a heck of a scone!

I think by now you all know that I really really like scones. There is something about a scone that brings a smile to my face… the smell of the batter as I knead the dough, the satisfaction of making those cute little triangles and then the absolute delight when they puff up and expand as they bake – pretty little packages that are meant to be consumed warm and fresh from the oven.

I’ve been eyeing the following scone recipe for quite some time… another tempting little diddy from the cheeseboard collective works. Every single one of their scone recipes has proven to be a success… so I honestly don’t know why I hadn’t grabbed the necessary ingredients and made a batch of their Apple Walnut Scones; but I hadn’t. I promise to rectify this and bake them again. And again. The intense smell of the raisins and apples had my mouth watering and my stomach rumbling as I was making these.

I did opt to use fresh chopped apples rather than using the 1 c. of dried apples that the original recipe called for. I think it’s really up to you – I had some apples on hand and really do enjoy the moistness they offer to baked goods. I substituted the white sugar for brown sugar as well (same amounts). Feel free to use the original recipe rather than my little “twist” on things :0)

I also ended up making them into smaller scones – but as usual with the cheeseboard’s scones – I assume that I would get 12 to 13 really decent sized scones. Or you can do like me and get a couple dozen out of the batter.

Apple Walnut Scones
ingredients:
3 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. salted butter, cold and grated, then frozen
1 c. (2 medium) apples, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 c. chopped walnut pieces
1/2 c. raisins
3/4 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. buttermilk

egg wash, brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon to top

Don’t preheat your oven, just line a baking pan with some parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Use your paddle attachment and stir on the lowest speed for about 30 seconds (everything is just combined).

Grab your grated butter out of the freezer and toss it into the bowl. Stir everything to combine – you’re dough will start to come together and resemble damp sand.

Take the apples, walnuts and raisins, and dump them into the middle of the batter and mix (always at low speed).

Make a well in the centre and pour the cream and buttermilk into the centre. You want to stir until everything comes together around the paddle attachment. Now with your hand, knead together the batter on a generously floured surface.

Roll the dough out into a rectangular shape, divide the dough in half lengthwise and then cut each piece into triangles.

Now… I know that you probably want to bake these babies right away… they smell great, look great and your stomach is rumbling right? But wait. Place them on the prepared cookie sheet and then put them in your freezer. 20 minutes in the freezer makes a world of difference… honestly, those 20 minutes could mean the difference between a fluffy scone and a flat one.

This is when you should preheat your oven to 375 F.

Don’t forget to egg wash the top of the uncooked scones and then sprinkle some brown sugar and cinnamon on top of each triangle. Now they’re ready to be baked: 15 – 20 minutes for the small scones or 25 – 30 minutes for regular sized scones.

Remove from the oven, allow to sit on the cookie sheet for another minute or two, them remove and cool completely on wire racks. Or do like me… and just eat one. You’ve waited long enough.

:0)

lemon and things

Winter feels like it is dragging on. Cold weather followed by snow… followed by some more snow. Sigh. Normally I would be embracing winter and would be skiing… but really, I just want to take my bike out and go for a good solid bike ride. Looking outside my window today my hopes are dashing… yes, it is snowing (again).

I decided to combat these winter blues by baking a loaf; and although banana loaves have been a comfort during the deep cold, I decided that I needed to spruce things up a bit. I needed new flavours that would fill my kitchen with fresh smells and remind me that spring really is just around the corner. And so I grabbed ingredients that brought the following to mind: exotic, hot weather and vacation :0)

The following quick bread filled the bill! My fingertips smelled like lemons after squeezing and zesting a couple of them. That bright, fresh, tart smell was exactly what I needed to bring a smile to my face and alleviate those winter blues. Add a whole lot of coconut and I felt as though I was in Thailand – sitting on the beach and eating fresh fruit while basking in the sun. Who would have thought baking a quick bread could do that?!

Lemon Coconut Quick Bread
ingredients:
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c. white sugar
1 3/4 c. finely shredded unsweetened coconut (don’t use sweetened, it’ll overpower the loaf)
2 eggs
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c. butter, melted

Heat your oven to 350 F. Grease your 9×5 loaf pan. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer (using your paddle attachment), mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the sugar and the coconut.

your batter

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla.

Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients, then pour in the egg mixture. Stir on your lowest speed until all the ingredients are just combined.

Add the melted butter and stir everything until smooth. This shouldn’t take more than 15-20 seconds.

batter before it goes into the oven

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 – 70 minutes. At 50 minutes cover the loaf with some tin foil so that it doesn’t dry out.

Let the bread cool on a wire rack for 10 – 15 minutes – then remove it from the pan and allow it to cool – or slice into it. Lasts for almost a week in an airtight container… so you can keep those winter blues at bay for quite some time! ;0)

a differnt kind of loaf

valentine’s treats




Remember rice krispy treats?

I can remember how much I loved pouring a bowl of the cereal, topping it with honey and then pouring cold milk on top… the honey hardens, your spoon needs to break through it in order to get a spoonful of the sugary goodness. Sigh. Or remember how excited you would get when your mom would whip up a batch of rice kripsy treats; the gooey stickiness of melted marshmallows and butter, slightly soft and still warm? Double sigh.

My inter-web surfing has made me realize that valentine’s day really is kind of a big deal in the foodie world… at least for bakers :0) And although I do love chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, I wanted to do something less on the romantic side and more on the… yummy side of things.

Hence these treats. Totally unoriginal (Joy the Baker is the real inspiration); but still totally cute and fun; these uncomplicated goodies will bring a smile to your face; and if you’re like me, bring you back to those happy childhood memories when a bowl of rice krispy’s were the perfect start to the day – or when rice kripsy treats made you ridiculously happy.

FYI… any cookie cutter will do – so if hearts aren’t your thing (or you’re anti valentine’s day) you can still make these… any shape and size is welcome!

Chocolaty Rice Krispy Treats
ingredients:
1/2 c. butter
1 bag (405g) mini marshmallows
7 c. rice kripsy cereal
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to overlap the sides (or grease VERY well with butter). Set aside.

In a medium bowl, measure out the 7 cups of rice kripsy cereal.

In a large sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter. Add the bag of mini marshmallows and stir (with a wooden spoon or ready stiff spatula) until they have completely melted.

Dump in the rice kripsies and stir until all the cereal is coated in the melted marshmallow goodness (I kept my sauce pan over the lower heat). While still hot, pour everything onto your pan. Press the cereal into an even layer – I used my fingers, moistening my fingertips with clean water to make the process a little easier and less messy.

Place your pan in the fridge and allow to cool – but you don’t want it to completely harden. I left mine for about 20 minutes.

Once cooled, remove the entire slab of rice krispies from the pan. I found that using the parchment paper made the removal of the slab very easy.

Grab your cookie cutter (mine ended up being a heart shaped one), and cut out as many shapes as you can get. Place the shaped krispies on another piece of parchment paper.

Once your treats are cut and prepped, melt your chocolate chips. Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a small amount (1/4 inch) of simmering water. Stir with a whisk to melt completely.

Now for the fun part… grab your shapes, dip the tops of them into the melted chocolate and then place (chocolate side up) back on the parchment paper. Once every shape has been dipped, return them to the fridge to allow to harden.

Sigh. Another delicious memory associated with rice krispies. Thank you Kellogg’s and Joy (the baker) :0)