself. After rolling the cake balls in the powdered freeze-dried strawberries they are dipped in melted semisweet chocolate to form a rich chocolate shell on the outside.

Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

I initially made these cake balls because I had all these leftover ingredients, but they are worth a special trip to the kitchen just to make these Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls. Obviously they are a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day, but seeing as how I first made them during a warm day in September they really are the perfect chocolate dessert any day of the year!

Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Strawberry Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls
 
Yield: about 4 dozen
Ingredients
for the cake
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk, see note
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee, see note
for the chocolate ganache
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 12-ounce bag of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
for the cake balls
  • 1 bag freeze-dried strawberries, about 1 ounce
  • About 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (see note) or chocolate coating wafers
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or coconut oil
Directions
for the cake
  1. If you want to use a box mix, bake it according to the box directions in a 9x13 pan then skip ahead to the last step in this section.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth.
  5. Pour the hot coffee into the batter and stir until combined. The batter will be extremely liquidy. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back mostly clean.
  6. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes then remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before making the cake balls.
for the chocolate ganache
  1. Heat the cream over medium heat until steaming, stirring constantly.
  2. Once steaming, remove the cream from the heat. Add the chocolate and stir then let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the butter to the chocolate mixture then stir until smooth. You may need to return to low heat to stir and melt all the final bits of chocolate and butter. Let cool.
for the cake balls
  1. Line 2 baking sheet that fit in your fridge or freezer with wax paper. Set aside. 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. Place in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, completely crumble the cake then combine with 1½ cups of the cooled chocolate ganache. Stir together until the chocolate ganache is completely incorporated and the cake balls are roll-able, but not too wet, adding more chocolate ganache as needed. Roll the mixture into balls, then roll each ball in the powdered freeze-dried strawberries. Place on the prepared baking sheets then either freeze for a little bit or refrigerate for a few hours. You want them to be cold and solid, but not frozen.
  3. When you’re almost ready to take the cake balls out of the fridge or freezer, melt the chocolate chips and vegetable oil or the chocolate coating wafers. I melted mine in two batches instead of melting it all at once. Microwave in a tall deep bowl (like a microwave-safe liquid measuring cup) for 30 seconds, stir, then continue in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is completely melted. Make sure not too over heat it or the chocolate will seize up. Alternatively, you could melt the chocolate using a double boiler. Use a spoon or fork to dip each chilled cake ball into the chocolate, letting the excess drip off before placing back on the wax paper lined baking sheet. Top each cake ball with a sprinkling of the powdered freeze-dried strawberries and some Valentine’s Day sprinkles before the chocolate hardens. Store in the fridge - if you don’t eat them all right away!
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 1 cup. Let sit for 5 minutes before using.
If you don’t want to use coffee you can use hot water, but the flavor of the chocolate won’t be as pronounced. You can use decaffeinated coffee if you prefer.
For the chocolate ganache (and if using chocolate chips instead of chocolate coating wafers for the outer layer), I recommend using Ghiradelli, Guittard or Scharffen Berger.
Any leftover ganache will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

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!

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

See? I told you the healthy recipes would be back! Although I can’t say the same for what I have scheduled for next week. Last week when I posted the Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce I started thinking about that creamy, salty and tangy peanut sauce. More specifically, about how it was so good that I needed to come up with other recipes I could drizzle it all over!

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

My mind immediately went to a stir fry so here we are staring at this drool-worthy Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli. This dish came out exactly like I was hoping. The broccoli and shrimp are tender and slightly crispy, but of course the star is that creamy peanut sauce. Pour the whole thing over some brown rice, add some chopped peanuts and scallions and you are in weeknight dinner heaven.

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

To make the broccoli for this stir fry I used the steam-sautéed method. Remember that old post? You lightly sauté some garlic and broccoli then add some water and cover the pan so the broccoli finishes cooking by steaming right in the skillet. It cooks the broccoli really quickly while also adding some char and flavor that is missing with traditional steamed broccoli. I also peel and chop the broccoli stalks so that I’m using every bit of the broccoli, but you can feel free to omit this step if you would prefer just to use broccoli florets.

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

The shrimp get a quick sear with three minutes on each side before it’s time for the simple peanut sauce made from peanut butter, coconut aminos, light coconut milk, maple syrup, lime juice, ground ginger and a little red pepper flakes. This whole dish is incredibly quick to throw together, which is the beauty of stir fry meals.

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

When Matt and I were in our old apartment and would both get home from work late, stir fries were usually a twice a week regular in our rotation. I love this Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli stir fry because the peanut sauce is a nice change from the classic soy sauce base that was usually our go-to. I hope you all enjoy this one! Happy Friday!

