Tag Archives: lemon

Satisfaction & Lemon Ricotta Muffins

We’ve been busy, but that seems like a typical December response. Our oldest began her special little school this past week. It seemed harder for me than her. I’m amazed by her growth. This little girl is showing signs of improvement with every week, which makes me excited with anticipation to see it all unfold.

As I see life twirling around with what seems longer lines and crowded parking lots, I’ve been reminded to breathe and bring in my family to bunker down. Each night we light our Advent candle, read a small portion of Scripture, say a prayer of thanksgiving and see which girl gets to blow out the candle to conclude one more day.  I’m so thankful that I’m able to be in a season of seeing each day as a gift these days.  When I look back on the summer, walking in some of the darkest days I’ve known to see God’s grace & faithfulness on the other end.  And now here I am in the season of Advent to welcome in the coming of not only Jesus’ birth, but the reminder that he will again bring hope.

So remind me of this moment friends…when I begin to worry about whether V will move beyond her current developmental delays, about my health or my families’, or anything else under the sun (you can fill in your own blank here), that there lies a hope, which I find in this Advent season.  I think King David puts it well:

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Here’s to some satisfaction with yummy muffins.  I have yet to make anything with gluten for a while, so these are from this summer.  However, I think they are fitting for any season, especially a Saturday morning cozy with your loved ones.  Where are you finding satisfaction or sharing that these days?

A Year Ago: Intensely Chocolate Cake & Cranberry-Orange Crostata

Lemon Ricotta Muffins (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted very slightly from Giada De Laurentis.

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tb lemon zest
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 Tb fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup thinly sliced almonds

raw sugar for sprinkling
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with papers.  In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt, whisk together.

In a large bowl, (or bowl of an electric mixer) using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter & lemon zest until light & fluffy (2 minutes).  Beat in the ricotta.  Then, beat in the egg, lemon juice, & almond extract until just combined.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and stir till just combined (the batter will be thick).

Scoop the batter evenly among the 12 lined muffin cups.  Sprinkle with thinly sliced almonds & some raw sugar on top of muffins.  Bake until the muffins just become pale golden on top, about 20 minutes (it will smell amazing).  Cool slightly.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Sandwich Cookie Bakery & Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Before I tell you about these wonderful little gems, let me digress.  I have this little dream of opening a bakery.  It’s a fantasy really, because in reality I know I will most likely not ever do it.  The realism side in me shines brightly during these visions of grandeur.  I see the long hours, the upfront costs and the early morning hours.  So, someone else with the will can go ahead of me and follow their dream.  However, if I did open a shop that I truly believe would succeed, it would be a Sandwich Cookie Bakery Shop. Cupcakes are so seven years ago, but cookies in sandwich form are going to be popping up.  I’m convinced of it.  If you stroll around the blogosphere, it’s all about the “whoopie pie,” which people loosely tie with what I deem as the coveted Sandwich Cookie.

If you’re in the mood for a cupcake without the all too often top heavy frosting, then make some of these sandwich cookies I’ve made over the past year.

Rhubarb Sandwich Cookies with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Homemade Graham Cracker Sandwiches

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Lemon Cookies with Coconut & Lemon Filling

Make Your Own Oreos

My Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies

Tomorrow is my birthday and I thought providing another cookie recipe would be a fantastic addition to your day, especially since I haven’t added any new recipes lately.  I baked for a woman’s tea this past week through Ben’s financial company, which was a nice break from motherhood and a time to have people ‘ooo’ & ‘aww’ over my food (so easy to win me over).  And since it was an afternoon tea, I knew a butter shortbread cookie would be great; but, a Lemon Lavender Butter Cookie would be perfect.  So now to the recipe.

Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookie (printable recipe)

This recipe has also been used to make the Orange Cardamom Cookies & Bursting with Delight Lime Cookies .  Both of those had an icing on top and these Lemon Lavender Cookies would be perfect with a honey glaze.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons culinary lavender
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Make dough:
Whisk together flour, lemon zest, lavender, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and cream. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Put the dough on parchment paper.

