Cranberry Walnut Spice Scones

cranwal1

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.
cranwalcollage

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.
cranwal4

These scones are light and just barely sweet. Perfect for slathering in butter and honey or orange marmelade. Makes 16 minis or 8 standard.
cranwal5

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.
cranwal6

Irish Soda Bread, er, Tea Cake

IrishSoda3
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!
IrishSoda2
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.
IrishSoda5
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!
IrishSoda4

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.
ChocolateSpiceCake 1
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.
ChocolateSpiceCake01

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.
ChocolateSpiceCake03

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.

Buttermilk Onion Rye & Apple Chutney

Fall apple day trips. Always these problems start with that autumnal urge to harvest. Then you wind up with twelve pounds of apples on the kitchen table, wondering what the hell to do with them all.  A quick poll from friends and got a great suggestion from K. for apple chutney. Mmmm. Sounded yummy.

Chutney1Cmed

Then Karen happened, because what to put the chutney on? Oh, that onion rye bread would be delicious with a sweet and spicy topping. And maybe some cheese. And, poof! There went my Saturday!

OnionRye4Cmed
Three loaves for the neighbors!

 

Originally, I was going to post about the chutney. But I wasn’t super excited with the results. Honestly, it just had way too damn many raisins in it. And I wanted a stronger ginger and hot pepper taste. So, another day. My friend K. has excellent taste, so I know I just need a different recipe.    But this bread?! I love this bread. It is SO easy to make for a yeast bread,  and truly yummy.

OnionRye1Cmed

 

Make a sammich (with that chutney!), serve it in wedges with soup, put it on a cheese board. Yummy, moist, subtley oniony with that distinctive rye taste. Give this bad boy a whirl, you’ll be happy.

 

Ingredients
1 ½ c dark rye flour
2 ½ – 3c. AP flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp table salt
1 Tbsp yeast
1 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
¾ c. grated onion with juice (that’s about 1 medium white or yellow)
Instructions
Grate the onion in the food processor, if possible.
Put all the liquid ingredients in the bottom of the mixer with the dough hook attachment. Then all the dry.
Start on low, then once homogenous put to medium and knead for five minutes. The dough will be super springy and pretty sticky. It should hold its shape.
Grease a large bowl and the ball of dough, cover and let rise 1.5 hours. (Hint! Before putting the dough in the bowl, lightly oily your hands, too. Trust me on this – you’ll be glad.)
After the first proof, heavily dust your board with flour.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Get the proofed dough out of the bowl and onto the board. (Some will probably stick to the bowl.) Keeping everything covered with just enough flour not to stick to you or board, shape one oval or two boules. Get good surface tension, and place the loaves on the parchment.
Lightly dust with more flour. Cover and let rise another hour or so, til double.
Heat the oven to 375*.
Right before baking, score the loaves (and X, a square, parallel lines – whatever floats your boat.), and bake about 40m until dark brown and hollow when thumped (or 190* interior).
Remove from the oven, cool.
Notes
The loaf will be somewhat flattish (because the dough was so soft), but makes excellent sammiches and goes great with a hearty soup. Or with some cheese and chutney!
I love this recipe. The dough is sticky, but thankfully I have the KitchenAid, so I only have to deal with it putting in a bowl for the first rise, and shaping the loaf. Try this, for a yeast bread it’s super low-maintenance.
Adapted from Bob’s Red Mill Organic Dark Rye flour package recipe
serves 6
calories 425
fat 7
cholesterol 3mg
sodium 833mg
carbs 79g
-fiber 10g
-sugars 8g
protein 14g

Is it cheating?

Perhaps. But I don’t fucking care.

What are the herbs and spices you use all the time? You know, the go-to-can’t-cook-without-them ones. Your desert island selection.

Besides the obvious kosher salt and fresh black pepper, I think the two straight spices I use ALL the time are freshly grated nutmeg and thyme.  But there are three others that I have come to realize I cannot cook without.

Penzey'sBig3

And, no, I am not on their payroll. Although Himself is always after me to monetize my blog (yeah, right, with all three people who read it…)

But seriously – I use Sunny Paris with eggs, scrambled or poached/en cocotte. It is exquisite: échalotes et fines herbes. Yum.

 And the Buttermilk – besides the obvious (our dairy-free chipotle ranch dressing for taco salads), it is the secret ingredient in my cauli mash, which is our new Bill-friendly version of mashed potatoes that we eat at least twice a week.

