Cranberry Walnut Spice Scones

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Oh, it’s been a while my lovelies. I don’t think I’ve made scones in a year.
Mainly it’s Himself’s sugar restrictions, that plus reining myself in. But Fall is coming. Pumpkin spice lattes are saturating the atmosphere. Made some pumpkin bread last week for our respective offices, but then my contrary nature just refused to make a pumpkin scone.
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But, honestly, what is it about pumpkin pie, or pumpkin bread, or lattes – that orange bit itself is pretty tasteless. But the spice? Oh, yes. The spice. That’s where the magic is.
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These scones are light and just barely sweet. Perfect for slathering in butter and honey or orange marmelade. Makes 16 minis or 8 standard.
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Ingredients
1 ¾ c. AP flour
¼ c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ c. cold butter, cubed
¾ c. buttermilk
1 egg, separated –white lightly whisked.
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Sparkle sugar (or granulated sugar)

Preheat oven to 425*.
1. Line a standard size cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix the dry. Cube the cold butter and drop it in the dry mix. Cut it in until it is after pea-sized but not yet coarse crumb.
3. Stir in the nuts and cranberries.
4. Whisk together the egg yolk, vanilla and buttermilk.
5. Flour your counter, barely stir the liquid in to the dry, then put it on your floured counter to barely, gently work the dough to a cohesive ball. With plenty of flour on your hands, gently, gently flatten the ball in to a disc about 8″ across and 1″ high. (or, divide the ball in two and flatten both those in to discs about 1″ high). Heavily flouring your board knife or a large chef’s knife, cut the circle in to 8 triangles. (Or you can make two 6” discs for 16 minis.)
**A Karen lazy step here is, I actually put my parchment on the counter and use it to help form the dough, then cut the scones directly on it, and slide it on to the cookie sheet.
6. Brush the tops and backs (not the sides) with the egg white, sprinkle with sparkle sugar.
7. Bake 425* 15-18 mins until golden brown.
8. Cool slightly, slather in butter and munch.
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Irish Soda Bread, er, Tea Cake

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I tried a new ciambella recipe a while back, and found myself thinking, “hey, ciambella is like Italian Irish soda bread!” Which of course planted that seed and here we are. I’d never actually eaten or made Irish soda bread until a couple of years ago. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the actual loaf was nothing like I’d envisioned. Imagine a giant, moist scone. With currants and orange zest. (Unless of course you are a soda bread purist, in which case you will insist that including fruits actually make it a tea cake. ) Regardless of nomenclature, let’s settle on delicious. This freezes great. It’s easy to make, and even more fun to give to the neighbors. No one cooks anymore, so home made things always elicit the most enthusiastic responses in my experience. And this is easy-peasy!
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I like to use currants instead of raisins simply because they’re smaller, so you get lots of little raisin bites instead of big blobs of raisin. I also like to soak my currants in hot water with a little vanilla before I start to bake with them. It adds a nice dimension and texture to the flavor profile. So, you’ll need some almost speciality ingredients for this – currants, buttermilk, real sweet cream butter. Because those ARE the flavor of the bread, using the real deal will make a significant difference. I will even go so far as to say if you don’t plan to use real butter, you shouldn’t plan on making this. It is that important.
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This is roughly fifteen minutes to get in the oven, then you just have to wait. Oh, and have a house that smells awesome. Once it’s cool, slice yourself a big chunk and enjoy it with even more butter slathered on it, along with some orange marmelade or honey and lovely strong cup of Irish breakfast tea with milk and sugar. MMMMM. Heaven!
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Irish Soda Bread
In a heat-safe bowl, stir together and set aside:
1 c. currants
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. boiling water
Preheat the oven to 375*. Line the base of an 8” round cake pan with parchment.
In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix to combine:
4 c. AP flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. table salt

Slice ½ a stick of butter in to its 4 tablespoons, and toss it in the dry. (Yes, cold.) mix on medium until it looks like bread crumbs.
In a another bowl or 2-4 c. pyrex measuring cup (because spouts! yeah!) , whisk together:
1 large egg
1 ¾ c. buttermilk
Zest of one orange (about 2 Tbsp.)

