Instead of sugar plums this year, I had visions of sugar trees dancing in my head. I was going to make 3D, spun trees as show-stopping toppers for the dessert table. Nevermind I had only ever made caramel once successfully for popcorn. I blame watching copious amounts of Great British Bakeoff and Holiday Baking Championship for convincing me I could do this.
We’re having a solar eclipse party at work tomorrow so I went to Pinterest to look for themed desserts and found… nothing. Not even sunchips. And so good people of the internet, I bring you THE solar eclipse dessert, Solar Eclipse Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bites.
Oh boy am I excited about this one guys. This past weekend was crammed with getting posts lined up for the month I’ll be in transit moving, getting married, and starting a new job. Originally this was a roasted asparagus recipe from last asparagus season and I ended up hating the way the photos turned out. Then lunchtime inspiration hit and BAM. This beautiful little dish that tastes even better than it looks materialized out of the kitchen.
Well, I wish it just materialized. I wouldn’t mind having a kitchen fairy that made just these ;). Good news for the fariy-less folks, this one is easy enough to make solo.
Poached Egg Asparagus Toast
salt + pepper
1 T mild vinegar
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Wash and trim the asparagus. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 12-15 minutes. When the asparagus is finished remove it from the oven and immediately drizzle with lemon juice.
While the asparagus is roasting it’s time to poach the eggs! I follow Faith Durand’s method to get a no fuss egg done. While the egg is poaching, toast a piece of bread with a bit of butter and shave some parmesan cheese with a vegetable peeler.
Layer the toast with the lemon asparagus, shaved parmesan, poached egg, and top with cracked pepper.
Mmmm, look at the golden yolk. Usually I stay far far away from slimy foods, but Faith’s egg poaching method truly does create the most amazing silky compliment. I couldn’t help but include this extreme close up.
Even the colors of this dish scream Easter! What’s on your Easter Brunch menu? Will you be trying something new or using a favorite go to?
Still looking for St. Patrick’s Day ideas? These cookies are the perfect last minute treat- just pop a few in treat bags with some gold coins! And for a fun St. Patrick’s Day twist, we’ll be using rich, delicious Irish butter. Yumm. These coins also have a secret. Can you guess what’s behind the golden color?
Turmeric! Turmeric is a spice that is used to create brilliant yellow pieces. It makes a great natural food coloring as well! You won’t taste the small amount in these cookies, but try to use stale turmeric over fresh (or leave it out for a day so the flavor weakens).
Irish Butter, Lemon Shortbread Cookies
1 c Kerrygold salted butter
1/2 c powdered sugar
2 c flour
1 T lemon zest
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
2 T lemon juice
Whisk flour, salt, lemon zest, and turmeric together. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together in stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the mixed dry ingredients from the first step and lemon juice on low speed until just incorporated.
Roll dough out to 1/4″ and chill for 30-45 minutes until it’s cold but still pliable. You want to chill it without it drying out.
Once the dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350. Cut out your coin shapes with circle cutters. I added a coin ‘ridge’ by offsetting a smaller circle on my large ones and opted for a plain design on the smaller ones. Edible gold leaf or tiny shamrock sprinkles would be perfect for decorating too!
Bake for 10-12 minutes- just until the bottom edges of the cookies start to brown. Shortbread cookies should generally come out of the oven the same color they went in.
*If you want to use unsalted butter, add another 1/4 teaspoon salt to your dry mix.
Real talk, these are so good. Like all shortbread cookies, the sweetness doesn’t hit you over the head so you don’t get tired of them. They start harmlessly light and fluffy and finish with a mouthwatering tartness that makes them perfect with Irish breakfast tea.
Do you love themed food for St. Patrick’s Day? Tell me what you’re be making below!
P.S. If you’re curious about the tea towel in the photos, I actually dyed it using the Double Tub Method from last week! Except instead of a moving bin, I used our bedroom trashcan haha. I was desperate and all the stores had already moved on to Easter.
Nerd alert guys. When I was younger and it was Valentine’s Day in a manga, I wished and wished it was the norm in the States to hand make chocolate. In the books stores would be filled with decorative papers and chocolate ingredients that made me swoon. Store bought was for lazy people. Or so I thought until I actually tried to start from just raw, unsweetened chocolate and loads of sugar. Ack. That was disgusting. And held me at bay from trying any chocolate making again for awhile. That is until my mom made truffles!
The melt in your mouth, completely decadent, smooth chocolate are to die for. And it’s so, so easy to make! The only *slight* setback back is there’s no clean way to do this. Chocolate hands everywhere. But that’s not such a bad thing right? 😉
8 ounces semi-sweet bar chocolate
8 oz bittersweet bar chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp finely ground Himalayan salt
coarse ground Himalayan salt & cocoa powder to garnish
Important note- you have to use bar chocolate for the recipe to work. Chocolate chips don’t have the same fat content that will set your chocolate.
1| Chop all the chocolate as finely as possible. We’ll be relying on just the heated cream to melt the chocolate, so it’s important to have even, tiny pieces to start. Transfer to a heat-safe bowl.
2| Bring the heavy cream and finely ground salt to a simmer over medium heat. Quickly give it a mix and pour over the chocolate.
3| Let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Cover and transfer the bowl to the fridge to set for ~2 hours depending on how good your fridge is. If you’re short on time, you can transfer the chocolate to a glass baking dish. Spreading the chocolate out in a thin sheet can cut your set time to 30 minutes. Once set, the chocolate should be soft enough to be scooped out and hold its shape.
4| Scoop ~1″ balls and loosely roll between your hands. Don’t worry about getting a perfect sphere. The rough shape is a nod to the truffles’ namesake, the truffle root, and is a mark of true handmade goodness (Thank you Martha Stewart ;D).
5| Drop the balls in cacao powder and top with a sprinkle of salt. Start lightly with 2-3 salt pieces on top- the pink sea salt packs a big punch. I love the sharp contrast between salty and sweet so I went very heavy handed. Prepare to wow all with chocolatey goodness.
Did you know there are two different types of cocoa? Yup, and which one you choose can affect your truffles! Serious Eats breaks down the difference between natural & Dutch processed cocoa. The short of it is, use Dutch if you want a darker color and more bittersweet, earthy, balanced flavor and use natural processed if you want classic chocolate flavor.