Almond Flour Brownies (Gluten-Free)

I’ve been having some unusually good brownie karma lately.  After making an especially delicious batch of candied bacon brownies, I was emboldened to bake a batch of gluten-free brownies using almond flour.  In a word, these brownies are perfect.  They have a crispy, shiny top crust and an uber fudgey center.  The almond flour adds a “je ne sais quoi” overall richness to the chocolately flavor while keeping everything moist and tender.  If you don’t have almond flour in your pantry, it’s worth buying just to make this recipe.

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Almond Flour Brownies

Makes 16 brownies
(from King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients

5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups (2 1/4 ounces) cocoa powder, Dutch-process or natural
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (5 1/8 ounces) almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease or line with parchment an 8″ square pan that’s at least 2″ deep.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and eggs.
  4. In a medium size bowl, stir together the almond flour, cocoa, and baking powder.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well mixed.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges.
  7. Bake the brownies for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few damp crumbs.  Do not overbake, or the brownies will be dry.
  8. Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool for about 15 minutes before cutting.

Note: Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for several days or freeze for longer storage.

Candied Bacon Brownies

THIS is how you make brownies epic-ly delicious – swirl candied bacon throughout the brownie batter and sprinkle even more candied bacon on top.  The result is a fudgey, chewy, rich brownie with a smoky, salty kick.  Never have pork and chocolate tasted so good together.

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Candied Bacon Brownies

Makes one 9×13″ pan of brownies
(from King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients

Candied Bacon

12 ounces thick cut, uncooked bacon
light brown sugar, to coat

Brownies

1 cup Dutch-process cocoa
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon espresso powder, optional; for enhanced chocolate flavor
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a 9×13″ pan with aluminum foil and grease lightly, or line with parchment paper (I prefer to line with parchment paper because it’s less mess to clean up, and it’s easy to lift the brownies out of the pan).

Candied Bacon

  1. Spread the bacon in a single layer on a wire racked placed over a large, rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Coat the strips of bacon with a heavy sprinkling of brown sugar.
  3. Bake the bacon until it’s crisp but not totally browned (about 20 to 25 minutes).
  4. Remove the candied bacon from the oven, and place it on a plate or parchment to cool. Do not cool the bacon on paper towels as it will stick. When the bacon is cool, crumble or chop it coarsely.

Brownies

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugars, salt, flour, and espresso powder.
  2. Add the eggs, oil, and water, mixing just until smooth.
  3. Stir half of the chopped candied bacon into the brownie batter.
  4. Spoon the brownie batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining candied bacon on top of the brownie batter.
  6. Bake the brownies for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, with a few wet crumbs clinging to it.

Note: Brownies should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than 4-5 days.

Caramel Candy Bars

I’ve reached the point in my baking repertoire where a shortbread cookie layer topped with caramel and finished off with a rich layer of chocolate has become a bit mundane.  It’s delicious, but where’s the fun in so much predictability?  These Caramel Candy Bars provide a refreshing deviation from the norm with the addition of all things almond, including almond extract,  almond flour, and chopped almonds.  In a further unexpected twist, half of the shortbread dough is sprinkled on top of the caramel to create a streusel layer that is then topped off by a generous layer of chocolate and toasted almonds.  While these Caramel Candy Bars require a bit of time and work, the results are anything but ordinary.
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Caramel Candy Bars

Makes one 9×13 inch pan
(from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion: The Essential Cookie Cookbook)

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup (5 1/2 ounces) brown sugar
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar (also known as powdered sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
2 3/4 cups (11 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1 cup (3 1/4 ounces) toasted almond flour or finely ground toasted almonds

Filling

2 cups (16 ounces) firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (11 ounces) light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick; 4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup (8 ounces) cream (light, heavy, or whipping) or evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting

1 cup (6 ounces) chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips
3 tablespoons (2 ounces) light corn syrup
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) chopped toasted almonds

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan and line the pan with lightly greased aluminum foil.

Crust

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and confectioners’ sugar until well combined.
  2. Beat in the egg, and scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the vanilla and almond extract, and mix until well blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together the four, salt, baking powder, and almond flour until well combined.
  5. Stir the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until well combined.
  6. Divide the dough in half.  Press half the mixture into the prepared pan.  Save the remaining half to use as the streusel topping (Press the dough into a log, and freeze it while making the caramel.)
  7. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, until it’s lightly browned around the edges.  Remove it from the oven, and cool slightly while making the filling.