Drain the currants. Toss them and the liquid in to the flour and just barely mix it together.
Flour your board (counter) and dump the dough mixture out. Just barely work it until you have a nice ball.
Set the ball in the lined pan. With a sharp knife, mark a deep (like a ½” deep cut) cross or X on the top of the ball.
Bake around 50 minutes. It should be a deep dark brown and sound hollow when you thunk it.
Definitely let this cool all the way before slicing it, or you will have a big pile of chunky crumbs. And, when you do slice it, make them thick ¾” – 1” slices; slices too thin will just fall apart. Or, you could just make wedge slices.
This is truly a delight – not too sweet, full of buttery orangey goodness with lots of little currants. YUM!

Spicy Chocolate Loaf Cake

ChocolateSpiceCake03I came across a really intriguing recipe on Pinterest a few months back, it said for a Starbuck’s Chocolate Cinnamon Bread. Thing is, I have never seen this chez Star Chuck’s. Maybe it was a regional release, maybe it was a long time ago, I don’t know. But, I made it and we loved it. It was delicious, but I decided if I made it again I wanted more spice. And more chocolate.
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Then I forgot about it. Until last week. I was out of cocoa powder. (What?!? I know, right?) After some browsing on the interwebs, I decided to take a chance on Valrhona alkali processed cocoa powder. I’d always been a loyal Droste girl. Ever baked with Dutch processed cocoa instead of regular cocoa? It’s a huge difference – you know how some cakes and brownies have that deep, dark, almost black color and rich chocolate taste? That’s from the alkalized cocoa; that cocoa is essential for this cake. Go nuts and use Valrhona or just buy some Hershey’s Special dark cocoa powder at the grocery.
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This is a lovely, densely chocolate indulgence. The spice adds a lovely warmth without outshining the chocolate or being obvious. The chocolate chips make it decadent. The sugar spice on top lends a wonderful, crunchy top layer that is a fantastic contrast to the rich chocolate interior. Have a slice with afternoon coffee. If you want to go over the top, warm it up ever so slightly so the chocolate chips are a bit melty. Or, you can make it dinner party dessert-worthy and dress it up with some spiced whipped cream* and a salted caramel sauce.
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Ok. Chocolate cake. Let’s do this:

Double Chocolate Spice Cake
Makes two 9” loaves
Based on this recipe I found through Pinterest – http://www.tablefortwoblog.com/starbucks-chocolate-cinnamon-bread/

for the cake:
1.5 c. butter
3 c. sugar
2 c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 c. dutch process cocoa powder
¼ c. warm water
1 c. buttermilk
5 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

for the topping:
¼ c sugar
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp turbinado or sparkle sugar, if you have it.

Grease and flour the pans then line each loaf pan with parchment. Preheat oven to 350*. Mix together the topping.
In the mixer bowl with the paddle, mix the flour, sugar, spices salt, leavening and butter. Mix on low until it resembles moist, clumpy crumbs. While that is mixing, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together first the chocolate and water, then the eggs, vanilla and buttemilk. Add the wet to the dry and mix on high for about 30 seconds. Add in the chocolate chips and give it a quick whirl.
Divide the batter between the pans, smooth the top. Sprinkle evenly and generously with all the spiced sugar topping.
Bake 50-60m. until a tester comes out clean. Cool to just warm, then remove from the pans to finish cooling.

Cool complete before slicing. Seriously. Or it will look like raccoons tried to eat your baking. Unless you live by yourself, in which case have at ‘cuz this is luscious warm.

**Now, to make that whipped cream… You can even do this a day or two ahead and keep it in the fridge. Just don’t eat all of it, because it’s amazing. You need heavy whipping cream for this. Commit to the indulgence – nothing else will do. For each 8oz of heavy whipping cream, in a glass measuring cup or small saucepan mix 1 tsp of unflavored gelatin with 4 tsp of water. When the gelatin is thickened, heat the mixture on low while stirring until it is clear (or 20 seconds at a time in the nuker), and cool it to room temp. You want it pourable, not set up. In a chilled mixing bowl, whip the 8oz of heavy cream with about 1/4c powdered sugar and the spice (1/2 tsp. of cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice, or Chinese five-spice powder). When it starts to thicken a little, slowly drizzle in the liquid gelatin while mixing. Keep whipping it on high until it becomes dull instead of shiny, and looks like, well, thick whipped cream. If you take this too far, you will wind up with butter so don’t go nuts. This stuff is so stable you can frost cakes with it, and it will keep for DAYS in the fridge. Just one caution – cover it tightly, you don’t want it to absorb the flavor of whatever’s next to it on the shelf. And! do not.stir it when you take it out of the fridge. Just scoop and go. Stirring will pop all those tiny bubbles you worked so hard to incorporate to make it fluffly. Whenever I make the pumpkin pie spice one. people seriously just start shamelessly eating it out of the bowl with a spoon. It’s that yummy.