Mound the dough together and roll into a log. Once you get a basic log shape, position the dough in the middle of the parchment. Then, take the parchment that’s north of the dough and cover it over the dough. Take a bench scraper and push the edge of it at the base of the parchment covered dough, trying to make a concentric log. Roll the log so the parchment covers the whole thing and twist the edges. Refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight.

Cut and bake cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Remove firm dough. Unroll the parchment so the dough is still sitting on top of the paper. Place on a cutting board. Cut the dough into 1/8 inch. Transfer cookies to a parchment-lined large baking sheet, arranging them 1 inch apart.

Bake until edges are golden-brown, 12-15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then slide cookies, still on parchment, onto a rack to cool completely.


Lemon Poppy Seed Strawberry Shortcake

My little girl loves Strawberry Shortcake.  Well, the dessert, but mainly the cute character I grew to love at the same age.  I’m sure if her and I were the same age, we’d probably be friends as we share similar affinities.

Growing up we would regularly eat strawberry shortcakes in the summer.  My dad was (and is) the fruit king.  It wasn’t uncommon to find heaping amounts of peaches, nectarines, plums & cherries all at the same time in June & July, with a couple of trips to the market throughout the week.  It’s no surprise my younger brother at age three consumed two whole watermelons in one sitting at our church’s watermelon bust.  Frequently on a Sunday evening, my father would begin cutting up fruit for the BIG fruit salad as we sat around like seagulls awaiting our victory.

When it came time for strawberry shortcakes, I was designated strawberry huller.  I must say that I am a veteran strawberry huller.  I don’t mess around with the huller device, but a small paring knife, removing the stem & inner middle (not just chopping off the top–isn’t that a crime?).  Unfortunately, our idea of shortcakes was the spongy prepackaged cakes.  It’s interesting that I wasn’t completely fond of them as a kid.  However, when I would taste various versions of biscuit shortcakes in former years, they were either dry, or felt like gravy should be the topping.

I had put off the search for a while, then shortly after Ben & I got married I came across this recipe thinking that it might just be the summer to redeem the strawberry shortcake.  And folks, this is it.  The lemon poppy seed version was first made two weeks ago, while I normally stick to the original cream version.  They’re reminiscent of flaky, creamy English cream scones, except with more cream.  And this isn’t time to watch your figure, but completely indulge in summer goodness of sweet, seasonal strawberries, flaky cream shortcakes & billows of freshly whipped cream.  A perfect end to a fourth of July meal.  You could easily make the original version (directions below) or put a spin on it with the lemon & poppy seed.  Whatever you do–these should be on your menu this weekend (also try Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon Salad).  What are some of your fourth of July food memories?  Don’t forget to take part in the free giveaway!

Lemon-Poppy Seed Shortcakes (printable recipe)

This recipe is from Fine Cooking magazine.  You can easily make these shortcakes as plain, by omitting the poppy seeds & lemon juice, and using 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream instead.  Another option for the lemon poppy seed shortcakes is by using half strawberries & the other half blueberries.

Ingredients:

For Shortcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tb granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tb baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tb lemon zest
6 ounces (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tb poppy seeds
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

For Strawberries:
5 cups sliced strawberries
1 – 2 Tb granulated sugar

For Whipped Cream:
1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
2 Tb granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Shortcakes Directions:  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder & salt into a large bowl.  Add the lemon zest and toss throughout the mixture.  Cut the butter into the dry mixture with a pastry blender or two knives until the largest butter is the size of peas.  Add the poppy seeds and mix around lightly.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the cream.  Mix with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened and just combined; it should look shaggy and still feel a little dry.

Gently knead by hand five or six times to pick up any dry ingredients remaining in the bottom of the bowl and to create a loose ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into an 8-inch square, 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic to chill for 20 minutes.

While dough is chilling, Heat oven to 425.  Remove dough from fridge & cut (using a sharp chef’s knife or bench knife) and cut into 9 squares.  Space apart on parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Brush each shortcake with cream & sprinkle coarse sugar on top.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  When done, let cool at room temperature.

