It’s time for some fresh spring flavors. Here in Finland we still enjoy (not!) occasional heavy snowing, but nothing prevents from dreaming of sunny and warm spring days. And dreaming is much easier while spreading some of this tangy, sweet and sour spread on freshly-baked muffins. So great for breakfast… wakes you up! Or with afternoon coffee when in need of some energy.
Tips for making the frosting
Like always, grate just the yellow zest from lemon, avoid the white pith.
For the best quality frosting, be sure to choose the best quality yogurt as well. The thicker, the better. Preferably organic yogurt, if you can get. And last but not least: fat brings flavor, so forget the fat-free junk here.
If there is any whey floating on top of the yogurt, just pour it away or use it for other purposes. You want only that thick, rich yogurt to make the frosting thick and rich as well.
If you store the frosting it might also develop some whey on top. Pour the whey away or use it for other purposes. Again, you want only that thick, rich frosting. In any case, it’s not a bad idea to let the frosting stand in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavors burst into blossom.
If you strain the mixture for a few hours, you can pipe it. I always use coffee filter for straining the frosting, it’s simple and easy. You might want to prepare double amount of frosting, since at least I lost some 1/4 cup (60 ml) whey while straining. Moreover, thick frosting means also that you can pile a substantial amount of frosting on your muffin or cupcake.
|Nutrition information||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total:||8.7 g||22.8 g||11.1 g||283 kcal|
|Per serving, if 6 servings in total:||1.4 g||3.8 g||1.8 g||47 kcal|
|Per serving, if 8 servings in total:||1.1 g||2.9 g||1.4 g||35 kcal|
|Per serving, if 10 servings in total:||0.9 g||2.3 g||1.1 g||28 kcal|
|Per serving, if 12 servings in total:||0.7 g||1.9 g||0.9 g||24 kcal|
|Per serving, if 16 servings in total:||0.5 g||1.4 g||0.7 g||18 kcal|
|Per tablespoon:||0.5 g||1.4 g||0.7 g||18 kcal|
My experiments with the frosting
The idea for the frosting came from this recipe. I think I came across the photo via Foodie. Anyway, the Greek yogurt frosting caught my eye. I wanted to adapt my own — also healthy — version from the frosting. Since I try to avoid everything fat-free or even low-fat, the natural and the only option for the yogurt was full-fat Greek yogurt. Well, actually I ended up with Turkish yogurt, since I didn’t find organic Greek yogurt.
Sweetener, then. No agave for me, thanks. There is no reason to include it in my pantry. I decided to use liquid stevia. I wanted to avoid my other favorite sweetener, powdered Zsweet, because of the possible cooling effect of erythritol. Although in Zsweet the cooling effect is very tolerable compared to many other brands.
I also wanted to have some lemon and vanilla flavors in my frosting. In the original recipe the lemon zest was used as garnish, but I wanted to have more intensive and tangy lemon flavor — perfect for my dreams of warm and sunny spring. Suddenly I grasped that vanilla stevia gives both sweetness and vanilla flavor. No need to add vanilla extract or vanilla seeds. But lemon… If I add lemon juice, the frosting might turn out too runny. Lemon zest would be another great option, but will the tiny pieces of lemon zest disturb in the frosting? Well, no more dreaming, time to get down to work.
I was pondering what would be the best amount of yogurt. The original recipe called for 6 oz (170 g) yogurt. I tried my first experiment with 4 oz (115 g) yogurt, which was just the right amount for testing. Actually, I was planning to consume my first experiment for breakfast, not as frosting… For sweetening I added 10 drops vanilla stevia and 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed organic lemon juice. The result: fresh, tangy taste with a hint of vanilla and slightly too runny consistency. Just like I had expected.
Well, I had been thinking of straining the mixture for some hours to make the consistency thicker. That I was still planning to do. But before that, I wanted to try out my idea of adding lemon zest for flavor. I took 8 oz (230 g) Turkish yogurt, added 40 drops vanilla stevia and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Oh yum! What a perfect taste! Using a grater with small enough holes solved the problem with the grainy mouthfeel of the lemon zest.
At some point I was wondering how lime, orange or red grapefruit zest might suit instead of lemon zest. I tried the frosting with lime zest and the flavor was nice and fresh, but my yearning for spring needed sunny, yellow lemon.
I still did a couple of experiments with straining the mixture. First I added some lemon juice for the lemon flavor. After straining the mixture for overnight, the consistency was sublime and thick. The lemon flavor, however, was too dull and somehow monotonous (that’s the word which first came into my mind…) compared to lemon zest, which in turn opened up the whole new, elegant world of lemon flavor. The very first photo in this blog post is about the strained frosting.
Tips for variation
In case you don’t like the tiny pieces of lemon zest in the frosting, or if you are not in the mood for grating any lemon, please feel free to substitute lemon flavor for the lemon zest. 1 teaspoon flavor worked for me. Well, it’s not precisely authentic, but quite close.
You can give the frosting some springlike color by adding at maximum 1 pinch (1 ml) ground organic turmeric or some yellow food coloring. That’s what I have done in the photo below. I mean if you really can see, it’s not the best photo on earth. Don’t use too much turmeric, though, since it might give some unwanted flavor.
Lime gives also fresh and elegant flavor. Just replace the lemon zest with lime zest. Use the whole green zest of one small lime. Again, avoid the white pith. Please feel free to experiment with other citrus fruits as well.
And yes, you already guessed that: you can use the strained frosting as filling in whoopie pies. My everlasting low-carb whoopie pie addiction…