Ciambella

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So, we were fast approaching the day when all are Irish. I made soda bread for the first time last year, and it was not anything like I’d expected. It was like a giant scone that you slice. So, since I have that other blog deal now, I did the Irish for that. But that made me think about ciambella – an Italian breakfast cake. Lemony, not too sweet. A little dry so you can schmear it with yummy jam or dip it in your cappucino. It’s like Italian soda bread, really.
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What do I love most about this? The rich buttery taste? The crunchy pearl sugar? The soft, lemony insides? I can never decide. But a hunk of this with some strawberry jam, and I am one happy, crumb-covered monster. This would be amazing with some whipped cream, too. I keep wanting to try it with orange. Or grapefruit. But hey – it’s citrus season. Maybe I’ll do that one next time.

This is an adaptation of a recipe from Mario Batali, and the freaking genius uses a food processer.
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I know I’ve been away. I took hiaitus through mid-February. When I tried to come back, I discovered the dark, seedy underbelly of having a blog. My site had been corrupted by some dickweed embedding some malicious code. Hacked through a vulnerability in my theme, and possibly through the recipe plug-in I’d been using. The Yum was flagged. I couldn’t even get in – we tried many different ways over a couple of weeks, but in the end the bastard had us beat. We had to pay our hosting site a fee (that we call a ransom) to remove it. I’m still pissed – feeling that violated, and unable to do anything was beyond maddening. Sooo….yeah. That’s where I’ve been. It’s still not right – look at this ugly theme, for now. But I want to be up and running again, and will tweak the pretties over a little time. In the meanwhile, please enjoy some ciambella.
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Brilliant!
Buon appetito!

2 c. AP flour
½ c. sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter
1 egg
¼ tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
¼ c. buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. pearl sugar & 1 tbsp. milk or water
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a shallow tube pan (like a baba au rhum pan), or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Put the dry ingredients in the food process, pulse to combine.
Add the butter cubes, pulse until it looks like polenta.
Mix everything but the pearl sugar, pour it in the food processor, and pulse until you have dough.
It will be very stiff – like cookie dough. Pull it out, and roll it into a log about 2” thick. You can circle it in to the tube pan, or you can make it look like a giant doughnut on the parchment. You could also shape it in to a loaf about 3” wide and 8” long.
Once it’s shaped, brush it with the milk or water and sprinkle it with the pearl sugar.
Bake about 30-35 mins until golden and a tester comes out clean.
Cool and eat!
SERVINGS – 10
NIciambella

Cookies! Black Walnut Maple Sandwiches

 

Sliced refrigerator cookies are the only way to fly!
Sliced refrigerator cookies are the only way to fly!

These cookies have been on my mind for a long time. The walnut refrigerator cookie was one of the first on my Christmas Cookie Pinterest board.  Then I saw the black walnuts at Costco and that was it.

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Typically for Christmas sandwich cookies, I make them with pistachio and then fill them with home made pistachio cream (which is essentially steamed pistachio nuts creamed with a little oil and sugar. It’s a green orgasm in a jar, but I digress.) But, this year I wanted something new and when I saw those nuts, the pairing of black walnut and maple came to mind.

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So, what is maple cream? Or Maple butter? Here’s a link on how to do it, but essentially it’s pure maple syrup that’s heated and then whipped at a certain temperature.  It’ll hella dear, though, so don’t have a heart attack.  It also lasts forever, so for a cookie filling it will go a long way.

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Himself likes the cookies plain, without the maple. He thinks that brings out too much of the earthiness in the nuts.  But, since I like that, we’ll have to disagree.

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Happy Cookie Season, ya’ll.