Strawberries:  While shortcakes are baking, slice strawberries and place in bowl, along with one tablespoon of sugar.  Mix together and allow to macerate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Whipped Cream:  In a chilled bowl of an electric mixer with a chilled whisk, add cold whipped cream.  Beat on high until it begins to thicken.  Add vanilla & sugar, then continue beating till billowy, soft peaks form.  **If you want lemon whipped cream, then add 2 Tb of lemon juice in place of vanilla.


When Life hands you lemons & lavender!

Go ahead and finish the cliche…make lemonade!  That’s right, nothing original, but we don’t always have to be original.  And most likely, hardly anything is truly original anyway, but doesn’t mean it’s not good.  My friend Lindsey mentioned that I needed to get on the bandwagon and create a Lavender Lemonade.  Not only that, but have a Spring kickoff of food you should be making in the kitchen this time of year.

I have been reading a book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which has inspired me even more to be a seasonal eater & cook.  It’s about her family’s year long adventure of eating only food grown locally (which would also be in season).  Now, I don’t think I would ever be able to do that, but she makes some good points with the main two being how much fossil fuel is used to transport food that you wouldn’t be able to find locally.  The other point is how much better the food actually tastes (along with health benefits) when you get it farm direct.  I would wholeheartedly agree as Ben and I were talking about the vegetables he actually likes.

His thing is he will eat vegetables because he knows they’re essential, but he doesn’t necessarily like many of them.  However, when I prodded a bit more, we came to find out that a majority of veggies he dislikes are actually eaten out of season.  Now, all that to say and lemons are definitely not a seasonal, nor local thing here in Bellingham (hence why I couldn’t abide by a 100% locally grown philosophy–plus what about coffee?).  Lavender does grow abundantly in the Pacific Northwest.  However, it’s more of a summer thing.  Okay so none of the ingredients, except water, is in season or local at this point in time.  But…I had lavender in my cupboard from a local Lavender farm, so I feel justified.

Lavender Simple Syrup

I liked this lemonade quite a bit.  It had a subtle lavender aroma & taste.  I used unrefined sugar, which in making a simple syrup you never get that clear syrup.  So other than visual appeal, the unrefined did just fine and the lavender lemonade hit the spot on a lovely Spring afternoon.

Lavender Lemonade (printable recipe)

If you want a clear simple syrup, then use white granulated sugar.  The simple syrup makes more than what the recipe calls for, but just put it in your fridge to make more later.  It will keep in your fridge for 2 weeks.

Simple Syrup

1 cup unrefined granulated sugar

1 cup culinary lavender

1 cup water

Lemonade Ingredients

12 Tb lavender simple syrup

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemons

2 1/2 cups cold water

In a mortar, gently crush about 1/3 cup of lavender.  In a small pan over medium heat, combine sugar, lavender & water.  Stirring to combine and until the sugar crystals disappear.  Don’t stir and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat.

With a sieve over a measuring cup, pour lavender simple syrup through to separate the syrup from the lavender.  Set aside.  Squeeze your lemons (I had 3) to make 3/4 cup and pour into a pitcher.  Add 10 Tb of lavender simple syrup, along with 2 cups of cold water.  Taste to see if you need more water or syrup.  I used 1/2 cup more & 2 more Tb of the syrup.

Serve by putting some ice in the pitcher & sprinkle with lavender.  Sit outside and breathe in Spring.


Lemons for Lindsey

Coconut Cream Cheese Filling

My good friend Lindsey’s birthday was last weekend and I know my practical gifts of love made in my kitchen are always a sure hit with people, especially Lindsey who never hesitates to sing my culinary praises.  In fact, if I’m feeling a bit blue, I can ask Lindsey what she liked about my latest creation & by the end—I’m encouraged.  Ya know, sometimes it doesn’t take much.

When I asked Lindsey what her favorite type of flavors or desserts were she said, “Lemon, not pie or cake–not so much!”  Well, I understood what she was talking about.  Because I really like lemon desserts, but lemon meringue & a lemon cake (or should I say lemon filling) doesn’t sit well with me.  I do like lemon curd though & lemon tart; however, the meringue atop a lemon pie is so sad most of the time.  And the lemon filling in cakes is typically poorly done.  I knew what she needed was lemon sandwich cookies, but all the recipes you would come across for lemon sandwiches are the rolled out kind and this tired mama wasn’t feelin’ it after putting my girls down for bed & cleaning up the chaotic remains.

