Blueberry Lemon Thyme Cupcakes

Spring has only just barely joined us here in Bozeman and I am ready for it. Although I haven’t yet figured out in what capacity I’m going to participate in running season this year, not needing multiple layers of clothing to visit the great outdoors is definitely improving my morale. M and I have been hiking every weekend since mid-March when the ski area closed, and with the social distancing practices it’s turned us from standard trails towards wandering about new-to-us public lands.

Blueberry Lemon Thyme Cupcakes {{Baking Bytes}}

As the snow became less frequent and the plants started to show bits of color, my typical lemon cravings arrived too. I’d had cupcakes on my list to make for approximately a year at this point and a springtime version seemed the obvious solution. (Plus it allowed me to use these gorgeous cupcake liners I bought at Costco way too many years ago.) Borrowing a recipe from the always-amazing Pastry Affair, I set out on a cupcake quest. I knew I wanted to incorporate an herbaceous aspect and with thyme being the most appropriate herb available at the store that day, I was inspired by yet another Pastry Affair scone recipe I’d made last year.

Knowing I wanted a lighter buttercream frosting in lieu of a decadent cream cheese concoction, I modified a separate recipe with another addition of thyme in order to harmonize the two recipes with plenty of springtime flavor.

Blueberry Lemon Thyme Cupcakes {{Baking Bytes}}

Moist and light, these cupcakes are packed with blueberries and accented with lemon and thyme for a slight twist on a classic. They are not exorbitantly sweet which means even with the buttercream frosting it’s a reasonable sugar high. (Still plenty sweet though, it is a cupcake, after all.) The frosting is fluffy and bright with a little thyme flavor, and a few specks of the herb throughout. I opted for some simple rose swirls to keep it a relatively light amount of frosting, and to bring an edible bouquet to my kitchen.

Blueberry Lemon Thyme Cupcakes {{Baking Bytes}}

These keep well on the counter, remaining moist and delicious for at least five days. Realistically probably longer but we’d given away or demolished all 18 of them by then. If you’re in need of a wonderful treat with plenty to share, these cupcakes are perfect. They’d make a lovely addition to Mother’s Day but are low-stress enough for any weekday treat.

Blueberry Lemon Thyme Cupcakes {{Baking Bytes}}

Blueberry Thyme Cupcakes

Vaguely adapted from Pastry Affair
Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
2-3 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp lemon zest, minced

2 large eggs

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Sicilian Lemon olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
1 Tbsp vanilla

2/3 cup milk

1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 Tbsp flour (if using frozen berries)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare two cupcake tins with a total of 18 baking cups.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream together butter,  sugar, and thyme until light and fluffy, at least 2 minutes.
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one, then mix in yogurt, oil, and vanilla.
  5. Add in the dry mixture about 1/4 cup at a time,  until mostly combined.
  6. Stir in the milk on low speed until the batter is smooth and there are no flour streaks.
  7. If you have frozen berries, toss them with the tablespoon of flour until well coated.
  8. Gently fold in the blueberries until evenly distributed.
  9. Fill each baking cup with about 1/4 cup off batter, then bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (If your tins will fit side by side on the same oven rack, you can bake them all at once, otherwise I recommend doing each tin separately.)
  10. Cool briefly in pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely prior to frosting.
  11. Frost as desired, then store in a sealed container on the counter up to one week (or until devoured.)

Lemon Thyme Buttercream Frosting

Borrowed from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Makes about 2.5 cups

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp lemon zest, minced
1 Tbsp thyme, minced
pinch of salt

Directions

  1. With an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and creamy, about two minutes.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients on low speed until just coming together.
  3. Beat on high speed for three minutes, until frosting is fluffy, uniform, and fragrant.
  4. If necessary, adjust consistency with an additional 1/4 cup powdered sugar another tablespoon of cream to thicken or thin, respectively.
  5. If you are relatively light with frosting (like me), you can store leftovers in the freezer. Bring to room temperature and beat again before using, adjusting texture with additional cream if needed.

Olive Oil Chocolate Chili Mousse

Here we are friends, we made it to the end of October. Winter hit fast and hard here so I hope your neck of the woods is fairing better. If so, please send some our way. In the interim, I am placating myself with copious amount of tea and grumbling.