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into bite sized florets; stalks peeled, diced and kept separate
  • 2½ tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet (that has a lid, but don’t use the lid yet) over medium heat. Add the garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the diced broccoli stalks and cook for 1 minute. Add the florets and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water, cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Steam the broccoli for 5 minutes, until tender and the water has steamed off.
  2. While the broccoli is cooking, make the peanut sauce. Whisk the peanut butter, coconut aminos, light coconut milk, maple syrup, lime juice, ground ginger and red pepper flakes in a small mixing bowl until well combined.
  3. When the broccoli is done, remove from the skillet. Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the shrimp, being sure not to move the shrimp once you place them in the skillet. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and sear for 3 minutes, flip and sear for another 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add the broccoli and sauce to the skillet. Stir until combined then remove from the heat. Serve the shrimp and broccoli over brown rice and top with the chopped peanuts and scallions.
Notes
Substitutions: If you can’t use coconut aminos, you can try swapping in low sodium soy sauce. You might need to increase the amount of maple syrup. If you can’t use light coconut milk, substitute water.

 

Game Day Cookies

Game Day Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m stopping the Lemon & Mocha healthy January posts a couple days early, but it’s for a good reason. I still have plenty of healthy recipes on the schedule, they just won’t be the sole focus of my posts. I hope you enjoyed them though; I definitely did! The very good reason I’m cutting out early is because I have to post the monthly Food Network Magazine recipe. Last year was all about the muffins and if you’re new here you can read about it in my Muffin of the Month Round-up. At the end of that post I guessed that the monthly treat for 2019 would be cookies so I was super excited when I opened up my January/February 2019 issue of Food Network Magazine to see their Calendar of Cookies!

Game Day Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was even more excited after looking at the recipes for each cookie because the types and flavors look so good. However, they are definitely fancier than the typical cookies I make. My go-to cookie is usually a drop cookie, like these Game Day Cookies I’m posting for January, but for the ones coming up we have cookie pops, different colored dough, sandwich cookies, pie cookies and even macarons! It’s a little intimidating to go from easy one bowl muffins to these cookies, but who knows? Maybe they will end up being easier than they look. I like that it’s a challenge to push myself out of my baking comfort zone a little each month. I hope you’ll join me on this fun baking challenge!

Game Day Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

First up, we have these crazy snack-packed Game Day Cookies that are perfect for those Super Bowl parties! When I say packed I mean it; these cookies are loaded with candied bacon, pretzels, chocolate chips, mini M&M’s and potato chips. The base is like your normal chocolate chip cookie dough plus some of the bacon fat to replace some of the butter and to really bring home that bacon flavor.

Game Day Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve never made candied bacon before, but the recipe calls for you to crisp bacon in a skillet then drain the fat and continue cooking the bacon with some brown sugar. If you normally think crispy fresh-cooked bacon is addictive, wait until you try this candied bacon! It was hard to save it for the cookies.

Game Day Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

With all the different snack additions to these cookies they are the ultimate sweet and salty treat. Matt loved them especially because he is a huge bacon fan. I liked them, but I’m more of a sweets person so every time I ate one I found myself wishing it was less savory and more sweet. And had more chocolate, since as you all know I love to stuff my cookies with tons and tons of chocolate. So far, the Food Network Calendar of Cookies is off to a good start and I can’t wait to try the February cookies! Stay tuned!

Game Day Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Game Day Cookies
 
Yield: about 16 cookies
Ingredients
  • 5 slices bacon, chopped
  • ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup broken pretzel sticks
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup mini M&M’s
  • 2 cups kettle-cooked potato chips, broken
Directions
  1. Make sure racks in the oven are in the upper and lower thirds so you can fit bake both baking sheets of cookies at the same time. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon until crispy and browned, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly then measure out 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and place in a large heatproof bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Safely discard the remaining bacon grease or save for another use (like the Irish Cheddar, Bacon and Potato Muffins!). Add 2 teaspoons of the brown sugar and the water to the drained pan with the bacon and cook for about 1 minute, or until the sugar is dissolved, making sure to stir. Transfer the bacon to a plate and spread it out to let it cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the butter to the large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer that has the bacon fat already in it. Add the remaining ½ cup brown sugar and the granulated sugar then beat on medium-high speed for about 2-3 minutes, or until fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla then beat until combined. Add the flour mixture then beat on low until a few flour streaks remaining. Add the pretzels, chocolate chips, M&M’s and candied bacon then beat until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the potato chips.
  4. Use a large OXO cookie scoop or a large spoon to scoop out large dough balls that are about 3 tablespoons each. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake until the cookies are set around the edges, but still soft in the middle, about 13-15 minutes, switching the baking pans halfway through from top to bottom. Place the pans on wire cooling racks and let cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to the wire cooling racks to cool completely.

 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!

Breakfast Bulgur with Warm Berries

Breakfast Bulgur with Warm Berries  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy Friday, everyone! I don’t know about you, but this has been a long week. Both Matt and I were sick and all the snow, ice and cold didn’t help. Having lived in New England my whole life I’m never surprised when we get bad winter weather, but that doesn’t mean we can’t complain about it, right?! This healthy breakfast dish is perfect for those cold winter mornings because it’s warm and full of bright berry flavors.

