Caramelized Onion Hummus

Caramelized Onion Hummus  |  Lemon & Mocha

I hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was unusually event-packed with a Kelly Clarkson concert, skiing and a Shin Lim show, who was the magician who won last season of America’s Got Talent. He also won the most recent America’s Got Talent Championship season, which I didn’t watch, but it was apparently a mix of returning winners and runner-ups. Anyways, Shin Lim does close-up magic and if you haven’t seen him perform before you should go watch some clips of him on YouTube. Seeing it in person was even crazier; every trick literally left me speechless, except for “How did he do that?!”

Caramelized Onion Hummus  |  Lemon & Mocha

This Caramelized Onion Hummus might be not quite as mind-blowing, but it’s still crazy delicious. We all have those times where you get a product at the grocery store and are instantly hooked. That was what Wegman’s Caramelized Onion Hummus was for Matt and me.

Caramelized Onion Hummus  |  Lemon & Mocha

After buying it a few weeks in a row I decided to recreate it at home, especially since I was planning on making caramelized onions for the Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches. Caramelized onions add a whole level of richness and sweetness to hummus.

Caramelized Onion Hummus  |  Lemon & Mocha

The hummus is really creamy and gets just the right amount of acidity from some lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. I served the hummus topped with caramelized onions, crispy chickpeas and some Everything But the Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe’s to add some extra savory flavor. We ate ours with pita chips and veggie slices, but I also love hummus spread on sandwiches or in a salad.

Caramelized Onion Hummus  |  Lemon & Mocha

I tried something new with the hummus this time as well and it turned out so good that I’ll be sharing it with you on Wednesday! And so good that I made it three nights in a row last week for Matt and I to snack on before dinner. So stay tuned!

Caramelized Onion Hummus  |  Lemon & Mocha

Caramelized Onion Hummus
 
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ cup caramelized onions
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Blend everything together in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Top with caramelized onions, roasted chickpeas and everything but the bagel seasoning before serving.

 
Caramelized Onions
 
Ingredients
  • 4 medium onions, halved then sliced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion slices then toss to coat. Season with salt. Cook the onions, stirring every few minutes for 35-40 minutes. Towards the last 20 minutes if they start getting burnt in spots add a little more water (no more than a tablespoon at a time). If you want them really caramelized, you can continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes, but you will want to stir very frequently to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from the heat when done.

 

Chocolate Tahini Banana “Soft Serve”

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I’m sharing a chocolate-packed tasty treat with you all. This Chocolate Tahini Banana “Soft Serve” is creamy, smooth and topped with a quick chocolate magic shell. If the magic shell sounds familiar it’s because that’s what I used to top the Pistachio Semifreddo I posted last summer. It’s no secret that I love using tahini in the kitchen. I use it to make hummus, turn it into a dressing and drizzle it over lettuce wraps. However, I had only ever used it savory dishes and lately I’ve seen a lot of sweet recipes popping up with tahini listed as an ingredient.

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

At first I thought using tahini in a sweet recipe sounded really strange. But then when I thought about it more, tahini is very similar to peanut butter. They’re both creamy, nutty and rich in flavor. Considering I love peanut butter in sweet desserts, it’s not too much of a stretch to think I might also enjoy tahini swapped in. Clearly, since I’m posting this recipe now, the verdict is that I enjoyed it very, very much!

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

I swirled it into my chocolate banana “soft serve” and drizzled a little more on top for good measure. Have you ever had banana “soft serve?” I’ve also heard it called nice cream. There’s probably many different ways it’s described, but I think of it as a dessert smoothie bowl without the yogurt. It has the texture of partially melted ice cream and thanks to the cocoa powder it’s super chocolatey. You make it by blending frozen bananas, which bring the sweetness and that semi-frozen texture.

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

I added frozen cauliflower florets as an experiment and it was a big success! It didn’t change the flavor at all, but secretly added some veggies to this sweet treat. The creamy tahini added the right amount of nuttiness, which pairs so well with chocolate and banana. Of course it wouldn’t truly be a chocolate treat if I didn’t find a way to add chocolate on top of my chocolate so I drizzled some magic shell on top. You can make magic shell by melting chocolate chips with coconut oil then drizzling over something cold, like this Chocolate Tahini Banana “Soft Serve,” which makes it harden into fun chocolate swirls that you can crack with your spoon and eat with each bite.

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love making this when I want to eat some dessert, but I don’t already have anything made. A few bursts in my high-speed blender and it’s time to eat!

