Cocktail: Boozy & Bubbly Basil Lemonade

Hey Hi Hello! I’ve popped in to get you nice and boozy just in time for Fourth of July.

It’s summer here, we’re doing all the summery things like sweating to death and hitting the beach. I got a backyard filled with herb plants that are thriving and we’re planning a week-long vacation that’s coming up.

With Fourth of July this week, I wanted to give you something to wash down those hot dogs and burgers with. I landed on a vodka + lemonade cocktail that boozes a crowd and is super simple to throw together. Plus, if you have non-drinkers, it’s just really delicious lemonade! win/win. Let’s get to it…

Boozy & Bubbly Basil Lemonade

Yields 8-10 glasses of lemonade | 1 cocktail

Lemonade

  • 1 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 cup + 7 cups water

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

  • 10-15 basil leaves

Cocktail

  • 2 oz vodka

  • 4 oz basil lemonade

  • lemon seltzer or club soda

  • lemon slices and basil leaves (optional, for garnish)

Make lemonade: Place sugar and 1 cup of water into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. In a large pitcher (or I use a mixing bowl with a spout), stir together simple syrup (sugar mixture), lemon juice and remaining 7 cups of water.

Tear basil leaves in 2 or 3 pieces and add to the lemonade. Let sit for at least and hour but best if overnight. If using a mixing bowl, transfer to pitchers or carafes.

Make cocktail: Like a lot of things I do, this is an incredibly simple cocktail. In a cocktail shaker with ice, add vodka and lemonade. Shake and pour into a glass over ice. Top with lemon seltzer or club soda for some bubbles. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh basil leaves. Cheers!

Recipe: Lemon Blueberry Donuts

I rarely bake for anyone other than myself or the blog. It just ends up happening that way. So when I have the opportunity to bake specifically for someone, it's always an enjoyable change. You get to think about them and what flavors they like or what their favorite treats are. It's like a specially curated birthday present, but better because it's made from butter and sugar and we get to eat it.

Today we're talking birthday treats, which are the best kind of treats in my opinion. Each year I ask G what kind of treat he would like me to bake for his birthday. Two years ago I made him these Funfetti Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches and last year he requested this Blueberry and Custard Sheet Cake. This year, it was lemon and blueberry donuts with a cream cheese frosting. Sounds delicious, right? 

Lemon Blueberry Donuts

Makes 

For Donuts:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter, cold and cubed
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare donut pan by spraying with nonstick cooking spray.

Begin by mixing lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl and working the two together with a spoon (or fingers) until mixture is clumpy and fragrant. In a large bowl, mix together flours, lemon sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add the cubes of butter and using a pastry blender (or your hands) cut the butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is sand-like with bits of butter throughout.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until fluffy. Add in yogurt and vanilla and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula. Before completely combined, add the lemon juice and continue to fold together until mixture is smooth. Lastly, add blueberries and fold them in.

Scrape the batter into a pastry bag with a tip large enough for the blueberries to pass through (or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off) and pipe the batter evenly among the wells of the greased pan. Before placing into the oven, lightly tap the donut pan on a flat countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Make your frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together softened butter and cream cheese. Slowly add in powdered sugar and vanilla extract until all is combined. If your frosting needs to be softer, add in milk one tablespoon at a time until you have your desired consistency. Using an off-set spatula, frost your donuts and top with rainbow sprinkles.

I find that because of the moisture level in the donuts, it’s best to eat these within 24 hours, or stack on a plate and wrap with plastic wrap. Keeping the donuts in an airtight container may cause them to sweat and the glaze to soften. Enjoy!

Recipe: Lemon Crème Brûlée

There's nothing more luxurious than spending your Sunday night wrapped up in a heated blanket, sipping on a glass of red wine and diving into a homemade crème brûlée. I say this because I've been there, watching a Harry Potter marathon and shoveling lemon custard into my face.

Making crème brûlée at home can be intimidating but is in fact fairly simple. It's a dessert that makes any meal feel more of an occasion. So let's make your average Tuesday dinner feel a little fancier, shall we?

Lemon Crème Brûlée

Yields 6 ramekins

4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
additional sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, add sugar and lemon zest and work them together with a spoon until fragrant. Drop in egg yolks and whisk until combined and any lumps are gone. Whisk in heavy cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice until mixture comes together. Pour into something with a spout for easy pouring.

Arrange ramekins in a baking dish so they are not touching each other or the sides of the baking dish. Pour the custard mixture into each ramekin so it's 3/4 full. Heat about 4 cups of water to a boil, and pour the water into the baking dish to create a water bath for the custards. Water should come half way up the ramekins.