So after perusing my cookbooks I came across this Vanilla Sugar Cookie and knew it could easily be adapted to suit that lemon hankering I was seeking.  I thought I would make two different kinds of frosting to spice things up a bit.  And since I wasn’t about to go and buy more cream cheese than what my fridge was holding, I did what any inventive baker would do–split it in half & say a blessing to see if the frosting would multiply like the loaves & fish.  Some had lemon & some had coconut filling.  And I would say both hit a great spot with just the right amount of lemon in the cookie.  Ben even said, “These are pretty good for a lemon cookie, because I don’t like lemon cookies.”  And he ate more than one.

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

Lemon Sandwich Cookies with Coconut & Lemon Filling (printable recipe)

I was inspired by the Vanilla Sugar Cookie in The Good Cookie Cookbook.  I wanted to make a lemon cookie and used two different fillings.  One is a lemon filling, while the other is coconut filling.  You choose what you like best..or do both!

Cookie Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
zest from one lemon (about 2 Tb)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ tsp lemon essence
squeezed juice of one half lemon
Coarse sugar (turbinado) for sprinkling

Coconut Filling Ingredients & Lemon Filling Ingredients

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup sweetened coconut
½ to 1 tsp lemon essence

Directions for cookies: Preheat the oven to 375.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silipat.

Put the granulated sugar into a bowl and add the lemon zest to the sugar.  Using your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar, in order to get as much of the oil out of the zest as possible.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, & salt and set aside.

In a mixer bowl, add the butter and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute.  Add powdered sugar & the lemon zest sugar to the butter, beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, till the mixture is light & fluffy.  Turn off the mixer and add one egg at a time, briefly beating at low speed just until the egg is combined.  Add lemon essence & lemon juice and mix for about 10 seconds.  With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients until it’s all combined.

Put about ½ cup of coarse sugar in a bowl, then take the other half of the lemon and do one light squeeze onto the sugar.  It will get the sugar a bit wet, but not drenching it.  Have your hands lightly wet, put one tablespoon of dough in your hand and roll it to make a ball.  Continue doing this placing the rolled dough 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheet.  Either roll the balls around in the lemon turbinado sugar or sprinkle the lemon turbinado sugar on top.  Lightly press down on each ball, so you’re making them into a circle (not too much & not too little either).  Bake for 9-11 minutes.

Put on a cooling rack and let them cool for about 5 minutes.  Remove and put on aluminum paper.  Meanwhile, make the frosting.

Directions for Frosting: Beat the butter in your stand mixer on medium speed for 1 minute.  It should be light & fluffy.  Now add the cream cheese in halved pieces and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, still on medium speed.  Turn mixer down to low and slowly add powdered sugar.  Once the powdered sugar has been fully incorporated, then turn up the speed to medium and beat for an additional 30 seconds.

Get out a medium bowl and scoop out 1/3 of the frosting.  Add ½ tsp of lemon essence to the bowl and mix thoroughly.  Set aside and there is your lemon frosting.

Add the 1 cup sweetened coconut & 1 tsp coconut extract, mix thoroughly and there is your coconut frosting.

Assembling:
You might have assorted sizes, so match up the ones most similar and begin frosting by putting about 1 tablespoon of frosting on each cookie smoothing it out and put another cookie on top.  Then eat one or two to sample, so you can attest to their goodness to your family & friends.


Twist on Tuna Fish Salad

During my dating years with Ben, I at a meager 19 years of age & at times a bit emotionally verbose.  Well, that’s the nice way of putting it…I should say, more like you’re average, ‘head in the clouds, idealist romantic teenage girl, somewhat resembling Kelly Kapoor at my low points.’

Now, as I envisioned our relationship in my daydreamer television, a surprise homemade lunch would knock it out of the park.  So, as I was working full time gaining Washington residence, while Ben went to school full time, I would typically visit him on a day off.  And this day off entailed me making him a surprise lunch.  I had just made homemade potato salad, which would accompany a tuna fish sandwich on an ethereal sunny Spring Bellingham day.

