Lemon & Blueberry is such a classic combination, it’s always been one of my favourites. I love using up leftover blueberries by putting them in cupcakes, sometimes I don’t even bother icing them, they’re just great warm from the oven! Theses Lemon & Blueberry Cupcakes are packed with juicy blueberries and decorated with a zingy lemon buttercream for extra decadence.
As much as I love cookies, sometime they can be a bit samey as they’re all usually chocolate based (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). I really wanted to create a recipe for some fresh and summery cookies with a lighter fruity flavour, and so these Lemon & Blueberry Cookies were born! They are flavoured with tangy lemon zest, there’s some oats in the mix for texture, and sweet fresh blueberries are dotted across each cookie. I’ve also drizzled them with a lemon juice icing for extra zing!
I started by creaming the butter and golden caster sugar together, then I added the egg, lemon zest and vanilla extract, and stirred them together.
Next I mixed in the plain flour, oats and baking powder.
I spooned the mixture onto lined baking trays, then I added the blueberries. I pushed them into the batter and covered them. Either 3 or 4 blueberries will work fine as I tried both. You don’t want too many because the cookie will fall apart.
They baked for 14 minutes until they were golden brown.
I made an icing by mixing together some of the lemon juice and icing sugar, I drizzled it over the fully cooled cookies.
The Lemon & Blueberry Cookies were such a hit with their fresh lemony flavour. And they looked so pretty too with the bursting blueberries and icing drizzle!
I only tried this recipe with fresh blueberries, but I am confident that dried blueberries would work equally well, and you could add more of them to each cookie too. My favourite are the fresh ones though!
Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and line a few baking trays (or however many you own) with baking paper
Cream the butter and golden caster sugar together in a large bowl using an electric whisk, or silicone spoon
Add the egg, lemon zest and vanilla extract, and whisk them in
Mix in the oats, plain flour and baking powder with a spoon
Spoon blobs of the mixture onto your lined baking trays, then add 3 or 4 blueberries per cookie. Push them into the batter and cover them with batter. Leave space between the cookies as they will spread
Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until they are golden brown, leave them on the tray for 5 minutes before carefully removing and placing on racks to cool fully
Make the icing by mixing the lemon juice and icing sugar together into a thick paste. Add the lemon juice a little at a time as you may not need it all. Once the cookies are fully cool drizzle it all over them
The cookies are best served on the same day. They are still good for 2 days after, but they do go softer and more fragile because of the moisture from the blueberries
I absolutely love traditional recipes that have been passed from one generation to the next. They truely survive the test of time and you can guarantee they will be absolutely delicious! Czech Kolaces are one such recipe. The base is an enriched dough and they can be filled with a variety of sweet things such as fruit or jam. They can also be small or large, which is another thing about traditional recipes, every family has a different version. So why not find your favourite! As Czech Kolaces originated as desserts at Czech weddings, their perfect pairing is with a drink of course. Budweiser Budvar lager is brewed in the Czech Republic using 700 year old traditional methods and local ingredients. If you want to steep yourself in Czech tradition, then crack open a Budvar and learn how to make these delicious treats – you won’t regret it!
To learn more about the kolaces watch this beautiful video that Budvar have made! Or you can read the story by clicking here.
To make the dough I started by warming up the milk in a pan until it was luke warm. I added the yeast and caster sugar, then covered it with cling film and left it for 10 minutes.
After the 10 minutes I uncovered it and added the egg yolks and melted butter and whisked it all together.
In a bowl I stirred the flour together with the salt. I poured the milk mixture into the flour and mixed until a dough formed. I covered it with cling film and left it in a warm place to prove for 1 hour.
Whilst it was doing that I made the cheesecake filling by whisking the cream cheese, caster sugar, lemon zest and egg yolk together. I whisked it until it was thick then I folded in the whipped egg white.
Once the dough was proved, I cut the dough in half. With one half I made little kolaces by rolling it out then cutting out rounds with a cookie cutter.
I used the bottom of a glass to make indentations in the dough.
I filled them with the cheesecake mixture, then added a few blueberries too. And I glazed them around the edges with beaten egg.
They baked on 180C Fan for 20 minutes. I kept re-rolling the dough until it was all gone.