Chocolate Chili Mousse {{Baking Bytes}}

In the interim, week five is the best week: dessert week! I made these recipe ages ago with a different oil but knew it’d also be perfect with the chili oil for that spicy sweet situation. Chocolate and chili can never go wrong and this dairy-free recipe is even easier than its ice cream counterpart. The original calls for bittersweet chocolate but if, like me, your preferred grocery store does not carry it, a combination of unsweetened and semisweet work beautifully.

chocolate_chili_pudding_3

Fluffy, creamy, and oh so decadent, you’d never guess this mousse is made without heavy cream. It appears too thick at first but with a little patience it is just perfect closer to room temperature. That said, if you don’t mind the denser and slightly grainy temperature, by all means eat it straight out of the fridge. Smooth chocolate and spicy chili blend together in a flavorful and texturally pleasing delicacy, perfect for rounding out any meal.

Chocolate Chili Mousse {{Baking Bytes}}

This recipe uses beaten egg white for fluffiness but unlike a lot of egg white recipes, it makes use of the yolk too. I greatly appreciate not having a pile of yolks in the fridge to use up (although lemon curd is always a good idea) and love when recipes don’t leave you with odd leftovers. This mousse is super easy and beginner friendly, but does take a little patience when melting the chocolate and beating the egg whites. I promise it’s well worth your time.

Chocolate Chili Mousse {{Baking Bytes}}

It keeps well for several days, which makes it perfect for meal-prep and dinner parties (but set an alarm to take it out of the fridge!) You can also totally change up the flavor by substituting a different infused oil. I can vouch that Blood Orange is amazing (which is what I did the first time) but I am pretty sure most of the Olivelle lineup would be excellent, especially their new Vanilla Maple.

Olive Oil Chocolate Chili Mousse

Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped1
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped1

4 large room temperature eggs, separated

7 Tbsp Vera Cruz Chili Olive Oil
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 tsp + 1 pinch Vanilla Bean Sea Salt (or Habanero Heat for extra kick!)

Directions

  1. Set out six 6oz ramekins, jars, or bowls.
  2. Place chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, and allow to melt, stirring occasionally. Remove chocolate while it’s still a bit chunky and stir to melt completely. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to whisk egg whites and pinch of salt in a clean bowl until it has firm peaks. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks, sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt. Use the same beaters to whisk until pale and thick. Mixture should have about doubled in volume.
  5. Gradually stream in melted chocolate to egg yolk mixture, and use a rubber scraper to fold in completely.
  6. Scoop out 1/3 of the egg whites and vigorously stir into the chocolate mixture until completely combined.
  7. Scoop out another 1/3 of the egg white and gently fold in until mostly combined. Repeat with the remaining egg white (leaving any liquid in the egg white bowl behind) and gently incorporate until there are not white streaks.
  8. Divide mousse evenly between ramekins or small bowls/jars. Serve immediately for fluffy mousse, or refrigerate at least 20 minutes.
  9. If you are not serving within a couple of hours, press small squares of plastic wrap onto the surface of the mousse and top with an airtight lid. For best texture, set out at room temperature 40 minutes prior to eating.

Notes

Or a total of 6oz bittersweet chocolate, my grocery store just doesn’t carry it.

Rhubarbamom Crisp Ice Cream

Week four already! Is it just me or did the month fly by? For our last ice cream adventure in National Ice Cream Month, I’ve saved my favorite of this year’s collection.

Rhubarbamom Crisp Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

I had actually set out to make another recipe (which I may still revisit another time), but lost motivation with that one after coming across the pairing of rhubarb and cardamom. I am a huge cardamom fan (second only to cinnamon) and I love the twist it brings to otherwise classic desserts. Rhubarb pie and crisp are two of my favorite things, and I personally prefer the filling unadulterated by an accompanying fruit. Tart rhubarb and a side of ice cream are a match made in delicious heaven, so I decided to roll the whole thing into one. Inspired in name by the Rhubarbian cocktail at Nordic Brewworks, rhubarbamom crisp ice cream was born.

Rhubarbamom Crisp Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

An easy rhubarb cardamom compote is the major component of this particular ice cream. Smooth, tart, and just a little spicy, it would be just as great on toast or pancakes as it is swirled into this creamy dessert. It’s also an excellent way to use up last year’s rhubarb to make room for this year’s new crop.