Black Walnut Maple Sandwich Cookies
Yields 55
Crisp, earthy black walnut sablé sandwiched with real maple cream.
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Prep Time
1 hr 10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Prep Time
1 hr 10 min
Cook Time
12 min
62 calories
6 g
17 g
4 g
1 g
2 g
13 g
13 g
3 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
13g
Yields
55
Amount Per Serving
Calories 62
Calories from Fat 33
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
6%
Saturated Fat 2g
9%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 17mg
6%
Sodium 13mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 6g
2%
Dietary Fiber 0g
1%
Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
0%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. Ingredients
  2. 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  3. 2/3 cup sugar
  4. 2 large egg yolks
  5. 1/4 tsp salt
  6. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  7. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 3/4 c. black walnuts, chopped pretty fine (not minced, tho)
  9. Whites from the eggs
  10. Sparkle sugar
  11. old wrapping paper cardboard tube, or a couple of paper towel tubes, sliced once lengthwise with scissors to open it up.
Instructions
  1. Whip the butter and sugar until smooth and lightened. Add egg yolks, salt, and vanilla; Mix on high for 30 seconds until combined. Add the flour and salt, mix on med until combined. Add the nuts, give a quick couple of whirls to mix them in.
  2. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter, about 18" long. Take the dough and make it in to a log about 15" long and 1.5-2" in diameter (or the diameter of the paper towel tube if your're using one.)Wrap it up tightly, slide it in to the tube (this keeps the round shape) and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to a week. Or, freeze it for up to three months.
  3. When you're ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350* and line your cookie sheets with parchment.
  4. Remove the dough from the sleeve, unwrap, slice into ¼” thick disks with a VERY sharp knife.
  5. Arrange 1/2" apart (these barely spread when baking) brush with the left over eggwhite and sprinkle with the sparkle sugar.
  6. Bake 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges.
  7. Cool, spread one side with maple cream and sandwich cookies together.
  8. Keeps in a sealed tin for a week, easy. But they won't last that long.
Notes
  1. You can make the cookies a couple of weeks ahead of time, but don't sandwich with the maple cream until you're ready to eat them or give them away.
Adapted from Martha's Sablés
beta
calories
62
fat
4g
protein
1g
carbs
6g
more
Adapted from Martha's Sablés
Bucket of Yum http://bucketofyum.com/

Ginger Raisin Spice Bread

So I want to call this pumpkin ginger raisin spice bread, but just can’t. I’m still trying to use up the 8 cups of cooked pumpkin I batch froze back in September with that ill-fated grocery store pumpkin buy. I just cannot bring myself to just throw it out. It is not very orange and does not taste very pumpkin-like. 

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I learned my lesson, and have four sugar pumpkins from Willcox waiting to be cooked and bagged. But I know myself, if I cook those now that poor grocery pumpkin will have died for naught, collecting freezer burn in his zippy back way in the back. But I digress.  I cannot make pie with this shit, so I decided on a pumpkin bread. Only with lots of flavor additions like candied ginger, raisins and spices.  

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When I buy the candied ginger, I actually have to hide it from Himself. It’s like crack. Or maybe cryptonite, that and australian black licorice.  Ok! On to the bread – this is another of those one-bowl wonders, and is really quick. 

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See what I’m saying? Hell, the piece of candied ginger looks more orange than this bread. Stupid pumpkin.

 

I hope you try this, and use good pumpkin! This would be equally tasty with an equivalent amount of grated fresh zucchini in place of the pumpkin. 

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I love this glaze, too. It’s the usual orange zest/juice with icing sugar and the loverly addition of some more of that pumpkin pie spice. This is a scrumptious fall treat – I hope you try it!
Ingredients
For the batter
2 c sugar
2 c pumpkin puree
2/3 c veg oil
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 c AP flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ c raisins
¼ c minced candied ginger
for the topping
zest & juice of half an orange
2 Tbsp water
1.5-2 c. powdered sugar
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ c. minced candied ginger to garnish

Instructions
Spray the bottom of each loaf pan and line it with parchment. Preheat oven to 350*.
Throw everything but the ginger/raisins In the mixer bowl with the paddle, give it a whirl on medium until it’s all mixed. Add the ginger/raisins and give a quick spin to mix them in.
Divide the batter between the pans.
Bake 50-60m. until a tester comes out clean. Cool to just warm, then remove from the pans.
While they are cooling, mix together the glaze. It should be the consistency of thin pancake batter. When they are just warm to your palm, pour half the glaze of the tops of the loaves and use a pastry brush to spread it all over, including the sides. Next, drizzle the remaining glaze and sprinkle the tops with the garnish candied ginger.
Cool completely before slicing.
By Karen Maginnis
Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Best of Baking (MacMillan, 1997)
serves 16
calories 364
fat 11g
cholesterol 47mg
sodium 23mg
carbs 64g
-fiber 2g
-sugars 42g
protein 5g

