Baby Shower Dessert Party

March 20, 2011

Recently, I hosted a dessert theme baby shower for a friend and co-worker. After a lot of discussions on theme and menu, we agreed on having a dessert and drink shower for a small group of her co-workers. There were only two desserts that she requested: carrot cake or cupcakes and lemon bars; and  I was basically left to go with the rest of the menu. I wanted to take more pictures of the party; but really ran out of time but here are a few pictures of the desserts I made. I thought that this was really a fun idea for a baby shower.

In addition to the desserts I listed below, her family made dessert crostini with ricotta spread, sliced strawberries and balsamic vinegar glaze and baked brie with apricot jelly, sugar cookies and Italian fried cookies (I have no recipes for those).  For drinks, we had coffee, iced tea, cold soft drinks, and bottled water.

Here are the desserts I made:

Carrot Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting with Royal Icing Yellow and Purple Pansies


Chocolate Truffles

S’mores Pops (recipe coming up soon, I promise–these were divine!)

Lemon Bars (No pictures)

Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipster (No pictures)

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies (No pictures)

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Lemon Bars

January 6, 2011

After all of the cookies with chocolate, butterscotch, toffee, and caramel goodness that I enjoyed during the holiday, I thought I would give my palette something bright and even spring-like… like these lemon bars. Yes, it is still freezing outside; but trust me… a bite of this lemony bar with smooth and delicate curd with buttery shortbread crust will transport you into spring. I followed the recipe exactly and made no substitutions; and they were perfect. I baked the crust for 19 minutes total, just until the edges were lightly browned. As far as the custard, I did a gentle shake test to ensure that it was set, and it looked done at 30 minutes.

The only issue that I had was that when I cut them into squares, the skin that formed on top of the custard broke and made a rather messy cut. I decided to refrigerate the entire pan for a few hours and went back to cut them into triangles, and they cut a lot better. Next time, I’d have to remember to do this. But there was nothing else that I would have done differently.  They were lemony; with a little bit of tartness, and just enough sweetness.

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties

Ingredients
Crust
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Filling
6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixeron low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar

Yield: 40 triangles, or 20 squares


Lemon Yogurt Cake

January 22, 2009

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Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

I have been wanting to make this cake when I first saw it Barefoot Contessa at Home. It uses yogurt instead of butter, which was intended to have lower calories. I was surprised at how moist and fluffy this cake considering the omission of butter. The lemon zest added another depth of flavor and the glaze was a must as well! We absolutely enjoyed it!

For the cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.