Breakfast Bulgur with Warm Berries  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m always on the hunt for warm breakfast ideas since I am allergic to oats so oatmeal is out. A while back I stumbled across a recipe in Giada’s Feel Good Food cookbook for a breakfast bulgur. Bulgur wheat is a whole grain that is a smaller grain than rolled oats, but it has a similar chewy texture. I cook it up with some vanilla and cinnamon then pour berries that have been cooked down with maple syrup over top.

Breakfast Bulgur with Warm Berries  |  Lemon & Mocha

As with most of the recipes on Lemon & Mocha, this breakfast bulgur is ideal as a make-ahead meal. Usually I make a big batch of the bulgur and the berries then divide it all between eight small reusable containers. That way Matt and I can each just microwave our little container for one minute for a quick and healthy breakfast without having to guess at the serving size.

Breakfast Bulgur with Warm Berries  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve also frozen the little containers once when we were going to be away and they still tasted good when we defrosted and ate them the next week. If you didn’t want to make quite so much you could easily halve the recipe. I’ve been wanting to try other variations of bulgur wheat for breakfast, but I’m so hooked on this original berry version that in the few years I’ve been making it I have yet to try it any other way. Do you ever have bulgur for breakfast? What’s your favorite way to eat it?

Breakfast Bulgur with Warm Berries  |  Lemon & Mocha

Also, in case you are new to bulgur and are looking for a visual for when you’re at the grocery store, I buy this Bob’s Red Mill version. Whole Foods also sells it in the bulk bins if you wanted to try it first; that’s what I did when I first made it before I graduated to buying the Bob’s Red Mill bags in bulk from Amazon!

Breakfast Bulgur with Warm Berries  |  Lemon & Mocha

Breakfast Bulgur with Warm Berries
 
Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients
for the bulgur
  • 2 cups golden bulgur wheat
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
for the berries
  • 10 ounces frozen strawberries
  • 16 ounces frozen mixed berries
  • 6 ounces fresh blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions
for the bulgur
  1. Add 4 cups of water, the bulgur, vanilla, cinnamon and salt to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes. Stir together; the water should be absorbed.
for the berries
  1. Heat all the frozen berries over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Let cook for 8 minutes, or until the berries are almost thawed. All the fresh berries, maple syrup and the cinnamon. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and lightly smashing the strawberries as you stir. Remove from the heat and eat over the bulgur.

Recipe slightly adapted from Giada’s Feel Good Food.
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!

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Are you guys peanut butter fanatics like I am? Most days I just look around the kitchen to see what would be a good vessel for my peanut butter snack. Pretzels? Check. Carrot sticks? Yup. Pancakes? Yes, please. Spoon? Sure, why not?

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes when I’m coming up with recipes I think the same way. I quickly discovered that roasted acorn squash makes an excellent peanut butter vessel. Especially when the peanut butter is combined with coconut milk, lime juice, coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and maple syrup to make a rich, tangy, salty and slightly sweet sauce. Add some chopped crunchy peanuts and savory scallions and you have absolute veggie perfection.

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you ever used coconut aminos? I bought a bottle at Trader Joe’s and this was my first time using it. Many people use it as a substitute for soy sauce since it tastes similar, although slightly sweeter. Coconut aminos is lower in sodium and contains no soy. If you would rather use low sodium soy sauce because that’s what you already have in your fridge you might need to adjust the sauce to taste a little since it’s not a direct substitution.

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love pretty much all roasted vegetables and acorn squash is no exception. The slices get tender, a little crispy and caramelized. Plus, how fancy do they look all laid out on the platter? You definitely need a very sharp knife to cut through the squash. If you’re finding the squash too difficult to cut through, cut a few slits in the skin of the squash then microwave for three minutes to help soften the skin.

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Looking for more peanut vessel inspiration? Check out my Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos, Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken or Apple Nachos. Or if you want something a little sweeter, the Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Crunch Chocolate Brownies and the Peanut Butter Apple Bars are both loaded with peanut butter. Yum!

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 acorn squash
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Cut the acorn squashes into ½-inch slices. Use a small round biscuit cutter or a knife to remove the center of each slice to leave you with acorn squash rings. Lay the squash slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray then season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. While the squash is roasting, make the peanut sauce. Whisk the peanut butter, coconut aminos, light coconut milk, maple syrup, lime juice, ground ginger and red pepper flakes in a small mixing bowl until well combined.
  4. When the squash is done, layer on a serving dish. Drizzle the peanut sauce over top then top with the chopped peanuts and scallions. Serve warm.
Notes
Substitutions: If you can’t use coconut aminos, you can try swapping in low sodium soy sauce. You might need to increase the amount of maple syrup. If you can’t use light coconut milk, substitute water.
Leave the acorn squash unpeeled. When you cut the slices you want the squash positioned so the stem end is facing your left hand and the bottom end of the squash is facing your right hand (if you are going to be cutting with your right hand).