Lemon Balm-Infused Lemonade

I planted Lemon Balm a few months ago and now it's beginning to take over my little garden plot! It smells so good, but sometimes I find it difficult to use. So, today I made some delicious Lemonade. It's an easy recipe and tastes the best with everything fresh, plus raw sugar vs. processed adds a better flavor. I added in two limes, used raw honey, and raw cane sugar. It was a perfect refresher! 

1 cup raw cane sugar
1 cup agave syrup/honey
3 cups fresh lemon balm leaves, slightly compacted in the measuring cup
3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
*I added in two limes as well. 

For Garnish
Thinly sliced lemons
Fresh lemon balm leaves
Plenty of ice
Combine four cups of water, the sugar and agave together in a 2-quart pot. Bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved, then remove from heat.

Add lemon balm leaves to the simple syrup, stir, and cover with a lid. Allow to infuse for about two hours or until the mixture is completely cool.
Strain the syrup through a fine sieve into a gallon glass jar or large pitcher. Discard wilted lemon balm.
Add lemon juice to the lemon balm-infused simple syrup and stir. Add 12 cups cold water. Taste and adjust as required. Add more agave if you find the lemonade too tart. Alternately, add more lemon juice if you prefer your lemonade on the puckery side.
Chill until ready to serve.
Serve over ice with a garnish of fresh lemon slices and fresh lemon balm. Enjoy!


Red Velvet Ganache Filled Cupcakes

yield: 12
3 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. Butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 Tbsp. red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 cup Milk
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Sift together the flour and the salt. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add one egg at a time. Set aside.
Whisk together the food coloring, vanilla and cocoa powder and add to the butter and sugar mixture.
Add 1/3 flour and 1/3 milk to the mixture. Mix thoroughly. Add the rest of the flour and milk.
Add baking soda and vinegar together in a small bowl. When it starts to react add it to the batter. 
Line cupcake pan and bake for 16-18 min. 

Ganache Filling

1 cup semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
4oz. butter

Cook on the stove until combined. When cupcakes are cool cut out he middle and pour in your ganache! Finish with your favorite frosting.