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate Tahini Banana "Soft Serve"
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups frozen ripe banana slices (about 1½ bananas)
  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • Sliced bananas and tahini, for topping
Directions
  1. Add the frozen banana slices, cauliflower florets, cocoa powder, agave and vanilla to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more agave if needed. Divide the mixture between 2 bowls.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips and the coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Continue to microwave for 15 second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Carefully drizzle over the “soft serve” to harden and top with banana slices and a tahini drizzle.
Notes
I've also made this using 88 Acres Watermelon Seed Butter instead of tahini using a 1-1 substitution.

 

Parmesan Crusted Brussels Sprouts

Parmesan Crusted Brussels Sprouts  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes a dish is so incredibly simple you’re shocked you didn’t think of it before. That’s how I felt with these Parmesan Crusted Brussels Sprouts. Grating some fresh Parmesan over roasted Brussels sprouts wasn’t something new for me, but grating it before baking the Brussels so they each get a crispy Parmesan cheese skirt? Genius!

Parmesan Crusted Brussels Sprouts  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’ve never heard of a cheese skirt it’s usually in reference to a burger and it’s when the cheese oozes out the side and gets crispy on the pan or griddle. Apparently a burger restaurant from California, Squeeze Burger, is the originator of the phrase. I like using it for all situations involving melted cheese that gets crispy including these Brussels sprouts.

Parmesan Crusted Brussels Sprouts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m not sure where the idea for this quick side dish came from since I found “grate Parmesan on baking sheet before roasting Brussels” as a note in my phone. It could have been something I was watching on TV or something I saw in a magazine, but either way I’m so glad I finally listened to my phone note. I never liked Brussels sprouts growing up, but that’s because I had only ever had them steamed whole. Please promise to never, ever serve your kids steamed whole Brussels sprouts! Especially when you can make these tender, crispy and cheesy roasted Brussels sprouts in twenty minutes.

Parmesan Crusted Brussels Sprouts  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’re looking for more Brussels sprouts recipes I’ve also posted these citrus Orange Glazed Brussels Sprouts and the decadent Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Molasses and Vanilla Pecan Butter. It’s impossible to pick a favorite because they all are so different and I promise none of them will scare your children away from Brussels sprouts for life. Are you a Brussels sprouts fan? What’s your favorite way to eat them?

Parmesan Crusted Brussels Sprouts  |  Lemon & Mocha

Parmesan Crusted Brussels Sprouts
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup fresh grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, dark leaves removed and cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a quarter sheet sheet with parchment paper. Lightly spray with cooking spray then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over top.
  3. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the olive oil in a mixing bowl to coat then toss with the garlic powder, pepper and salt. Place the Brussels sprouts cut side down on the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the Brussels and tender and crispy.

 

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

Before I dive into these epic meatloaf sandwiches, I forgot to tell you all last week how the February cookbook recipe went! Matt and I made the Angel Hair Frittata from the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook. It was loaded with broccolini, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto. The flavor was really good and I think we’ll make it again, but we weren’t one hundred percent sold on the angel hair pasta in it. We love pasta and we wanted to be able to taste it more so since we couldn’t really taste it we might just make it without the pasta next time.

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now, back to these Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions. Matt’s birthday is tomorrow so I wanted to make him a special meal last week to celebrate. Yes, a week early because that’s what happens when you’re a food blogger! Matt loves meatloaf and while this meatloaf on its own is amazing I knew I needed to kick it up a notch to make it birthday meal worthy. Enter toasted bun, melted provolone cheese, fresh arugula and rich caramelized onions!

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

These sandwiches ate like a burger except multiply the tender factor and the flavor level by at least ten. Trust me, it’s a scientific fact. The key to a tender meatloaf is making sure you have enough fat and enough moisture. I used 80% lean ground beef and added moisture with barbecue sauce, an egg, Dijon, and balsamic. To take it even further, I added bread that had been soaked in beef broth. If you add bread crumbs all they will do is take moisture away from the meat.

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

To get an even richer flavor I added some sautéed mushrooms and onions. Raw veggies are great, but anytime you get a chance to sauté them it really brings out an unbeatable depth of flavor. Finally, cook the meatloaf low and slow freeform on a rimmed baking sheet so that all the barbecue sauce slathered sides get a chance to caramelize. Yum!

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

Every time I’ve ever made meatloaf I’ve made it slightly differently because I’ve used whatever I have on hand in the fridge and I always add ingredients by feel. If the meatloaf is sticking to the bowl then it needs more liquid ingredients. Now that I finally wrote down a recipe I can recreate it exactly next time Matt says make that really good meatloaf again! I will definitely be making it for these sandwiches again because this has got to be the most ultimate way to eat meatloaf for dinner.

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

Also, I normally dread taking photographs of burgers and sandwiches because they’re really hard to make look appetizing, but I’m so excited with how my photos came out and they’re really doing justice to these epic sandwiches! Enjoy!