Filling

  1. In a large (3 1/2 to 4-quart) heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the brown sugar and corn syrup.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes without stirring, to wash any sugar crystals off the  insides of the pan.
  2. Uncover the pan, stir in the butter, and continue to boil, stirring often, until the caramel reaches the soft ball stage, 234°F on a candy thermometer.
  3. While the syrup is boiling, gently heat the cream in the microwave or over low heat on the stovetop until it’s hot but not boiling.
  4. Remove the syrup from the heat, and slowly stir in the hot cream.  Be careful as the mixture will bubble up.
  5. Return to the heat and cook until the mixture reaches firm-ball stage, 245°F to 248°F.
  6.  Stir in the vanilla.
  7. Pour the caramel over the baked crust.  Let the filling cool for a few minutes.
  8. Remove the dough log from the freezer and use a coarse grater to grate the crumbs over the top of the hot caramel, or use your hands to crumble the reserved crust mixture over the hot caramel.
  9. Bake the bars for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Remove the bars from the oven and cool them on a rack.

Frosting

  1. In a saucepan set over medium heat, or in the microwave, stir together the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter, until melted.
  2. Spread the frosting over the cooled bars.
  3. Sprinkle the almonds over the warm chocolate, and let the bars rest until the chocolate firms up, several hours or overnight.  You can refrigerate the bars to speed up the firming process.
  4. If you’ve refrigerated the bars, let the bars come to room temperature before cutting into 1 x 2-inch bars (if you cut the bars right out of the oven, they may be difficult to cut and break off unevenly).

Beer & Pretzels Caramels

I’ve made so many variations of caramels that it’s about time that I experiment with beer caramels.  Typically, the smell and flavor of beer is a bit too strong for my taste, so I started out conservatively by using a pale ale with a somewhat intimidating name and label (New Belgium Voodoo Ranger) but seemingly less aggressive flavors of citrus and tropical fruit from eight hops and low bitterness.  The end result was a caramel with a hint of citrus and fruitiness and a slight dryness in taste.  You can definitely taste the beer, especially at the end, but the caramel flavor still shines through.  I layered mini pretzels on top since I’ve been told that pretzels go well with beer, and they provide a good textural contrast and a bit of saltiness.

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Beer & Pretzels Caramels

Makes 80 pieces of caramel (depending on size.  I like to cut them small as these are packed with flavor)
(from Craftbeer.com)

Ingredients

2 cups brown sugar
2 sticks butter
1 cup corn syrup
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12 oz. bottle of your favorite beer (pale ales work well)
Sea salt
Pretzels (I used mini pretzels)

Directions

  1. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan with high sides, melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat until well combined.
  3. Slowly add beer and corn syrup, and stir well.
  4. Add the sweetened condensed milk, and keep stirring constantly.  Be careful as the mixture will bubble up quite a bit.
  5. Cook caramels to 244-246°F.  This can take up to 20-30 minutes.  Do not stop stirring once the sweetened condensed milk is added or the caramel will burn.
  6. Once the caramel reaches you reach 244-246°F, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  7. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan.
  8. Sprinkle a light layer of sea salt on top of hot caramels.  Use less sea salt if you’re also including salted pretzels.
  9. Lay the pretzels on top of the warm caramel.
  10. Let the caramel set until firm enough to cut.  I used the refrigerator to help speed up the cooling process.

Homemade Oreos

The grocery store cookie aisle is no longer the only place where you can find delicious Oreos, because this recipe for Homemade Oreos is one of those rare instances when a knockoff is a surprising improvement over the real thing.  These “Faux-re-os” taste just like Oreos, with a creamy vanilla filling sandwiched between two intensely dark, chocolately cookies.  The homemade version has a slightly softer texture and a more condensed, rich flavor. But just like store-bought Oreos, these cookies will transport you into a cookie eating twilight zone where you start off with eating one, and suddenly a whole row of them have disappeared.