I mixed my standard ice cream base with a generous amount of compote, choosing not to add additional sugar. This results in a lovely tart finish, but does have the side effect of the ice cream freezing rather harder than usual. You can definitely increase the sugar if you prefer a sweeter dessert or simply want to be able to enjoy the finished product straight out of the freezer.

Rhubarbamom Crisp Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

To accompany the creamy ice cream and tart compote, I baked a small batch of oatmeal crisp topping. Baked slightly crispier than you might prefer solo, it softens slightly amidst the ice cream into the perfect crunchy and creamy combination. It’s addicting on its own so do your best not to eat all straight off the pan while it cools.

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After the ice cream churns, you’ll layer it into the container with extra compote and the crumbled topping before freezing. The pretty swirl and crispy oatmeal found in every bite are not only visually pleasing, but superbly delicious. If desired, top with a dollop of addition compote and crisp, and enjoy as the perfect end to a hot summer day.

Rhubarbamom Crisp Ice Cream

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups rhubarb cardamom compote, divided (below)
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup egg beaters
1/4 cup sugar, optional1
1 cup oatmeal crisp topping (below)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, half and half, egg beaters, and 1 1/2 cups rhubarb cardamom compote. Taste, and add sugar if desired.
  2. Chill until completely cooled, at least four fours. Place a freezer-safe bowl into your freezer.
  3. Freeze mixture according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  4. Spoon 1/4 of the mixture into your chilled container. Drizzle with a spoonful of additional rhubarb cardamom compote and 1/4 cup oatmeal crisp topping.
  5. Repeat layers with remaining ice cream, then freeze until firm.
  6. Soften on the counter for about 20 minutes prior to serving.

Notes

I personally did not add more sugar because I like my rhubarb desserts to be quite tart. If you prefer a sweeter experience or don’t want the ice cream to freeze quite so hard, add the extra amount.

Rhubarb Cardamom Compote

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

4 cups frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained
1 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
6-10 cardamom pods, seeded
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients.
  2. Heat over medium, stirring often, until rhubarb is softened and breaks apart.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree the compote until smooth.
  4. Let cool on the counter briefly, then store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Notes

Words

Oatmeal Crisp Topping

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)
1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup butter, cold

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
  3. Use a box grater to grate cold butter directly into the bowl (or dice it by hand and add it).
  4. Mix together with your hands, mashing the butter into the flour mixture until well combined.
  5. Crumble onto prepared baking sheet, then bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Let cool completely, then crumble into an airtight container and store on the counter until ready to use.

Pineapple Habanero “Ice Cream”

“Ice cream” looks a bit ominous but I promise this is just as delicious. I’ve made more than 30 ice cream recipes over the years on this blog and had yet to try a dairy-free version. As one of my best friends is both exorbitantly lactose-intolerant one of the most generous people I know, I decided this year to try a recipe she can enjoy too. Since sweet and spicy is definitely her jam (and mine too) I set off with that flavor profile in mind.

Pineapple Habanero "Ice Cream" {{Baking Bytes}}

I knew I wanted to use a coconut base because other non-dairy substitutes require some kind of thickener and I prefer my frozen desserts to be as unadulterated as possible. Pondering what goes well with coconut so it would complement rather than fight the base flavor, piña colada original came to mind. Switched up for the spicy aspect, pineapple habanero was clearly the answer.

Pineapple Habanero "Ice Cream" {{Baking Bytes}}

Amusingly I’d never bought a habanero before and 100% texted another friend to make sure I was buying the correct thing. As someone with a Scandinavian spice tolerance (is butter a spice?) even cutting these peppers was quite the ordeal for me. Friendship and stubbornness pulled me through and the end result was so, so worth it.

Pineapple Habanero "Ice Cream" {{Baking Bytes}}

Although slightly less creamy than you know, cream, this frozen dessert is wonderful in its own right. Smooth with a light coconut background, the first flavor you get is a strong presence of pineapple. The habanero follows more slowly, the heat building in your mouth and encouraging you to reach for another bite. This one is almost as addicting last year’s chocolate chili and can be happily enjoyed by your dairy-free friends.

Pineapple Habanero "Ice Cream" {{Baking Bytes}}

The syrup recipe results in more than you need for the ice cream, so you can use it as a topping elsewhere. Extra on the ice cream itself, atop waffles and pancakes, stirred into a margarita, the opportunities are endless. Customize the heat level to your own preference but remember it will be much more mild once mixed with the coconut cream.