Cranberry Orange Loaf Cake

There are certain flavor combinations that just make me so happy. Roast beef and horseradish. Goat cheese and roasted beets. Hard boiled eggs with balsamic vinaigrette. Lemon and blueberry. And, cranberry with orange. 

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I was *so* excited to see the cranberries had arrived at Costco last week. I wish I had room in my freezer to buy like three bags. They keep a long time in there! Of course, I immediately wanted to make C-O scones. But, you know, that’d be attempt number three and even for my obsessive nature it was a bit much. So, the interwebs led me to lots of possible recipes. Saw one at the Oceanspray site and thought, alright alright alright. That should be reputable……

 

 

This was one of those “oh, shit!” recipes. You know, where have something started or in process and there is a critical problem? I had measured out and mixed all the dry and was getting ready to add the fat – in this case, butter – when I saw it called for 4 tablespoons.  For four cups of flour and two of sugar. Plus a cup of orange juice and a couple of eggs. Holy shit. This was going to be a seriously dry log – something to make a ciambella look like a pudding. Fuck a duck. So, I had to scramble for similar recipes and found a blueberry lemon cake to base the. uh, mid-recipe adjustment needed to not wind up with a giant dry crumb from the oven. 

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….Himself, looking over my shoulder, “well, that looks like a bowl of whalp.” Feel the love, people. Feel the love.

Even with the addition of more butter, more buttermilk and egg, this batter was still so stiff it held the beater in position when I popped the bowl off the kitchenaide.

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Once it came out of the oven, I knew things worked out. It tastes great – so, whew! Crisis averted. And, wtf Oceanspray?

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This is a lovely tea cake, buttery with a tender crumb, a sweet citrusy glaze and the zam! pow! tartness of those fresh cranberries.  You are really going to enjoy this one! Have it with a cup of coffee in the afternoon, or dress it up with some orange whipped cream and a cranberry coulis for dessert. YUM!
For the cake
3 c. fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
4 c AP flour
2 c sugar
zest of an entire orange (about 3Tbsp)
1 c butter
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1.25 c buttermilk
juice from the orange (about 1/4c)
1 tsp vanilla
For the glaze
zest and juice of one orange
1.5-2 c powdered sugar
Instructions
Chop the cranberries coarsely.
Mix in the mixer bowl the flour, sugar, zest, salt and leavening.
Add in the butter, mix on medium.
When the dry/fat mix looks like coarse cornmeal, stop the mixer. Pour in the wet. Just barely spin the beater a couple of times to mix. Stop.
Pour in the chopped cranberries, and again just barely spin the beater to mix them in.
Split this VERY thick batter between the two pans, and bake 60-70 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
Let cool ten or fifteen minutes while you make the glaze.
Combine the juice, zest and powdered sugar in a bowl and get out a pastry brush. It should be the consistency of crepe batter (or elmer’s glue if you’ve not made crepes.)
When the pans are just cool enough to touch, get a butterknife, and slide it down and along the sides of the cakes to make sure all the sides (and especially the corners!) are loosened and not stuck. Then whack the sides of the pan with you hand to make sure that puppy is ready to pop out and gently depan the cake. (I usually put my clean silicone oven mit across the top, invert it, lift off the pan and then set the cake on the cooling rack.)
Once you’ve got them both on the rack, put a cookie sheet underneath it. Use the pastry brush to brush away any loose crumb.
Pur about a ¼ of the icing on each cake and work wicked quick with the pastry brush to sloppily coat the top and sides with the glaze. Now, let the cakes cool. Cover the remaining glaze with some cellophane and go read some food blogs for an hour or two. When the cakes are cool, artfully drip the remaining glaze on each. You can sprinkle garnish on top of this glaze if you like (candied orange peel, sparkle or pearl sugar, colored sugars or sprinkles). Once the glaze dries, you can wrap these puppies in wax paper, or slice and devour. This will freeze beautifully.
Notes
This makes two 9″x5″ or four 8″x3″ loaves.

serves 16
calories 408
fat 13g
cholesterol 79mg
sodium 376mg
carbs 67g
-fiber 2g
-sugars 41g
protein 6g

Rocky Road Brownies

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Rocky road brownies – not the most attractive viewed from above….

