Lemon Raspberry Trifle

Sweet, tart, creamy and delicious... this amazing trifle has it all!

Sweet, tart, creamy and delicious…. this Lemon Raspberry Trifle has it all!

You might already know that I love trifles and layered desserts… after all I did write a whole book on them!

When a neighbor recently gifted me with a big bag of meyer lemons I knew they would be a perfect element in a pretty trifle.

I started by making lemon curd, then added that delicious element to some of my favorite Real California Milk products… heavy cream and cream cheese!

I layered the delicious lemon cream with raspberries… but strawberries, blueberries, or some combination of those would be equally delicious!

I wanted the finished dessert to have a big of texture to it, so before adding a layer of sponge cake I cut the cake into small squares and toasted them in the oven.

Everyone in my house LOVED the final results!  This Lemon Raspberry Trifle has a great combination of flavors and textures!

Sweet, tart, creamy and delicious... this amazing trifle has it all!

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Lemon Raspberry Trifle

Sweet, tart, creamy and delicious... this amazing trifle has it all!

Yield: 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients:

Sponge Cake, Angel Food Cake or Pound Cake (1 loaf size cake, or 1/2 of a large round cake)

Lemon Curd
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3 Tbsp. butter

Lemon Cream
4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. lemon curd (from recipe above)

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

Directions:

Prepare Lemon Curd by combining all ingredients in a double boiler (or a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water). Heat, while stirring (with a whisk), until mixture thickens. The lemon curd is done when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate until cool. If desired, pour lemon curd through a fine strainer before refrigerating. Lemon curd may be store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

Prepare cake. You may use a Sponge Cake (I used the recipe in my book, Glorious Layered Desserts), Angel Food Cake, or Pound Cake.

Once baked and cooled (or feel free to use store bought) cut cake into small bites (about 1" squares) and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350* for 8-12 minutes. Check after 5 minutes, you may want to flip them over or move them around a bit so they bake evenly. You want the cake to be dry on the outside, but have some softness in the center. Baking the cake bites is totally optional, but I love the bit of extra texture it adds to the final dessert.

While the cake bakes, prepare raspberries by placing in a bowl and sprinkling 1-2 tablespoons of sugar evenly on the fruit. Stir and put in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, until there is some juice in the bottom of the bowl. Stir raspberries as needed to make sure the sugar gets dissolved and mixed in well. Frozen raspberries will be much juicer, so you'll have to adjust accordingly (fresh may need to sit in the fridge a bit longer). If using fresh berries, you may reserve a few for garnish if desired.

Prepare lemon cream
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add heavy cream slowly, while mixing. When the cream begins to thicken, slowly add powdered sugar, vanilla and then (fully cooled) lemon curd. Continue to beat until all ingredients are well incorporated and mixture is light and fluffy.

Assemble dessert-
Scoop lemon cream into a large ziplock bag, close bag and snip off about 1/2 inch from one of the corners of the bag.
Begin assembly by adding a few pieces of cake to each dish, then adding a layer of lemon cream, some raspberries (with some of the juices), then repeat - cake, cream, raspberries.

Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 30 minutes before serving.
If preparing ahead, prepare each component, but assemble shortly before serving.

Recipe source- Glorious Treats

When choosing dairy products, make sure to look for the Real California Milk seal.   It’s the only way to ensure those products are make with 100% Real California Milk.   I recently enjoyed a visit to a California dairy farm and enjoyed meeting some happy California cows during my Real California Milk Farm Tour.

Sweet, tart, creamy and delicious... this amazing trifle has it all!

Looking for more delicious recipes to use fresh winter lemons?  Here are few of my favorites!

Lemon Coconut Bars

Yogurt Panna Cotta with Lemon Curd

Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

 

This post is sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board.  All text, images and opinions are my own.  I only work with brands I use and love.

Real California Milk Farm Tour

Thrifty Ice Cream Factory Tour

When a “business trip” includes lots of sampling of Thrifty Ice Cream you know your career is heading in the right direction! =)

Thanks to the California Milk Advisory Board I recently enjoyed a short trip to southern California to enjoy lots of delicious milk, cheese and ice cream… and meet some of the happy California cows that make these delicious products possible!

I was part of a lovely group of bloggers including Hayley from The Domestic Rebel, Mique from Thirty Handmade Days, Jen from Yummy Healthy Easy, Valentina from Cooking on the Weekends, Diane from Created by Diane and Chung-Ah Rhee from Damn Delicious.  Our group enjoyed a whirlwind tour of the Thrifty Ice Cream plant, several amazing meals featuring an array of California dairy products, and a tour of Bootsma Dairy in Lakeview, CA.

Thrifty Ice Cream Tour

The tour kicked off with a trip to the Thrifty Ice Cream plant.  As a California girl, I’ve enjoyed Thrifty Ice Cream as long as I can remember!  It was so fun to see exactly how this delicious ice cream is made!  And as the conscientious food bloggers we are… Hayley and I just had to do a little “quality control” and taste the cookies that go into Thrifty’s cookies and cream ice cream!  =)  We approve!