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Homemade Oreos

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on the size
(from Cookies for Kids’ Cancer – All the Good Cookies)

Ingredients

Cookies

1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Black Cocoa but the orginal recipe also recommends Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Filling

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg, and mix well.
  5. Add the egg yolk, and mix well.  Scrape down the sides as needed.
  6. Add the vanilla, and mix well.
  7. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and baking powder until well mixed.
  8. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the egg-sugar mixture, and beat until well combined.
  9. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.
  10. Using a level small (2-teaspoon size) cookie scoop, drop the dough about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  11. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough.
  12. Transfer to the oven, and bake until the edges begin to firm up, about 9 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets on the oven racks halfway through the baking time.
  13. Cool the cookies on the cookie sheets for 3 minutes.
  14. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool completely.
  15. Repeat with the remaining dough on cool cookie sheets.

Filling

  1. Place the butter and shortening in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk and beat until creamy.
  2. On low speed, add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and beat until combined.
  3. Increase the spped of the mixer to high and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Assembling the Cookies

  1. Spread a scant teaspoonful of filling onto the bottom of half of a cookie, and top with another cookie.
  2. Gently squeeze the cookies together so the filling spreads to the edge.

Note: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen up for to 3 months.

Mini Almond Cakes with Chocolate Ganache (Gluten-Free)

Gluten-free sweets lovers rejoice!  These Mini Almond Cakes with Chocolate Ganache are perfect in so many ways.  The cake is light, tender, and spongey with just a hit of almond flavor while the chocolate ganache is rich and creamy.  Plus, these cakes are barely palm-sized, so they’re easy to share, which is a good thing because these cakes are best eaten warm or within eight hours of baking.
A few things to know before you bake these:

  • Allow enough time to chill your ganache (30-60 minutes in addition to prep and baking time)
  • Finely chop your chocolate so that it will melt smoothly into the heated cream
  • Don’t overdo it on adding almond extract as the flavor can be quite strong
  • It really cuts down on prep time to use both a food processor and a mixer
  • Whipping egg whites is the key to the spongey, light cake texture so make sure to follow through on this
  • Don’t overbake the cakes on the first round of baking as it will be more difficult to insert the chocolate ganache balls for the second round of baking

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Mini Almond Cakes with Chocolate Ganache (Gluten-Free)

Makes 12 cupcakes
(from New York Times Cooking)

Ingredients

Ganache

⅓ cup (80 milliliters) heavy cream
3 ounces (85 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Almond Cake

6 tablespoons (85 grams) melted unsalted butter, cooled, plus more for muffin tin
¾ cup (85 grams) almond flour or meal
¾ cup (94 grams) confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
Few drops almond extract (optional)
3 tablespoons (24 grams) cornstarch
1 ¼ teaspoons (4 grams) baking powder
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar

Directions

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Put the cream in a glass measuring cup (a 1-cup size works well), and heat it in the microwave (approximately 45-60 seconds) until it’s bubbling (or you can heat the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan).
  2. Add the chocolate to the heated cream, and let it sit for 1 minute.  Then stir the chocolate and cream together until smooth.
  3. Transfer the chocolate ganache to a small container (preferably metal) and freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  4. Scoop the chocolate ganache (a small cookie scoop works well for this), and roll into twelve 3/4-inch balls. Since the ganache is very soft and can be messy to handle, you don’t need to create perfectly round balls.  Place the ganache balls in the refrigerator until needed.  Ganache balls can be prepared up to 1 week ahead.

Almond Cake

  1. Heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Butter a muffin tin or line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. Using a food processor or blender, mix the almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until powdery, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the two eggs and almond extract, and process until smooth, 30 seconds longer.
  5. Pulse in the butter, cornstarch, and baking powder.
  6. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl, and set aside.
  7. Using an electric mixer, whip the two egg whites until very foamy.
  8. Gradually add granulated sugar while beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  9. Using a spatula, gently and carefully fold a third of the egg whites into the almond mixture to lighten it. Then, fold in the rest of the egg whites just until no streaks remain.
  10. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tin, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
  11. Remove the ganache balls from refrigerator, and place one ball in the center of each cake, pushing it down halfway into batter.
  12. Return the cakes to the oven, and bake until light brown and a toothpick inserted into cake (and not the chocolate) comes out clean, another 8 to 10 minutes.
  13. Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably within 8 hours of baking.