A pair of one-bowl wonders these are.  I was out of cocoa. (Le gasp, right? I couldn’t believe it either.) And it was like 10pm, so World Market was closed (which is about the only place in Tucson you can find Droste cocoa.) So I inquired chez my Amazon overlords.  Whilst browsing through a surprisingly large selection of alkali-processed cocoa, I came across some Valrhona. A two pound bag. Yes, to some this would be an unnatural quantity but not to me. I clicked it and two days later was opening the box.  Of course brownies would be the obvious test, followed by Ina’s chocolate cake. But this weekend, brownies.  I just bought a bag of minimarshmallows last week. (What? Stop looking at me like that. Hot chocolate season is upon us, people!)  

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Marshmallows….mmmmm……chocolate…mmmm…..nuts in the cupboard, too. Wouldn’t Rocky Road be fun! I’ve seen it tons in the foodie verse but of course when I actually went and looked  I wasn’t thrilled by the recipes I found.  Eventually I settled on a not-too-complicated one; I just needed a little fudginess to hold everything together.  I really wanted to find that brownie glaze from my childhood that everyone’s mom used to make – you the the shiny one, that formed a crust on the top? Encountered an epic fail in THAT Googlequest. If you know one, please share!

Well, these were QUITE the hit. Co-workers loved them. Himself’s co-workers loved them. Facebook frieds asked for the recipe. It’s been a very exciting time!

Rocky Road brownies - much more attractive from the side.
Rocky Road brownies – much more attractive from the side.

These were not hard. And you can make each in just one microwavable bowl.  Make these immediately – you will so be the belle of the ball. Trust me. 
Ingredients
For The Batter
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/3 c. AP flour
1/2 c. dutch-process cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
For the Frosting
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cocoa
Mixed it til homogenous, then
Mix in
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1⁄2cups powdered sugar
3/4 c. mini marshmallows
3/4 c chopped toasted walnuts**
For the brownies
Preheat oven to 350*. Coat inside of 9x9x2 square pan with cooking spray. Take a sheet of parchment paper 9″ wide, and make an Alton Brown-style brownie sling.
Put the butter in a microwave safe bowl for about a minute until it is almost liquid.
Add the sugar and vanilla, and mix on high for about 30 secs.
Add the eggs, mix on high about 30 secs.
Sift in the rest of the dry, stir just til combined and spread in the pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until tester comes out clean. You will see the brownies pulling a little from the edge. DO NOT OVER BAKE.
Cool 10 minutes, loosen the non-parchment side and *gently* lift the brownies from the pan for slicing.
For the Frosting
Boil together (I just did this in the microwave, two one-minute bursts did it.) the butter, water & cocoa.
Use a hand mixer, mix it til homogenous, then mix in vanilla & powdered sugar
This will be about the consistency of thick pancake batter. That is perfect, you don’t want it stiff like a frosting.
Stir in the nuts & mini marshmallows
Spread very quickly over brownies. It dries/cools fast and won’t spread. Although honestly you could put the whole brownie pan back in the still-warm oven for a couple minutes, then take it out and spread it if it cooled and set before you could spread it out.
Notes
**spread the chopped nuts on the cookie tray, and pop them in the oven after/during the brownies. Bake about five minutes, give them a stir and then five more minutes. They should smell toasty. Watch them so they don’t burn.
And, hey! These are seriously rich. I sliced the 9″ square three-by-three, then sliced each brownie square diagonally into two triangles. That was just the right size, so that’s where the yield of 18 comes from. Eat a whole one at your own diabetic coma risk.

serves 18
calories 179
fat 11
cholesterol 39mg
sodium 44mg
carbs 20g
-fiber 1g
-sugars 11g
protein 3g

Crumb Cake Muffins

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Yesterday my friend M. (who has found great love and happiness far away in England) posted a picture of a crumb cake she’d made for tea. It looked divine.  I could not get the thought of that crumb topping out of my mind. You know, the kind with the big clumps of crumb that almost take over the cake and that explode into crunchy, sugary, salty, buttery goodness when you bit into them, and leave a powdery, sugary mess everywhere? Yeah, that.