Thrifty Ice Cream Tour

After the factory tour, we had an ice cream sampling… this is about the point when I have to smile ask myself, how did I get so lucky to have this be my job?!  =)

Needless to say, every flavor we tried was delicious… but Chocolate Malted Crunch remains my all time favorite!

Real California Milk Farm Tour

We enjoyed two especially amazing meals while on our trip… an incredible dinner at Eatery in Pasadena, and then a gorgeous lunch at The Salted Pig in Riverside (pictured above).  Both meals were artfully prepared and included some of the most delicious milk and cheese dishes imaginable!

The final stop on our California Milk tour was at Bootsma Dairy in Lakeview.  I was struck by both the geographical beauty, and the peaceful feel of this family-owned business.  The Bootsma Dairy has nearly 2,000 cow and yet is run just the way any smaller dairy would be.  Each and every cow is given individual care at some point in the day.  Nearly around the clock care is invested to make sure these cows are happy and healthy.

Real California Milk Farm Tour

 

Real California Milk Farm Tour

 

Real California Milk Farm Tour

My friend Hayley did her best to figure out how this little calf might fit in her luggage!  =)

Real California Milk Farm Tour

As a final send-off we enjoyed a few more dairy treats, including this gorgeous cheese board.  I’m super inspired to recreate this for one of my next parties!

Thanks to the wonderful people at California Milk for including me on this tour and giving me so many more reasons to love California dairy products!

What is your favorite dairy product?  Is it milk?  Cheese?  Yogurt?  Ice Cream?  I love them all… but ice cream certainly tops the list for me!

This post is sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board.  All images, text and opinions are my own.  I am very selective about the brands and products I share on my site and only work with companies I love.

Mocha Chocolate Chip Meringues

Light, crisp, sweet and delicious Mocha Meringue Cookies!

What’s a better way to start off the new year than with coffee and chocolate?  =)

These Mocha Chocolate Chip Meringues are sweet, crisp, light as air, and simply delicious!

If you’ve never had a meringue cookie they are quite different from a traditional cookie (such as a chocolate chip cookie, etc).  Meringues are made from egg whites, sugar, and whatever flavoring you chose and are light, crisp little puffs sweetness and air.

Feel free to adjust the recipe by omitting the coffee and simply making delicious chocolate chip meringues.

Once you try these simple and sweet little treats, you’ll want to make them again and again!

Mocha Chocolate Chip Meringues - Light as air, and so delicious!

If by chance you’re cutting calories, these little treats are quite low in fat and calories compared to a traditional cookie.  Also, they’re gluten free and could be easily made dairy free by choosing dairy free chocolate chips.

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Mocha Chocolate Chip Meringues

Coffee and chocolate are a delicious combo in these light-as-air cookies!

Yield: 18-22 cookies

Ingredients:

2 egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Separate 2 eggs and set aside the yolks for another use. Allow the whites to come up to room temperature. If needed, set the bowl of egg whites into another bowl of hot water.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Dissolve 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder into 1 Tablespoon of hot water, stir and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the egg whites and begin to whip on low speed.
When the whites are slightly foamy, add the cream of tartar, then continue to beat on low to medium speed until soft peaks form (when the whisk is lifted from the egg whites).
VERY slowly, add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, while mixing. Increase mixer speed to medium.
When the eggs have reached the stiff peak stage (a stiff peak forms when the whisk is lifted from the mixture), slowly add the prepared espresso, the cocoa powder and the vanilla.
Blend until well combined.
Preheat oven to 300*F.
Stop the mixer, and use a spatula to gently fold in the chocolate chips, reserving a few to add on top of the cookies.
Use a 2 Tablespoon cookie scoop (or work with two spoons) to scoop batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Add a few chocolate chips on top of each cookie.
Bake both baking sheets of cookies in pre-heated oven at 300*F for 10 minutes, then gently switch the position of the baking sheets (move the bottom sheet to the top) and bake an additional 13 minutes. When the timer goes off, DO NOT open the oven. simply TURN OFF the oven, and leave the cookies undisturbed for at least one hour (up to overnight).
Gently peel cookies off of parchment, and store in an airtight container.

Recipe source - Glorious Treats (via my mom)

To ensure the egg whites whip up properly, be sure no egg yolk get into the whites, and be sure all bowls and utensils used are very clean and oil-free. Additionally, follow the other steps of the recipe carefully, including bringing the egg whites to room temperature, beating the whites slowly at first, and adding the sugar a little at a time.

Happy baking!

These little cookies are sweet, crisp and light as air!

Homemade Pecan Turtles

Easy homemade Pecan Turtles - You'll be surprised how easy it is to make these delicious treats!

Chocolate, caramel, pecans… each delicious on their own, but even better together!

These Homemade Pecan Turtles are surprisingly easy to make are so perfect to share around the holidays!  Just be sure to keep a few for yourself! =)

This recipe takes a bit of a shortcut by starting with store bought caramels… but that can be our little secret!