But the star, the star of this little triology of corporate happiness is the Tuscan Sunset.   It turns ground turkey and tomatoes in to an absolutely fantastic sauce. Every time.  Brown the meat and some onion. Deglaze with a little wine. Add the TS and some San Marzano tomatoes. Twenty minutes and you’re in heaven. Promise. 

Are these a little spendy – yeah. But they last a ways. And, to have all the ingredients in Tuscany on hand would be more expensive than just getting the jar. 

One of these days I’ll post the how to for the mash and the sauce. In the meantime, ya’ll know I’m a huge proponent of cook it yourself, but we all need a little helper. And these three are mine.

T’s Birthday Cake

It’s an unpost this week. Just one pic of a mini triple chocolate layer cake for one my favorite co-worker’s birthdays.  This is Ina’s recipe (well, half a recipe, actually), and it is a smashing success every time. 

ChocCake1BC

 

I split the recipe in half, and used two 6″ layer pans.  Baking time was about 27 minutes total.  Once I’d removed the layers from the pan, I poked them with a toothpick and sprinkled them with Kahlua. Because Kahlua. 

I had some white and semi-sweet chocolate chips lying about, so I melted about 1/3 cup each in their own ziplock sammich sack in the ‘wave for about 30 seconds, then snipped off a corner to squeeze the tempered chocolates in to  this candy mold.  Ten minutes in the freezer, and poof! Cake decorations!  Plus, to demold the hearts, you get to WHACK the mold on the counter really hard and they just pop out. Fun!! (Directions come with the mold.)

This is my go-to cake recipe. People go nuts over it every time.  Give it a try.  

ralph lauren outlet,ralph lauren italia shop online,michael kors uk

Lemon Pistachio Vanilla Scones……can it get any better?

Big batch of buttery goodness

 

Lemon. Yum. When it comes to sweets, lemon really is my favorite.  Even more than chocolate.  A while back, S. at work asked if she could buy some scones from me for a family member in her 90’s.  I always say no to these requests – being paid takes away the fun – but it was really hard to refuse.  So, I found a vanilla scone recipe at Joy of Baking, and of course tweeked it a bit.  They turned out nicely, and the grandma sent me a hand-written thank you card. Got me a little verklempt. 

Mmmm...lemony goodness

Lemon Pistachio Scone

 

So…..today I made a double batch to take to work tomorrow, one for the office and one for S. to take to Grandma’s.
Bon appétit.
Boxed up and ready to go!

Lemon Pistachio Vanilla Scones
Yields 8
Tender and lemony - a delightful not-too-sweet treat for breakfast, brunch or an afternoon coffee.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
364 calories
49 g
55 g
16 g
6 g
8 g
103 g
181 g
23 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
103g
Yields
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 364
Calories from Fat 142
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
25%
Saturated Fat 8g
41%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 55mg
18%
Sodium 181mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates 49g
16%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 23g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
8%
Vitamin C
4%
Calcium
8%
Iron
5%
* 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. 2 cups AP flour
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 tsp. baking powder
  4. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  5. 1/4 tsp. salt
  6. Zest from 1/2 a lemon
  7. 1/2 c. unsalted butter, cold!
  8. 3/4 cup buttermilk
  9. 1 egg yolk
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped and mixed with the liquids).
For the glaze
  1. Zest of the other half of that lemon
  2. Juice of one lemon (about 3-4 Tbsp)
  3. 1 c. confectioner's sugar
For the garnish
  1. 1/2 c. pistachios, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400*.
  2. Line a standard size cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In your mixer or your food processer, put all the dry ingredients. Pulse a couple times to mix. Cube the cold butter and drop it in the dry mix. Pulse until the mix looks like coarse corn meal.
  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 (this dough is quite sticky), 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.
  6. Use the heavily floured knife to help life the triangles to the baking tray. The dough is really soft and will lose its shape if you try to just pick it up and move it with your hand. If the scones are a little flourly, don't worry about. You can brush that off after they bake, and the glaze will hide imperfections.
  7. Bake 20-22 minutes, until they are golden brown and sound hollow when thumped.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool almost completely.
  9. Make the glaze: mix the lemon zest, juice and confectioner's sugar. It should be the consistency of crepe batter.
  10. Use a pastry brush to glaze the scones (right in the pan, if you like) and while it is still wet sprinkle on the chopped pistachios. Gently press them in to the glaze so they stick.
  11. Serve.
  12. Best the same or the next day.
Adapted from Joy of Baking
beta
calories
364
fat
16g
protein
6g
carbs
49g
more
Adapted from Joy of Baking
Bucket of Yum http://bucketofyum.com/