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions
 
Yield: 10 sandwiches
Ingredients
for the meatloaf
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ small onion, small diced
  • 4 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Salt, pepper and Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice bread (I used potato bread), torn into pieces
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds 80% lean ground beef
for the sandwiches
  • 4 medium onions, halved then sliced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • 10 kaiser or brioche buns, cut in half
  • 10 slices provolone cheese
  • Arugula, for topping
  • Barbecue sauce, for topping
Directions
for the meatloaf
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms then season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Cook until tender and slightly caramelized, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl. Soak the bread pieces in the beef broth for a few minutes then add the soaked bread pieces to the mixing bowl; they will be really mushy. Add ½ cup barbecue sauce, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Add the sautéed onions and mushrooms then mix everything together. Add the ground beef then use your hands to incorporate everything together, being sure not to over-mix (see note). It will come together more on the baking sheet. Scoop the meatloaf mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and form it into a long log, making it roughly the width of your kaiser buns, a couple inches high and then however long it needs to be. Mine was about 12-inches long. Cover the outside of the meatloaf completely with the remaining ½ cup of barbecue sauce.
  4. Bake until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 1 hour and 5-10 minutes. Let it rest for a couple minutes before taking the temperature of the meatloaf. Once it’s 165 degrees F, let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
for the sandwiches
  1. Caramelize the onions. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion slices then toss to coat. Season with salt. Cook the onions, stirring every few minutes for 35-40 minutes. Towards the last 20 minutes if they start getting burnt in spots add a little more water (no more than a tablespoon at a time). If you want them really caramelized, you can continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes, but you will want to stir very frequently to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from the heat when done.
  2. Toast the buns. If desired, brush the tops of the buns with an egg wash (1 beaten egg with 1 tablespoon water) then top with poppy seeds and dried onion flakes before toasting.
  3. Melt the provolone over the meatloaf slices then place on the toasted burger buns along with some caramelized onions, arugula and barbecue sauce.
Notes
I recommend using one of the following methods to help keep the meatloaf mixture from sticking to your hands (because you’re able to better incorporate everything without over-mixing if you use your hands): coating your hands with cold water, lightly coating your hands with olive oil or using disposable gloves.

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Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

As much as I want it to be spring already, we still have a few more weeks until the first official day of spring. And, considering that I live in New England, it’s usually a few more weeks after that. I decided to embrace the last bit of winter that we have left and make these decadent and cozy Hot Chocolate Cupcakes.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

My inspiration for these cupcakes came from these adorable sparkly snowflake toppers! I have the coolest goddaughter who seriously gets my love of baking and cooking. This past fall for my birthday she scoured Etsy to find unique cupcake toppers for each season. I immediately knew the upcoming year on Lemon & Mocha would have to include four special cupcakes, each showcasing the cute seasonal toppers from my goddaughter.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I was trying to decide what to make for the winter cupcakes I immediately thought of my favorite winter beverage: hot chocolate. The base of these cupcakes is my Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes. I tweaked the recipe this past fall and they truly are the most moist and light cupcakes with a big chocolate flavor. I’ve raved enough about my chocolate cupcakes in the past though so we can move on the frosting, which is what makes these not just chocolate cupcakes, but Hot Chocolate Cupcakes.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Let me get right to it; this frosting is crazy good. All it took was one bite to know this hot chocolate frosting would be an immediate member of my cake repertoire for years to come. And then I sampled a second, a third and a fourth bite just to be really, really certain.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Cocoa powder and marshmallow fluff help give this buttercream frosting that classic hot chocolate taste. There’s less powdered sugar than a traditional buttercream because we are using marshmallow fluff to sweeten the frosting and to make it, well, fluffy! Also because it wouldn’t be a perfect hot chocolate without marshmallows. Enjoy!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
 
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
for the cupcakes
  • 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 frosting
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Mini marshmallows, for topping
Directions
for the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners so you have enough for 24 cupcakes.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Pour the hot coffee into the batter and stir until combined. The batter will be extremely liquidy. Divide the batter between the 24 cupcake liners, filling them slightly more than half full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back mostly clean. Alternatively, they are done when you gently press your finger on the center of a cupcake and it lightly springs back. I find mine to be done at exactly 19 minutes.
  5. Let cool in the pans for a couple minutes then remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
for the frosting
  1. Beat the butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scrapping down the sides as needed. Add the marshmallow fluff, powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat until combined and fluffy, scrapping down the sides as needed. Pipe the frosting using a pastry bag (see note) and top with the mini marshmallows.
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.
The frosting recipe is written assuming you will be piping a generous amount of frosting on each cupcake. If you would prefer to simply frost with a knife then you can most likely halve the frosting recipe.