Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sunflower Cupcakes

Sunflowers are my favorite. I've been wanting to decorate these adorable things for a while now. I had 6 regular cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes in the freezer - love when that happens! Many options are out there for creating the center. For the mini cupcakes, I had my baking assistant (mom) place dollops of chocolate frosting in the center with a toothpick. Then she put three chocolate chips in the center of the regular size cupcakes. You could always add more chocolate chips but I love frosting. Speaking of frosting, I tinted vanilla buttercream yellow and used the leaf tip to create petals. Overlapping the petals makes for a more realistic sunflower. No mishaps with these cupcakes. I think that may be because the last cake mom and I baked together came out a little too moist. Someone added too much butter but I'm not going to say who. What happens in the kitchen sometimes has to stay in the kitchen, right? Anyway I think we were both paying extra attention this time.

Here's to sweet summer time!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Two Blueberry Recipes!

Last  year I went to Berry Patch Farms and picked blueberries with my sorority alum chapter. I tried to talk my mom into going back with me but she was not interested. Luckily this year I was able to talk her into going to Washington Farms in Watkinsville, GA. We had so much fun on Wednesday picking blueberries and strawberries. Sadly all the ripe blackberries were gone by the time we arrived (only two hours after they opened). I guess that means I just have to go back.

With half a gallon of blueberries in the refrigerator (may be a little less since mom and I split them), I started searching the food blogs for ideas of what to bake. I discovered a fabulous recipe for a Lemon Curd Blueberry Tart at Foodologie. This was my second attempt at making a tart and the first at preparing homemade lemon curd. My mom wanted me to buy lemon curd at the grocery store which I considered for a split second given that I'm not a double boiler expert. I committed to the homemade option after learning that lemon curd is $3.69 for a 10 oz. jar at Publix. Homemade just seems "healthier" when you read the ingredients of the store bought version. Mom and I struggled to get the lemon curd to thicken. After 15 minutes we took it off the stove, added the butter, and hoped for the best. It turned out great! Such an amazing flavor with blueberries and the graham cracker crust.

My great grandmother's tart pan did not have such a happy ending though. She gave the pan to my mom decades ago after asking my mom, "Do you know what to do with this?" About five years ago I found the pan buried under all the other pans in my mom's kitchen and gave it a go with a Kraft foods recipe that consisted of jello and fruit. It was good but we didn't know how to get it out of the pan neatly. The same thing happened this time and I decided it was time for us part ways with the tart pan. Other tarts I've seen online do no look like this pan. It was sentimental but I think I'm better off purchasing a new tart pan or maybe some tartlets. Sorry I didn't post more pics but I think you can understand given the pan situation.

Lemon Blueberry Tartlets
1 package graham crackers
6 tbsp melted butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (about the juice of 2 lemons)
4 tbsp butter, softened
zest of 2 lemons
1-2 cups blueberries

Make your crust:
Crush the graham crackers, pour melted butter over graham cracker crumbs.  Toss to combine and press into one large tart pan or about 5 mini tartlet pans.  Refrigerate.
Make Lemon Filling:
Place a stainless steel or glass bowl over a pot of boiling water.  In the bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice.  Stir over the double boiler until thick.  This will take about 10 minutes.  Carefully remove from heat and stir in the butter and lemon zest.  Set aside and allow to cool completely.  You can make this a day or two in advance and just keep it refrigerated.
Assemble Tartlets:
Spoon lemon filling into prepared graham cracker crusts.  Arrange blueberries over the filling.  Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar to make it look extra special.
Serve immediately or refrigerate.  Makes 5 mini tartlets or 1 large tart.

Next up is blueberry scones. Anything dough like is intimidating to me. Thankfully my mom mastered my great grandmother's biscuit recipe recently and she was present for the scone making. I found this recipe at www.tasteofhome.com This was much easier than the lemon curd. Lol. Mom was not understanding how to cut the dough into wedges but once I compared it to pizza she was on board. Someone commented on the site that these freeze well so we shall find out the next time I'm ready to sit down with one of these delicious scones and a hot cup of tea or coffee.

Blueberry Scones


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries


  • In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a bowl, whisk eggs and 3/4 cup milk; add to dry ingredients just until moistened. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; gently knead in the blueberries.
  • Divide the dough in half. Pat each portion into an 8-in. circle; cut each into eight wedges. Place on greased baking sheets. Brush with remaining milk. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: 16 scones.

One cup of blueberries remain in the refrigerator. I may freeze them but then again I may bake blueberry muffins. Oh how I love berries!

Happy Summer!!!