Flourless Fudge Cookies

Typically I don’t have much interest in baking gluten-free sweets.  But recently I reached a threshold number of friends who are gluten sensitive/intolerant, and thus have made a more concerted effort to provide a few gluten-free baked goods options.  These Flourless Fudge Cookies will make any chocolate lover swoon.  When you don’t have flour to work with, you pack a cookie with flavor-rich ingredients like cocoa powder (use a good quality cocoa powder like from Penzey’s) and espresso powder.  This light-as-air cookie has a delicate crispy top and a delightfully chewy center, all while packing an intense chocolate punch.

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Flourless Fudge Cookies

Makes 16 large or 32 small cookies
(from King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 cup (3 ounces) cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-process cocoa
3 large (3 3/4 ounces) egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (8-12 ounces) chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and/or chopped dried fruit, optional (I don’t use add ins as the cookies are pretty delicate and thin, and I don’t want them weighed down)

Directions

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and grease the parchment.  These cookies will stick, so greasing the parchment is a must.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, salt, espresso powder, and cocoa powder.
  4. Pour the egg-vanilla mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir together to mix well.  Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and stir until the batter is smooth.  The batter should be the consistency of thick syrup.  It will not look like your typical cookie dough, but do not be alarmed.
  5. Add the chips, nuts, etc. if using.  I prefer not to add these in as the cookies are delicate.
  6. Drop the batter onto the baking sheets in 3″ (for large cookies) or 1 3/4″ to 2″ (for smaller cookies) rounds.  I like using a cookie scoop for this as it gets messy because the dough is so liquidy.  Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350°F.  Don’t skip the dough resting step as it allows the cookies to bake more evenly.
  7. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes (for small cookies) or 8-9 minutes (for larger cookies).  The cookies will spread slightly while baking, and become somewhat shiny, and develop faintly crackly tops.
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool on the pan.  When they’re nearly cool, loosen them from the pan with a spatula.

Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake

This Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake is especially dedicated to my friends who like a little booze in their baked goods.  I baked this cake a few months ago in December, and it tastes and smells just like the holiday season with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and is extra moist and tender from the apples.  The bourbon glaze adds an adult kick to an otherwise wholesome cake.

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Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake

Makes one bundt cake
(from NY Times Cooking)
My notes are in [   ] below.

Ingredients

Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter (226 grams) at room temperature, plus more to grease pan
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (315 grams) plus more to dust the pan
3 tablespoons (30 grams)
½ cup (90 grams) candied ginger, chopped
1 ¾ cup (330 grams) light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons (3 grams) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5 grams) fine sea salt
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup (227 grams) sour cream
1 tablespoon (15 grams) vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon (5 grams) finely grated lemon zest
2 medium Granny Smith apples about a pound (454 grams) peeled, cored, and coarsely grated
1 cup (120 grams) finely chopped, toasted pecans

Bourbon Syrup

1/2 cup (80 grams) bourbon or rye whiskey [use a good quality bourbon]
½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon (20 grams)

Directions

Cake

  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. [Make sure to thoroughly prepare the pan as this cake can be a little delicate and stick to the pan after baking.]
  3. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons bourbon and the candied ginger. Let stand 10 minutes.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar and the 2 sticks of butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
  7. In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream and vanilla.
  8. Pour in the bourbon from the ginger mixture (reserve ginger) into the sour cream and vanilla mixture, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the lemon zest.
  9. With the mixer on medium speed, add the dry mixture and sour cream mixture to the wet mixture in three additions, alternating between the two.
  10. Fold in the ginger, apples, and pecans.
  11. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry, about 1 hour 10 minutes.
  12. Cool in the pan 20 minutes, then run a paring knife around the sides of the pan to release the cake; cool, flat side down, on a wire rack.

Bourbon Syrup

  1. While the cake cools, combine the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup bourbon in a small saucepan. Over low heat, gently stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice and take off the heat.
  2. While the cake cools, make 10 slits on top with a paring knife and pour half the bourbon-sugar mixture on the still-warm cake. When the cake is fully cool, flip it and pour the rest of the glaze on the other side, then flip again to serve. [I only used half of the glaze as I found the alcohol flavor a bit overwhelming, but that’s expected as I don’t drink alcohol.]