The finished turtles are a perfect combination of textures and flavors… crunchy, chewy, sweet… and bit of sea salt rounds everything out.

Your friends and family will love these cute and delicious little treats!

Easy homemade Pecan Turtles - These are SO good!!

 

Easy homemade Pecan Turtles

Let’s get started!

Gather your ingredients (listed in the recipe below).

Spoon a small amount of chocolate onto a parchment paper lined, or Silpat lined baking sheet (pictured below).

Easy homemade Pecan Turtles

Arrange pecan halves like a flower, or to create the head and four legs of a turtle.

Easy homemade Pecan Turtles

Spoon caramel into the center of the pecans.

Easy homemade Pecan Turtles

Add chocolate on top, spreading with the back of a spoon as needed.  Add a modest sprinkling of sea salt.

Easy homemade Pecan Turtles

 

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Pecan Turtles

Starting with pre-made caramels helps these delicious Pecan Turtles come together quickly!

Ingredients:

2 cups pecan halves
11 oz. bag of wrapped caramels
2 Tablespoons heavy cream (milk or water may be used)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 bag (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
sea salt (Fleur de sel or similar if available)

Directions:

1. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 375*F about 5 minutes, until warm and fragrant. Cool and set aside.

2. Unwrap caramels and place caramels, cream and vanilla in the top of a double boiler and heat until the caramels have melted (this will take a while). Stir as needed.

3. While the caramel melts, heat the chocolate chips in another double boiler, or in the microwave at 50% power in 30 second intervals. Stir between intervals and stop cooking when the chips have almost melted, but not fully. Be careful not to over heat the chocolate, it can easily burn. Stir chips until smooth and fully melted.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner. Spoon a small amount of chocolate onto the baking sheet, using the back of the spoon to smooth it into a small circle (about 2" diameter). After you've made 3-4 circles, arrange 5 pecan halves on to of chocolate, creating the "turtle" head and four legs (as pictured), or a flower. Continue making circles of chocolate, then adding pecans until the baking sheet is full (I usually fit 6-10 on a baking sheet). Set entire baking sheet in the fridge for a few minutes, until the chocolate has set up a bit.

5. Once the chocolate has set, (remove from fridge) and add about a teaspoon or two of melted caramel onto the center of the pecans (as pictured). The caramel should be just melted enough that it will fall off a spoon, but not so liquid that it just rolls right off the pecans into a puddle. If the caramel is too thin, remove from heat and allow to cool just a bit. Once caramel has been added to each turtle, place baking sheet back into the fridge for a few minutes.

6. When the caramel has set up just a bit, spoon a bit of chocolate on top, covering as much of the caramel as possible. If desired, add a bit of fleur de sel sea salt on top.

7. Place turtles back in the fridge for just a few minutes to set up.

8. When fully cool and set, remove from baking sheet and store in an airtight container at room temperature. See notes below about shelf life.

Recipe Source - Glorious Treats

Notes -
The ingredient measurements listed in the recipe above are just what I used, but really could vary according to how many turtles you want to make. Basically you need nuts, chocolate, caramels and a bit of cream.

Chose good quality caramels, stay away from generic brands for this project. I usually use Brach's or Kraft. I have not tried the unwrapped caramel bits for this project, but I imagine they would work perfectly well.

If you do not temper the chocolate, the finished turtles should be enjoyed within 2-3 days or the chocolate will begin to discolor. If you temper the chocolate before use, the turtles will remain beautiful for much longer (I've never kept them more than a week, but I would imagine they could be kept longer).

For the most professional results, and for the longest shelf life, I recommend tempering the chocolate.  I’ve been intimidated for years by the idea of tempering chocolate, because it is quite a precise process.  I’ve made these pecan turtles many times in years past, but this is the first time I attempted to properly temper the chocolate.  The extra time was well worth it, and I loved the shiny, professional quality of the finished turtles.  If you’re going to try tempering chocolate I highly recommend a precise thermometer, such as a Thermapen.  Additionally, I found the tutorials by David Lebovitz and Handle the Heat very helpful.

Easy homemade Pecan Turtles

Easy Homemade Pecan Turtles - These are SO good!!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

These Chocolate Sugar Cookies are simple, yet delicious!  They’re rich, chewy, and perfect for satisfying a chocolate craving!

Of course most delicious desserts start with butter, and for these cookies I’ve teamed up with Challenge Dairy as part of their 12 Christmas Cookies Countdown.

Hop on over to find the recipe for these chocolaty cookies on ChallengeDairy.com

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Looking for a few more holiday cookies ideas?  I’ve got you covered!

Hot Cocoa Cookies - The most popular cookies of all time on my site, and for good reason!

Gingerbread Cookies – Perfect for classic cut-out gingerbread boys and girls… or any festive shape!

Chewy Ginger Molasses – Sweet, spicy, chewy and oh so delicious!

What’s your favorite Christmas cookie?