If this dessert can appease me, someone who can definitely tell the difference in ice cream made with “diet” 30% heavy whipping cream instead of “proper” 40% heavy whipping cream, I promise it will please anyone. Top off your Taco Tuesday with this sweet and spicy concoction for a perfect summertime meal.

Pineapple Habanero “Ice Cream”

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

2 (~14oz) cans unsweetened coconut cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup egg beaters

2 – 2 1/2 cups pineapple habanero syrup, divided (below)
spoonful of compote, optional

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine coconut cream, sugar, and egg beaters. Heat over medium, whisking often, until well combined and beginning to thicken.
  2. Stir in one and a half cups pineapple habanero syrup, and a spoonful of reserved compote if you like a little texture.
  3. Chill in refrigerator until completely cooled. (Put a 7-cup freezer-safe bowl in the freezer now too.)
  4. Freeze mixture according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  5. Retrieve bowl from the freezer and add 1/4 of the ice cream to the bowl. Swirl a spoonful of the pineapple habanero syrup on top and repeat until all the ice cream is in the bowl, finishing with a little more syrup.
  6. Freeze overnight until firm (it takes longer than normal!)

Notes

I’ve not tested it but you should be able to make this recipe vegan by leaving out the egg. This will, however, change the texture as egg lends a smoothness and fullness that is difficult to get without some kind of emulsifier.

Roasted Pineapple Habanero Syrup

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

1 ripe pineapple, sliced

2 habanero peppers, to taste
1 1/2 cups sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large baking dish, arrange pineapple in a single layer.
  3. Roast until warmed and started to brown, 15-20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, slice the habanero peppers, removing as many seeds as you want depending on your desired heat level. I removed about half the seeds for a medium heat.
  5. Use a blender or food processor to completely puree the roasted pineapple (you should have about 3 cups puree.)
  6. In a medium saucepan, combine puree, sugar, and peppers.
  7. Bring to a boil over medium heat then simmer gently until thickened and spicy. Let it go till it’s quite a bit spicier than you want your finished product as it will be greatly mellowed by the cream base.
  8. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, using a whisk to get as much syrup as possible. Set aside to cool (reserve the chunky compote too if you like a little texture!) then store in the fridge until ready to use.

Maple Latte Ice Cream

Week two has arrived and a twist on my favorite treat beverage is on the docket. My go-to coffee shop refreshment is a maple latte and when a coworker talked about a local maple-roasted coffee in near his home in Canada, I knew I needed to try it. He was kind enough to hand-deliver me a package of Spring Maple Blend from St. Joseph Island Coffee Roasters and it is some of the best coffee I’ve ever had. Not only did it make a phenomenal cold brew, but it resulted in one of my new favorite ice creams.

Maple Latte Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

A creamy coffee base sweetened with maple makes for a beautiful flavor profile despite its simplicity. The maple coffee certainly adds a little something, but if you don’t have access to that use your favorite light or medium roast instead. This recipe is similar to an iced latte in flavor but with all the robustness of a proper dessert, and certainly one I will make again and again.

Maple Latte Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

It does take some extra time with the infusing process, but straining is easy peasy if you use a reusable coffee filter. I use one designed for cold brewing, but any similar one should do just fine. (You can also use a paper filter but it’s much more annoying since it’s prone to splitting once wet.) Either way, I promise the finished product is worth it.

Maple Latte Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Lovely coffee flavor complemented by sweet maple, this is a perfect ice cream all year round. It’s perfect on its own but would be a wonderful addition to a chocolate cake if that’s more your style. It does freeze a bit harder than a traditional recipe, so leave it to soften on the counter for a few minutes before digging in.

Maple Latte Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

3/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup almond or cow milk
1/4 cup ground (maple roasted) coffee1

2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup egg substitute
3/4 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat half and half and milk on medium until it just starts to simmer, then remove from heat. Place coffee (in a filter, I use a reusable one) in the mixture and allow to steep for about one hour. Remove coffee (and any escaped grounds), squeezing grounds gently to release the most flavorful milk.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk infused mixture with all remaining ingredients until completely combined.
  3. Cover chill completely in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  4. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an additional three hours, or overnight.

Notes

1 You can certainly use decaf if you’re concerned about the caffeine content. Any coffee where you like the flavor is great! If you’re not using a maple coffee, you can pump up the maple flavor with a little maple extract, should you desire.