scones

The baking crew was back at it again.

This time we decided on scones.20130207-173908.jpg

I know … you're probably wondering … from bagels to brioche to pie to doughnuts to scones???

We usually pick an untested, untried recipe and aim for passable success. This time we stuck with a well known classic.

We decided to do this for a couple of reasons:

We were all a little yeasted out. We wanted needed a little break from having to use it.

Plus … we wanted to see how Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel’s Bouchon Bakery scones would be like.

Our challenge was pretty simple: bake the Bouchon Bakery plain scone; and then make a second scone, each of us letting loose and picking *another* flavour.

Keller & Rouxel offer a few options in their book: chocolate cherry scones, cinnamon honey scones, and bacon cheddar scones.

After considerable deliberation, I opted to create my own scone flavour: grapefruit coconut scones.

Which worked out well since Meredith tried the cinnamon honey scones, Cory opted for the bacon cheddar scones, and Tom & Aimee presented us with chocolate orange scones.

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A nice little balance of flavours.

Now you might wonder … why the heck would all of us bake the plain scones? And using the exact same recipe?!

I’m glad you asked!

It turns out it was a great opportunity for us to talk about what worked well … and to see the different results we all ended up with… because we really did end up with very different scones.

Meredith and my scones didn’t seem to rise; whereas Cory, Tom & Aimee’s scones rose beautifully.

The recipe called for creme fraiche: Meredith used it, I replaced it with sour cream. Meredith also opted for an unsalted butter: I used salted butter. These scones are so plain and simple (honestly, this recipe is uber basic) you could taste the difference. The salty difference.

Tom & Aimee replaced the creme fraiche with a soy alternative and tossed in vanilla seeds: the vanilla wasn’t really very pronounced … but it sure did look pretty.

Cory completely disregarded the original recipe when making his scones; they reminded us all of a cross between a biscuit and a scone (they were absolutely delicious).

After sampling the plain scones we dug into the flavoured ones.

Meredith’s cinnamon honey scones were insanely delightful. They were buttery with a hint of sweetness. Totally worth the effort of making the cinnamon honey butter. I’ve also decided that I love these scones so much that I want to make them myself … and perhaps turn them into a bread pudding of sorts … don’t be surprised if you see a blog post in that vein soon :0)

Tom & Aimee’s chocolate orange scones were the perfect balance of both flavours. They used a bit of chocolate liqueur as well as enough orange juice to basically replace the cream in the recipe. They were then topped with more chocolate glaze. The perfect scone to sit down and enjoy over a cup of coffee.

Cory went big: bacon cheddar scones. Who doesn’t love that flavour combo? They were also dense enough that they would be the absolute perfect accompaniment to chili. Or butternut squash soup. Basically … these scones are perfect for this cold weather.

Are you wondering how my grapefruit coconut scones turned out?

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They were pretty nicely balanced … but unlike Tom & Aimee’s chocolate orange scones in which both flavours were really distinct, these scones needed a little pop of something extra. I think next time I’ll add more grapefruit juice to the batter and perhaps increase the sugar slightly so that there is more of a contrast of flavours. I’ll continue tweaking the recipe and get back to you … because I’m pretty determined to get it right.

All of us, except for Cory, followed the Bouchon Bakery plain scone recipe – and even based our *flavoured* scones on the original plain recipe. So perhaps you’d like to give it a try too! One thing to note … Keller wants you to let your dough rest and chill overnight.

Yeah … this is an overnight kind of recipe.

Do you really need to plan that far ahead? Well … as a collective group we discussed it, and none of us really think you really, absolutely must freeze the scone batter overnight. I would recommend refrigerating the dough a couple of hours; then shape out the scones and freeze them for a further 2 hours (basically you want the butter to be as cold as possible so that you end up with a flakey and tender scone).

Then I’d bake ’em. For about 20 minutes.

They will be delicious: honestly … I actually preferred mine the following day. The plain scones were the perfect accompaniment to my creamy ginger-carrot beetroot soup.

Thomas Keller’s plain scone recipe
ingredients:
152 g / 1 c. + 1 1/2 tbsp flour
304 g / 2 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp cake flour
12.5 g / 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2.5 g / 1/2 tsp baking soda
91 g / 8 ounces sugar
227 g / 1/2 c. + 1 1/2 tbsp cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
135 g / 1/2 c. + 1 1/2 tbsp heavy cream
135 g / 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp creme fraiche (I used sour cream instead)

*the recipe, as per Bouchon Bakery’s instructions, uses a stand-mixer. Feel free to use your hands instead.*

Place the flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using your paddle attachment, and setting your mixer on the “stir” setting, mix for 15 seconds. Basically you just want to combine all those ingredients.

Stop the mixer. Add all the butter, and starting on the lowest setting (this prevents the flour from flying all over your counter), mix the ingredients together. After about 45 seconds, increase the speed and mix for a further 3 minutes: breaking up the butter and incorporating into the dry mixture. If any large pieces of butter remain, stop the mixer, break them up by hand, and then mix again until incorporated.