I also made some with blackcurrant jam in the middle instead and a sprinkling of the crumble on top.
With the other half of the dough, I rolled it into a rectangle and spread it out on a lined baking tray.
I sprinkled breadcrumbs on top, followed by blueberries and rum soaked cherries, then finally sprinkled the crumble all over. I also glazed the edge with beaten egg.
It baked it for between 20-25 minutes on 180C Fan until it was golden brown.
I made the Czech Kolaces whilst I was round at my friend’s house and they went down an absolute treat. It was so relaxing to chat and bake with a few Budvars, then enjoy the Czech Kolaces warm from the oven! I shared the beer out with my boyfriend and friends too. They really enjoyed drinking it with the Czech Kolaces, and I heard several poorly pronounced shouts of “Na zdraví!” – which is cheers in Czech!
The Czech Kolaces filled with jam were my favourite and they’re also the easiest to make. I really liked the big traybake version too as it’s less time consuming than cutting out rounds. However, the little rounds would be perfect for a party! The bread was soft and light, and the fillings sweet and fruity
I’ve always said that making filo pastry from scratch is absolute madness and a pursuit only to be undertaken if you are a Great British Bake Off contestant. However secretly I have been harbouring a craving to make it myself. Just to see what it was like, out of curiosity more than anything. Now I live with my boyfriend I have so much more time at weekends (we used to live in different cities) so I have time for big baking projects like this. So I decide to make Fruit Strudel from scratch! Here’s what happened…
I decided to make a strudel as this is one of the most well known filo bakes so I thought it was a good place to begin. I started making the filo pastry by sieving plain flour into a bowl. In a separate bowl I beat egg with water, lemon juice and salt. The recipe told me to put the flour on the work surface (hence the photo above) and pour the egg mixture into it. This is a bad idea. I do not recommend it as it is stupidly messy. Just mix it in a bowl until a dough forms.
The dough will be quite wet, so knead it on a floured surface until it becomes smooth. This takes about 10 minutes. I oiled my hands to stop it sticking to them and found this quite effective.
I covered my dining table with an old, but clean, bed sheet. You could also use a tablecloth. You may get butter or fruit juice on it so don’t use your best linen. Then I floured it evenly and well.
I rolled out the dough as much as I could with a rolling pin, then covered it with a damp tea towel for 15 minutes. I used more flour and kept the dough moving so it wouldn’t stick to the sheet.
Then I started stretching! I pulled and stretched the dough gently, letting it stretch with its own weight. It wasn’t as hard as I imagined as it is naturally a very stretch dough. It did tear several times but I was expecting that so I wasn’t too concerned. It was hard to keep the edges thin and they stayed thicker all the way around.
After brushing melted butter all over the dough, I sprinkled it with a mixture of soft light brown sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon.
I then sprinkled it with blueberries, raspberries and apples. Using the bed sheet I rolled up the strudel gently and slowly.
I put it on a baking sheet and left it overnight in the fridge. The next day a lot of juice had released from the fruit, I mopped it up but I was concerned about how thin the pastry looked on top, how soggy it was on the bottom and how many holes there were in it all over.
So I made more filo pastry! I used half of the quantity and it stretched a lot better this time and I was much more careful about not making holes.
I re-covered the top and bottom with pieces of the new pastry. It wasn’t the neatest but I felt more confident that it wouldn’t fall apart when baking. If I hadn’t left it overnight, I probably wouldn’t have done this. I brushed it all over with melted butter to make it nice and golden when it baked.
It baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes. The fruit released a lot more juice, so I transferred it to a wire rack (with a tray underneath) to cool. You can of course serve it straight away, or let it cool then warm up later. I thought it tasted better hot.
I sliced the Fruit Strudel up and served it with custard (not homemade, come on… I’d done enough!) I was pleased with how well it had baked despite being left overnight, the filo was beautifully golden, layered nicely and there was a good proportion of fruit. In some areas like the ends there was too much pastry, but if you’re tucking it in to seal it you can’t really avoid this. I’d definitely add more spices if I make it again, but you could taste the cinnamon. It all got eaten up and I got some good comments from colleagues and family. Overall I was really proud of myself and it felt good to overcome this baking challenge!