Lemon Curd (Ina Garten’s version)

Of the many versions of lemon curd that I’ve made, Ina Garten’s seems to be the easiest and most foolproof to make.  Typically making lemon curd requires some slightly fussy steps like separating the egg yolks from the whites, but this version uses the whole egg.  This version also does not require straining the curd through a sieve to remove any egg white residue.  The only change I would make is to reduce the sugar by 1/8 to 1/4 cup as the curd is quite sweet.  I like to pair my lemon curd with a crisp, thin gingersnap, but I’ve heard of people who eat it straight from the spoon (I’m not naming any names).

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Lemon Curd (Ina Garten’s version)

From Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
My notes are in [  ] below.

Ingredients

3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar [This lemon curd is quite sweet, so next time I’ll reduce the sugar to  1 1/4 cups]
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs [I happened to have extra-large eggs on hand which doesn’t occur very often.  I’m not sure what the equivalent would be if you use large eggs.]
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  1. Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. [I used a microplate lemon zester to zest the lemons instead of using the carrot peeler.]. 
  2. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
  3. Cream the butter [I did this using a stand mixer].
  4. Beat in the sugar and lemon mixture.
  5. Add the eggs, 1 at a time and mix well.
  6. Add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
  7. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes) [it took about 15 minutes until my curd thickened, and I had to adjust the heat to low-medium], stirring constantly [stirring constantly is important because it keeps the egg from turning into scrambled eggs]. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer.
  8. Remove from the heat and cool.  Store in the refrigerator.

Citrus Butter Cake

My little citrus tree is a few years away from producing a solid crop, but luckily I have fantastic neighbors who keep me stocked with lemons from their backyard tree.  This flavorful lemon and orange pound cake has a dense and tender texture, and the glaze creates the most crave worthy, chewy, slightly caramelized top .  Since I had lemons to spare, I also made some lemon curd and slathered it on top of a slice of toasted citrus butter cake for an extra decadent breakfast.
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Citrus Butter Loaf Cake

(from Johnny Iuzzini’s Sugar Rush: Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking)
Makes one 41⁄2 × 81⁄2-inch loaf cake (or one 9-inch round cake); serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

Cake

1⁄2 pound (2 sticks; 226 g) cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the pan
2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 1⁄2 cups (300 g) sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Grated zest of 1 orange
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons (45 g) buttermilk, at room temperature (I rarely have fresh buttermilk on hand so I use dried buttermilk powder)
3 tablespoons (45 g) fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons (45 g) fresh orange juice
1 1⁄2 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (4 g) kosher salt

Glaze

2 tablespoons buttermilk (30 g)
1 tablespoon honey (20 g)

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Butter and flour a 41⁄2 × 81⁄2-inch loaf pan.  Using this combination of butter and flour ensures that the sides will brown nicely.
  3. Stir together (by hand) the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer until the butter is coated.
  4. Attach the bowl to the mixer and using the paddle, beat the butter-sugar mixture on medium speed until it is well combined, and no lumps of butter remain, 5 minutes.
  5. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions.
  6. In a separate bowl, stir together the buttermilk, lemon juice, and orange juice.
  7. In another bowl, sift together the 2 cups (250 g) flour and the baking powder in a bowl.  Sprinkle the salt over the top.
  8. With the mixer on low speed, alternate between adding the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 additions (begin and end with the dry ingredients).
  9. Scrape down the bowl several times, and mix the batter just until smooth.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula.  On the middle rack of the oven, bake for 15 minutes (this step helps ensure a browned top).  (For a 9-inch cake, bake at 375°F for 40 minutes, brush the top of the cake with the glaze, and then bake for an additional 5 minutes.)
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F, and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is golden brown, and a tester inserted into the thickest part comes out clean.  Make sure not to underbake the cake, otherwise it will get even mushier as it cools.  Rotate the pan halfway through to ensure even baking. Leave the oven on (as you’ll need to bake an additional few minutes after adding the glaze).

Glaze

This glaze is absolutely delicious and creates a great texture for the top of the cake, so don’t skip this step.

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and honey until well combined.
  2. When the cake is done, brush the glaze evenly over the surface. Put the cake back into the oven, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the cake from the oven, and let it cool completely in the pan on a rack before turning it out of the pan.  Slice and serve.