Malt Cupcakes

One of my favorite things: chocolate malts. Not shakes, malts. They are different and have that “it” factor. Something chocolate shakes inherently lack. This recipe takes everything malts are, puts it in a cupcake and adds malted milk ball candies (like Whoppers). I don’t think I need to say anything more. I can just write the recipe now.

But…I will explain: the batter is fluffy. There is candy throughout. The frosting has the malt goodness too. And on top? No, not a cherry, a malted milk ball.

Straws not necessary, just big bites.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup malted milk powder (original flavor, Carnation makes this)
  • 3/4 cup malted milk balls, crushed (they crush easily if frozen)
for the frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons malted milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa (such as Hershey’s)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • whole malted milk balls for garnish

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flours and malt powder; set aside. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until well incorporated.

Add 1/3 of flour mixture to butter-sugar mixture. Add 1/3 of the milk and the teaspoon vanilla. Add flour mix then milk two more times in same pattern, just beating until mixed. Do not overbeat. Stir in crushed malted milk ball candies. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, then place cupcakes on a wire rack.

For the frosting, beat butter, sugar, malted milk powder, unsweetened baking cocoa, and milk on medium speed with an electric mixer. Frosting should be smooth and spreadable. You can add more milk (1 teaspoon at a time) if you want a smoother consistency. Frost cupcakes and top with one malted milk ball.

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Lemon Bars with a Poppy-seed Crust

When I haven’t seen the sun in days, I need to make something bright to remind me of the sun, thus lemon bars. They are cheery, tart and create happiness like a good dessert should. They remind me of tulips, birds chirping, and that trees do indeed get leaves, and I am able to tell myself, “spring will be here soon…spring will be here soon…” Ugh, it has to be.

The great thing about lemon bars is they are refreshing. It’s like having lemonade on a summer day…but instead it’s having a baked treat on a not so warm day. Same effect. Smile inducing.

I used a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and all-purpose flour because I like to add a lil whole wheat where I can. You can most definitely use all all-purpose flour.

And while lemon Bars can’t give you a tan, they can make you envision sunnier days head.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons poppy-seeds
for the filling:
  • 4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar

How To:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a hand mixer, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. On low speed, slowly add the flour, salt, and poppyseeds. Put the dough onto a floured surface and create a ball. Flatten the dough (easier with floured hands) and press it into a 9 X 13 inch baking dish – can be glass, aluminum, ceramic, etc. Build up a small edge on all sides.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very, very lightly browned. Let cool and 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 about 30 minutes. The filling should be set. Leave the bars to cool.

Once bars are cool, cut into squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar by using a sifter.

Lasagna Rolls

There is something that gets me about individually packaged items – string cheese, cupcakes, even bananas. It tells me the portion I’m supposed to eat. Most importantly, it’s all mine, not meant for sharing.

Lasagna rolls are another individually packaged item. There is no dividing and conquering of the baking dish. You only need to scoop out the delicious little lasagna packages.

Ricotta and spinach are wrapped in a long lasagna noodle and blanketed with tomato sauce. Melty cheese is the final layer, as if you need more incentive to make this.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, more if you like sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

How To:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Thaw spinach in a microwave safe bowl and squeeze dry. Mix the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup of the Parmesan, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Add a tablespoon of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite (al dente). Drain the noodles and lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent sticking.

Spray a 13 X 9 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Working on the baking sheet, lay out 1 lasagna noodle. Spread about 1/4 cup of the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodle and starting at 1 end, roll each noodle up. Lay the lasagna roll seam side down, without touching, on of the marinara sauce in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 2 cups of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls and sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan over the marinara. Cover tightly with foil and bake until fully heated through (sauce will be bubbly), about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes; the cheese will become golden. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve your individual lasagna rolls, and feel free to have more than one.

Raspberry White Chocolate Bars

The song “Raspberry Beret” by Prince came into my head the second I bit into a Raspberry White Chocolate Bar. It didn’t make much sense since these are desert bars and Prince is singing about a girl wearing a raspberry beret (the kind you find in a second hand store…if you know the song). But, it’s a happy song and these bars will put you in a happy mood with or without the out loud sing-along.

The creamy white chocolate layer and fresh raspberries are sandwiched in between sweet oats. Dessert bars are really just layers of flavors, all working in great harmony (like a Prince song).

“Raspberry beret…if it was warm she wouldn’t wear much more…” If this song was named after this bar, it would be “Raspberry Oat Bars…if she eats more, she’ll have to buy bigger pants.”

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • white chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon milk

How To:

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, 1 cup of the sugar and baking soda. Add butter and combine with hands or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 2 cups for the topping. Press the rest of the crumb mixture into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

Melt white chocolate chips in microwave. Heat for 1 minute, stir; heat for 30 second intervals until completely smooth, stirring in between. Spread over the crumb mixture in baking pan.

In a saucepan, combine raspberries, arrowroot (or cornstarch), lemon juice and remaining sugar. Bring to a boil. While boiling, stir for about 2 minutes.  Spread evenly over the white chocolate layer. Sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Oats will be slightly browned. Cool or refrigerate before cutting.