I was so proud of my domesticity and resourcefulness of using what was in my kitchen, and Ben was sure to LOVE it.  It was an act of service & love…what was not to love about it.  I caught the bus to campus and met him at the campus’ main bus shelter, where we walked to a little nook overlooking the bay.  We sat down, me beaming to hear words of praise & exultation and begging for seconds.

As I pulled out the sandwiches & potato salad (I’m sure there was something else in there, but what ensued was a bit traumatic for me), I announced what lay wrapped in the wax paper & rubbermaid container to receive a reaction quite contrary to what I envisioned.  Rather than being lifted upon his shoulders singing, “For she’s a jolly good lady…,” he gave a look.  Yes, a look.  The look an infatuated, emotionally volatile 19 year old NEVER wants to see from her boyfriend (God bless him for enduring).  The kind of look that has detest written all over it…the crinkled nose, the squinched eyes & turned up brows & mouth, but with a hint of empathy mixed through it all. (I’m sure there was more empathy, but it got clouded)

Ben said, “Umm, I don’t like tuna fish.”

Me stunningly replied, “Oh.  Well, I made homemade potato salad!”  Hoping that that would cover a multitude, but he replied… with another look.  “What!” I said.  He simply had the look as if hoping I could read his mind, which I could, but at this point, I wanted him to tell me.  Then, I called him on it (with a deep breath), “you don’t like potato salad either?!”

“No, not really,” he replied.

What ensued was not one of my proudest moments.  Tears began to teeter, but eventually fell with force down my face and I believe I mumbled out something to the effect, “if you love me you would eat it!”  Ben, in his righteousness, ate the sandwich that day, along with the potato salad.  He did it without grumbling (for the most part) and satisfied my personal insecurity as a young lady.

I learned two things that day.  Not any man would be willing to put up with such emotional displays, unless he himself was infatuated or if he could see something a diamond needing more polishing.  And two, never, never will I insist that his love is dependent on what I make (well almost never:) ).  But one things for sure, when tuna or albacore is bought in this household I know I could put our whole life savings on him not eating one bit.  And in honor of love without reason comes a tuna fish salad for these dreary winter months when you need to be reminded of sunshine spilling on you.

Mise en Place

Albacore Salad (printable recipe)

I had a similar tuna fish salad sandwich while pregnant with my youngest and it forever changed my concept of how it’s made.  This is very forgiving, so use more olives if you like, or less artichokes, or whatever.  All of these naturally pair well together.  And you can serve it on top of a bed of lettuce or as a sandwich.

Ingredients:

1-can water packed albacore, drained

zest of one lemon

juice of half lemon

1/4 of red onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons capers

1 tablespoon green olives, roughly chopped

4 artichoke whole canned artichoke hearts, sliced in quarters (I use water packed)

3 tablespoons mayo, I use light

1-2 teaspoons kosher salt

generous grinds of the pepper mill, or 1/2 teaspoon already ground pepper

Quarter your artichokes, dice your onion, chop your olives, zest lemon and set aside.  Put drained tuna or albacore into a bowl.  Add all of prepared ingredients, along with juice of half lemon, salt, pepper, & mayo.  Mix together and serve it up, but not to someone who doesn’t like tuna fish from a can.


Some Redemptive Love & Sour Lemon Scones

While I was doing an internship with a college ministry called UCM a couple years back, I went with my fellow interns to the house of Dr. James Houston.  He is the founder of Regent College and is from the UK.  He is a wealth of knowledge, wisdom & insight.  He is full of grace, hospitality and a breath of fresh air.

The UCM director would take the interns every year to Dr. Houston’s house to simply glean from his years of living with God.  We were welcomed into his home with scones, breads, jam & tea.  His wife Rita (who is Scottish, so don’t happen to ask her if she’s from England, because she’ll definitely put in her two cents on the subject) busily made the lunch while we were in the living room listening & asking questions.

Now, when one becomes an intern it isn’t uncommon to know of the specialness of visiting the Houston home.  I can recall former interns stories of Dr. Houston speaking prophetic words into their lives and of Rita’s wit & hospitality.  You expected that he would speak a special word to you personally and walk away holding a gem.  You also knew that Rita would shower you with hospitality.  Both of which made me very excited to be apart of this day.  However, our intern day was a bit different.  In fact, it was so different that he didn’t really speak a prophetic word to anyone, except me.

