It may surprise you to know that almost every state has a state insect. Utah’s state insect is the European honeybee, so designed in
1983 after the lobbying efforts of schoolchildren. What’s more, Utah adopted the beehive as its official emblem in 1959. The beehive symbolizes the industry, perseverance and thrift of Utah’s first settlers.
Fitting then, that we should feature a recipe with honey as one of the ingredients. We recently were gifted with some pure culinary lavender (thanks Mom!) and thought that it would be the perfect addition to this honey lemonade. We love how the lavender turns the lemonade slightly pink. The taste is subtle, but if you want a stronger lavender flavor, add a bit more than one tablespoon and/or steep for longer than 30 minutes.
Visit Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. The park is a red rock paradise with over 2,000 natural stone arches.
Honey Lavender Lemonade
- 5 cups water, divided
- 1 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon culinary lavender
- 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
In a medium saucepan, add 2 ½ cups water and honey. On medium heat, bring to steaming or until honey dissolves. Remove from heat, add lavender. Let steep 20-30 minutes. Strain liquid into a pitcher. Add lemon juice and additional 2 ½ cups water. Mix well. Serve chilled.
The Black and White Cookie is to New York as Jambalaya is to Louisiana. Both dishes are synonymous with a place — which, come to think of it, is kind of the point of this blog. Made famous by the
Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine go to a bakery for a chocolate babka (we’ll have to do a post on that one someday), this cookie features a delectable vanilla-lemon base, iced half with chocolate and half with vanilla. Several years ago, we traveled to New York City in search of the perfect Black and White Cookie. We found a lot of terrible ones. They can’t be shrink wrapped in cellophane. They can’t be stale. The base must be more cake-like than cookie. And the icing must remain soft rather than hard and crunchy.
We found a recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen that we slightly adapted that fits the bill on all accounts. The batter for these cookies is more like cake batter. The addition of cake flour and baking powder gives these cookies some loft. Because they are more cake than cookie, these will go stale quickly so we challenge you to finish them within a few days or pop them in the freezer for the next time you need a Black and White fix. As for eating them, we’re with Jerry, each bite has to have a little of both flavors. “Look to the cookie!”
NYC’s Wine and Food Festival takes place October 13-16, 2016, featuring tastings, celebrity chefs, hands-on classes, demos, and seminars.
Black and White Cookie
Recipe credit: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 2 ½ cups cake flour
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-4 tablespoons hot water
- 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
To make cookies: In a medium mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light yellow. Add eggs, one at a time, then extracts. Add one third of the flour mixture. Beat just until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add next third, then scrape down sides of bowl. Add final third and then scrape down sides of bowl. Scoop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes until tops are puffy and edges are just beginning to turn brown. Let cool completely. Place cookies in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes while making icing.
To make icing: In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine confectioners sugar, corn syrup lemon juice and vanilla. Add 2 tablespoons of hot water and stir until smooth. Add additional water by the teaspoon until desired consistency is reached. The icing should be not too thin that it will run off the sides of the cookie and not too stiff that it will not be spreadable. Divide icing in half into another bowl and add cocoa powder. Add additional hot water by the teaspoon until desired consistency is reached. Spread vanilla icing first on one half of each cookie, then repeat with chocolate icing. Let icing set before transferring to an airtight container with waxed paper separating layers.
Summer is our favorite time of year here in the StateEats kitchen and that’s because of all the fresh fruit that is in season. New Jersey
is known for its delicious blueberries so much so that its legislature declared the Highbush blueberry the state fruit in 2003. And didja know that Hammonton, NJ, is the self-proclaimed blueberry capital of the world? In terms of nutrition, blueberries are a good source of fiber and vitamin C and are antioxidant powerhouses.
We decided that this family recipe for blueberry shortcake was worth sharing. You can make it with all kinds of fruit if you don’t have blueberries but strawberries, blackberries, and peaches work particularly well. The lemon curd amps up the deliciousness level.
Pack a picnic and head to the beach for the Wildwood Crest Sand Sculpting Festival, July 11, 2015.
Blueberry Shortcake with Lemon Curd
For the lemon curd:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 eggs
- Zest from one lemon
- 1-2 lemons to yield 1/4 cup lemon juice
For the shortcake:
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pint blueberries
- Whipped cream
For the lemon curd: Combine butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed 2-3 minutes or until mixture is combined. Add eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat until combined. Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook on low heat, stirring constantly, about ten minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let cool. Lemon curd will keep about two weeks in the refrigerator if well sealed.
For the shortcake: In a small saucepan or in microwave, heat milk and butter until butter just begins to melt. Set aside. Combine flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl. Set aside. In a larger mixing bowl, beat eggs on medium speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add one cup sugar, beat until mixture is thick and lemon colored. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Add milk/butter mixture and vanilla and again mix until just combined. Batter will be runny. Pout into a greased 8×8 pan and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until top just begins to brown. Let cool.
To serve, cut cake into squares, then cut each piece horizontally. Place a dollop of lemon curd on the bottom piece, sprinkle with blueberries, top with whipped cream. Place top half of cake on top, add a small dollop of whipped cream and more berries.