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Our Google Overlords led me to an America’s Test Kitchen recipe. It’s got a lot of steps.  It’s a pain in the ass. But, my. There are times it’s worth it, and this is one.

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My only kvetch was that the first time I made these, the cake was a little dry the next day, I’m sure due to the fact that I made muffins instead of the cake. So, now I just add a little veg oil, for moisture insurance.

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Himself and I both took these to the office, and they were a big hit. What is awesome about this recipe (beside all.that.crumb.topping!), is that it’s not too sweet.

Enjoy. Goddess knows we sure did!
For the crumb topping
½ c. white sugar
½ packed dark brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinannmon
12 tbsp melted butter
2 ¼ c. AP flour
2 Tbsp corn starch**
For the cake, dry
2 c. + 2 Tb AP flour
2 Tb corn starch
¾ c white sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
8 Tbsp butter
For the cake, wet
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
½ c. buttermilk
1.5 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
plus powdered sugar to dust on top
Instructions
Preheat oven to 325*. Line muffin pan(s) with cupcake liners.
Throw all of the crumb incredients in the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix until crumbly. It should hold large chunks of crumb. Set aside in another bowl.
Still in the mixer with the paddle attachment, mix all the dry ingredients on low (yes that includes the butter) until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Then, pour in the wet and whip on med-high for a minute. It should look like thick frosting.
Scoop a heaping soup spoon of batter in to each cup. It should it a little less than halfway. Then, top with the crumb mixture. I found I needed to smoosh it a little to make the big chunks before I put it on the batter. However it clumps here is how the finished product will look, so……
Bake about 25 minutes, or until barely golden and a tester tests clean.
Cool and dust with powdered sugar.
Notes
If you don’t want muffins, this will make one 9×13 pan of breakfast cake.
** The original recipe called for cake flour. I don’t keep that on hand, so I use a little less flour and add in some corn starch. Link to the original if you want to use the cake flour.
By Karen Maginnis
Adapted from From an ATC recipe posted on Food.com

serves 24
calories 238
fat 11
cholesterol 41mg
sodium 138mg
carbs 31g
-fiber 1g
-sugars 12g
protein 3g

Fig Orange Scones with Toasted Hazelnuts

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What’s this? A scone post on the Yum? Inconceivable!

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I was wondering how this flavor combination would work, so thought we’d give it a whirl.

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The answer? Delicious.

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 Honestly, if I make these again I think I’ll soak the fig slices for a few minutes in some warm water with the spices, orange zest and vanilla.  Himself said, “What?! Not brandy?” But the fact that he’s a smart ass is why I love him.

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Autumn is coming. Time for some scones. 

For the wet
1 ¼ c buttermilk
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
For the dry
3 c flour
3/8 c sugar
1.5 sticks butter
2 tsp bkg pwd
¾ tsp bkg soda
1/2 tsp salt
For the fruit
1 c. cut dried black fibgs, quarterd and tossed with
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
zest of half an orange
For the glaze
2 c pwd sugar
zest of half an orange
juice of 1 orange
For the topping
1 c. chopped toasted hazelnuts
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375*.
Line a cookie tray with parchment.
Flour your work surface.
In a small bowl, whisk together the wet.
In a larger bowl, mix the dry.
Cut in the butter to the dry ingredients. A pastry cutter will yield a flakier scone; a food processor or mixer will yield a cakier one.
Add the fruit.
Barely combine the wet in to the dry/fruit mixture.
Turn contents on to floured board and gently, just barely knead it to a dough.
Split dough, shape each half half in to a 7″ disc about 1″ high.
With a sharp, floured knife, slice each disc in to 8 or so wedges.
Place the scones about 1″ apart on the lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20mins, until golden.
While baking, whisk together the glaze.
*Immediately* after removing the scones from the oven, brush them with 1/2 the glaze.
Allow them to mostly cool, then brush with the second layer of glaze and immediately top with the chopped nuts.
Notes
(if I do this again, I want to soak the fig slices in warm water with the spices, vanilla & some orange)

serves 18
calories 312
fat 13
cholesterol 32mg
sodium 138mg
carbs 46g
-fiber 2g
-sugars 28g
protein 4g