He spoke of a myriad of things from Romanticism to the Psalter to real spirituality.  There was a key moment in the morning while he was talking about our ministries failing when we peg them as our own.  And as he was talking I asked him a question.  You know, I don’t remember what question I asked him or even remember completely what he was talking about.  I do remember that I was genuinely seeking an answer to this question.  I remember wrestling with the idea of ministry and church and how that all looked.  Through my questions & his answers two things happened.

One was this deep penetration of his eyes locked on mine.  It was probably one of the most powerful moments I’ve experienced.  He knew I was struggling and wrestling, so as he answered me…it was as though everyone else in his living room disappeared and I was the only one he was tending.  He was showing me hospitality at that moment.  He was unveiling a glimpse of what it meant to be present to not only your guest, but the person made in Christ’s likeness sitting before him.  I felt completely loved and cared for by his attentiveness to me and my earnest heart.

Second, was what came from our question & answer.  I believe he asked me what I did with UCM, which I replied that I oversaw Evangitality, which is the hospitality ministry and expanded a bit about what we did and my vision for the students (meaning opening up ourselves & our stuff to anyone we encounter, in order that they would know they are a valued person of the Most High; as well as, giving them a hope).

He then had this, “AHHH” sort of expression and said something to the effect, “Well, you must have come from a home that was immersed in love, parents married…” Of course, my answer was,”No, actually it wasn’t, my parents are divorced and it was hectic at times.”  Then, he said, “Oh (pause), well then, (with a look of reassurance) it’s a re-DEM-ptive love, isn’t it!  It’s like Samson reaching his hand into the carcass of the lion pulling out sweet honey.” With that he left his eyes locked on mine as to give me a sense of my worth and out of a horrible beast of a past, God can still redeem it for sweet, nourishing ending.

That day I walked away feeling nourished by his hospitality, because although his wife was busily making the meal and too many times in our world (Christian and non) we associate the food with hospitality.  But the problem with that is I was not so much nourished by the food, grateful yes, but by the care, counsel and genuine love I was shown by Dr. Houston.  I saw a glimpse of God that day, through his act of loving this downtrodden 26 year old.  He spoke God’s words upon me, “You’re my redeemed!”  What a beautiful, glorious jewel to behold.  So as I try to intertwine food with lovingkindness, (which is hospitality to the nth power) here are some delicious scones to share with a friend or a stranger as you give them a glimpse of God’s heart for them.

Sour Lemon Scones (printable recipe)

Adapted from Baked.  I have made some minor changes, as I’m always experimenting to see if I can add whole wheat flour.  And I must say that everyone at playgroup said these were great.  As my friend Biz said, “they were better than bakery-awesome!”  The whole wheat pastry flour makes a softer crumb, so these scones are not as biscuity in texture, but still very good.

Ingredients:

4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup rapadura sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cubed & cold

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup grated lemon zest (from about 3 lemons)

1 teaspoon lemon extract (use the kind that is the real lemon essence, not artificial)

2 Tablespoons raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger.  Whisk until combined.  Add the butter.  **The recipe says: “Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the butter is pea-sized.” However, I use my kitchen aid and mix to the same consistency and see no problem.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, 3/4 cup of the buttermilk, and the lemon zest.  Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and then gently knead the dough with your hands until the dough starts to come together.  Move the dough to a lightly floured surface.  Use your hands to shape the dough into two discs (about 1 1/2 inches in height).  Do not overwork the dough.

Put the discs on the parchment lined pan.  Make a 1/8 inch indentation to make 6 wedges, but do not cut all the way through. Brush each scone with the remaining buttermilk and sprinkle with raw sugar.  Bake in the center of the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes (rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time) or until the scones are golden brown.

Transfer the scones to a cooling rack; they can be served slightly warm or completely cooled. Optional top with glaze below.

Scones can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Lemon Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

squeeze juice from half to 3/4 of a fresh lemon

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.  You should come out with a not too thick and not too thin glaze that will be great for putting on top of your cooled (or slightly warmed scones, if you’re like me and trying to hurry out the door to playgroup).

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