Baking with Lemon - The Ultimate Guide with Tips, Tricks & Recipes from The View from Great Island

Baking with Lemon - The Ultimate Guide with Tips, Tricks & Recipes from The View from Great Island

Baking with Lemon: Tips, Techniques, and Delicious Recipes

If you love the bright, tangy flavor of lemons, then you're in for a treat. Baking with lemon is a specialty of the house here in the Great Island kitchen, and I've developed so many delicious recipes that showcase the uniquely delicious flavor profile of lemons. Whether you're making cookies, cakes, tarts, pies, or quick breads, there are special tips and techniques you can use to infuse as much lemony goodness as possible into your baked goods. And with over 90% of US-grown lemons coming from California, it's easy to find fresh, juicy lemons all year round.

Types of Lemons

When you go to the supermarket, you'll typically find two types of lemons: Eureka and Meyer. Eurekas are the most commonly used, with a bright yellow skin and tart, acidic juice. Meyers are a hybrid lemon believed to be a cross between a citron and a mandarin or pomelo, with a smoother skin and sweeter taste. Both types of lemons can be used in baking, depending on your preference for tartness or sweetness.

Lemon Cookies

Lemon cookies are a wonderful treat that aren't very common commercially, so baking them at home is a great way to enjoy their bright citrusy flavor. Whether you prefer soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies or crisp, buttery shortbread, here are some recipes to try:

  • Melt-in-your-mouth Soft Lemon Cookies with Tart Glaze
  • Lemon Shortbread with Aromatic Lemon Flavor
  • Lemon Snowball Cookies Coated in Powdered Sugar
  • Authentic Italian Almond Paste Cookies with Lemon

Lemon Cakes

Lemon cakes are a classic dessert that can be enjoyed any time of year. Whether you want to double down on the lemon flavor in the cake and frosting or use both the juice and zest for a full-bodied taste, here are some recipes to try:

  • Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Poppy Seed Frosting
  • Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Moist and Tender Crumb
  • Lemon Chiffon Cake that's Light and Fluffy
  • Mary Berry's Easy Tea Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze

Whole Lemon Baking

In Italy, it's common to bake with whole lemons, peel and all, for a unique and intense lemon flavor. While some people may find the bitter taste of the lemon peel off-putting, others love the depth of flavor it adds. Here are some recipes to try:

  • Naturally Gluten-Free Meyer Lemon Cake
  • Whole Meyer Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust

Lemon Pies and Tarts

Lemon filling in pies and tarts can be a great way to experience an intense lemon flavor, as the lemony filling itself is usually not baked. Topped with fresh whipped cream or meringue, these desserts are the perfect finish to any meal. Here are some recipes to try:

  • Lemon Butter Pie with Huge Lemon Flavor and Almost No Baking
  • Old-Fashioned Lemon Icebox Pie with a Tangy Lemon Custard

Lemony Quick Breads

Quick breads are a delicious and easy treat to whip up for breakfast or snack time. Using a lemon glaze can help drive home the lemon flavor and provide that tart tang we crave. Here are some recipes to try:

  • Lemony Muffins with Light Streusel Topping
  • Old-Fashioned Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Fresh Lemon Flavor
  • Lemon Scones with Tart Lemon Glaze
  • Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread with Crunchy Poppy Seeds
  • Lemon Glazed Raspberry Bread with Juicy Berries and Bright Lemon Flavor

Creamy Lemon Recipes

In creamy lemon recipes, the lemon flavor is more subtle, with more emphasis on the mellower aromatic nature of lemon. Whether you prefer cheesecake, brownies, or sheet cake, these desserts are true crowd-pleasers. Here are some recipes to try:

  • Classic Lemon Cheesecake with Fabulously Creamy Texture
  • Perfect Lemon Brownies with Tart and Tangy Flavor
  • Lemon Crunch Cake with Soft Texture and Delightful Crunchy Top
  • Lemon Velvet Sheet Cake that's Tart and Tangy
  • Vintage-Inspired Lemon Cake that's a Potluck Classic

Lemon Extract and Paste

If you want to boost the lemon flavor in your baking, lemon extract and paste can be great tools to have on hand. Lemon extract is strong, so use it sparingly, while lemon paste has a softer, more complex flavor compared to extract. Here are some tips on using these products:

  • Use lemon extract along with fresh lemon for a more pronounced flavor.
  • Begin with 1/4 teaspoon of extract per 1 cup of liquid in your recipe to avoid a bitter note.
  • Use lemon paste in place of lemon zest for a more intense lemon flavor.
  • Purchase a reputable brand like Nielsen-Massey for quality flavorings.

Lemon Glaze

Lemon glaze is a quick and easy way to add a burst of lemon flavor to your baked goods. Here's a basic recipe to get you started:

  1. Strain lemon juice to remove any pulp.
  2. In a deep bowl, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice, stirring well until smooth.
  3. If the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar; if it's too thick, add more lemon juice.
  4. Spread, pour, or drizzle the glaze onto your baked good, garnishing with lemon zest if desired.
  5. Let the glaze set before serving or storing.

Lemon glaze can also be adapted to other citrus fruits like lime, orange, and grapefruit by adjusting the proportion of juice to sugar.

Whether you're an experienced baker or just getting started, baking with lemon is a great way to add bright, tangy flavor to your favorite baked goods. Try out some of these tips, techniques, and recipes and discover the joy of baking with lemon!

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Baking with Lemon: The Ultimate Guide
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