Carefully place in the bottom rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes. Finished custards should be set in the center, but still have a jiggle. Once cooked, let cool on a cooling rack until room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator before serving. 

When ready to serve, sprinkle a heavy, but even, coating of sugar over each custard. Use a kitchen torch to brûlée the tops until the sugar melts and is a golden brown. If you don't have a kitchen torch, you can place them in the broiler for a few minutes, but be sure to keep an eye on them. Serve immediately.

Cocktail: Boozy Blueberry Lemonade with QC Malt

I know a boozy lemonade seems a little premature, being that it's only February. But I'm tired of 40 degree weather and not knowing what coat to wear. My plan is to encourage warmer days and spring weather the only way I know how: with a cocktail. And I've partnered with QC Malt to make something light, refreshing, and a perfect winter pickmeup.

This recipe is simple, but does require making some blueberry syrup. This syrup recipe, once strained, make enough for 4 or 5 cocktails. And if you've never tried QC Malt Lemon Shrub or Old Dutch, they're worth getting your hands on it. These malted hard sodas are refreshing and easy to drink by themselves, but also serve as great mixers in cocktails.

Boozy Blueberry Lemonade with QC Malt

Makes one drink

Blueberry Syrup:
3 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cocktail:
1 1/2 oz vodka
1 1/2 oz blueberry syrup
3 oz QC Malt Lemon Shrub
1/2 oz lemon juice

Make the blueberry syrup: Add blueberries, water, lemon juice, and sugar into a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk frequently until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Increase to medium heat and bring to a gentle boil, stirring often, and cook for 15 minutes. Pour mixture through a strainer, pressing lightly through with the back of a spoon, and refrigerate until chilled.

Make the cocktail: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add vodka, lemon juice, and blueberry syrup. Shake vigorously. Pour into a glass over ice and top with QC Malt Lemon Shrub. Stir and garnish with a lemon slice. 

This post was sponsored by QCMalt. All opinions and recipes are 100% my own.

Recipe: Raspberry-Dusted Lemon Donuts

Thankfulness is something that's important to me. Maybe that sounds weird and a little obvious but I feel like I may care about it (or at least think about it) more than other people. It's important to let people know that you care about them and value whatever small amount of time they put into making your life better. And when it comes to nice things you can do to show someone that you care about them, my favorite one is creating food for them. Whether it's baking a cake for a birthday, making soup when someone's sick, or whipping together cookies to tell someone thank you, making food for someone has the perfect amount of "above and beyond-ness" to make people feel cared about and loved.

Baking with someone in mind feels personal and sweet. You need to remember that they are a total chocolate addict or maybe that they hate lemon desserts. And though any amount of thankfulness is good, baking takes a little extra time. Time you used to make something for someone important to you.

With the current state of the country, I'm enjoying how much focus is being placed on creating a kinder world to combat recent events. This week, think about throwing some cookies in the oven to thank your coworkers. Make your significant other some donuts for no reason other to say i love you. Invite your friends over for brunch and let them know how much you appreciate them. Every little bit helps in creating a kinder, more thankful (and sweeter) world. <3

Raspberry-Dusted Lemon Donuts

Makes 12 donuts

For Donuts:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 2 lemons
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter, cold and cubed
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Glaze:
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 oz freeze dried raspberries, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare donut pan by spraying with nonstick cooking spray.

Begin by mixing lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl and working the two together with a spoon (or fingers) until mixture is clumpy and fragrant. In a large bowl, mix together flour, lemon sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add the cubes of butter and using a pastry blender (or your hands) cut the butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is sand-like with bits of butter throughout.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until fluffy. Add in sour cream and vanilla and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula. Before completely combined, add the lemon juice and continue to fold together until mixture is smooth.

Scrape the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip (or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off) and pipe the batter evenly among the wells of the greased pan. Before placing into the oven, lightly tap the donut pan on a flat countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Once the donuts are fully cooled, place wax paper underneath your cooling rack and start making your glaze. Add powdered sugar and water into a medium saucepan and start whisking them together. The mixture will be very stiff and not come together easily. Once it is mostly combined, heat glaze over medium heat, whisking frequently. The glaze will start to come together and thin out. Remove from heat when the mixture is warm but not hot. Dip each donut into the glaze and let cool on the rack. The glaze will harden quickly, so after dipping each donut, sprinkle with crushed raspberries and press them lightly with your fingers.

I find that because of the moisture level in the donuts, it’s best to eat these within 24 hours, or stack on a plate and wrap with plastic wrap. Keeping the donuts in an airtight container may cause them to sweat and the glaze to soften. Enjoy!