While the mixer is running, slowly pour in the cream. Add the creme fraiche (sour cream) and mix for about 30 seconds, you’ll know it’s ready because all the dough will start to come together around the paddle.

Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. You’re done.

On a clean work surface (no flour required), mound the dough into a pile, and using your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together.

20130206-085301.jpgPlace the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap, and using your hands, press it into a 6 – by – 9 – inch block (mine will look smaller since I divided the dough in half and added grapefruit zest, juice and flaked coconut to the remaining batter, thereby getting two different types of scones out of the original plain scone recipe). Straighten your block, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours, until firm.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a knife, cut the block of dough lengthwise into thirds (mine was cut in half), and then crosswise in half. Cut each rectangle in half, creating perfect little triangles. Arrange them on the cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid: at least 2 hours, but preferable overnight (I think 2 hours is fine).

20130206-085255.jpgHeat your oven to 350 F.

Line another, un-frozen cookie sheet, with parchment paper. Arrange the frozen scone triangles about 1 inch apart and brush the tops with heavy cream; then sprinkle the tops of each scone with sugar.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (depending on your oven). Basically you are looking for golden brown. In my case, I tend to pay attention more to the bottoms of the scones than the tops of the scones, so once those had a nice bake to them, I took them out of the oven to cool on a wire rack.

Done. Dead simple eh? And it’s a great basic recipe to play around with.

Now it’s your turn …

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chickpea cookies x two

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I’ve gone and done it again.

Another batch of cookies that don’t involve butter. or sugar (a little honey … but none of that processed stuff). or flour.

No quinoa in these either.

Instead I used chickpeas. And the honest to goodness truth is … once baked … these taste like raw cookie dough!

(But the secret is … you gotta bake them! Raw … they taste like … chickpeas and peanut butter)

I KNOW! Insane eh? Just that description alone should explain why I just had to make these (in case you’ve forgotten … I have a real issue when it comes to raw cookie dough).

This is how I discovered this little gems …

Emily: Wanna girl guide cookie?

Me: No thanks, I’m good.

Emily: Want to try a cookie dough cookie? I made them with chickpeas.

Me: Um… yeah. That sounds super cool.

Emily: These are the cookies I make when I don’t want to dig into a pack of regular cookies … but I want something sweet.

Result … I proceeded to eat 3 or 4 of these little goodies … because … well I find them quite addictive. I also left Emily’s resolved to make these myself … and add my own little *twist* to the recipe.

Done and Done.

Not only did I make the original version which included peanut butter, honey, chickpeas and mini chocolate chips … but I also made some and swapped out the peanut butter for dark chocolate hazelnut spread.

Which one is better?

Oh … they’re both pretty darn delicious. I can’t decide. So rather than pick a favourite … I just make sure that I grab one of each flavour.

I made a half batch of each – since you use an entire large can of chickpeas for this recipe; it was easy to just half the can and make both the peanut butter ones and the dark chocolate hazelnut spread ones.

Just like those quinoa cookies … these ones are just too good to pass up. I totally recommend them … and the best part … all you need are the ingredients and a food processor. And 12 minutes in the oven. Super simple. Super delicious. You should make these … right now.

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peanut butter chickpea chocolate chip cookies / dark chocolate hazelnut spread chickpea chocolate chip cookies

ingredients:

1 1/4 c. canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 c. + 2 tbsp natural peanut butter or dark chocolate hazelnut spread

1/4 c. honey

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

*for the dark chocolate hazelnut spread version … I’d add flaked coconut as well

Heat your oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine all the ingredients, except the chocolate chips (and if using, flaked coconut) and process until smooth in your food processor.

This shouldn’t take more than a minute. You’ll notice that the cookie dough really comes together – pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Once smooth, toss in the mini chocolate chips (and flaked coconut) and combine. You can either mix them in using a spoon, or do like me, and use the “pulse” button, and mix in the chocolate chips that way.

That’s it.

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Time to scoop them out. I used my small ice cream scoop and scooped out the cookie dough, forming small balls. This batter is pretty sticky … so you might need to wet your hands a little. Place the formed cookie dough on your prepared cookie sheet … slightly apart.

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*if making the dark chocolate hazelnut spread version … my cookie dough was really quite wet … so I did add some natural peanut butter to thicken it up a bit. I gotta say … the result was still a “looser” cookie dough (which spread slightly in baking), but totally ridiculously delicious.

When you remove the cookies from the oven, cool on the cookie sheet (not on a wire rack). They need the extra heat (especially the dark chocolate hazelnut ones) to keep baking a little.

Eat warm. These cookies deserve to be eaten fresh out of the oven … or after being heated up slightly. But be careful … because like me … I bet you can’t eat just one!

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carob chip – almond butter – quinoa cookies

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You might be wondering … what the heck is going on?!

Am I on the right blog????

A recipe that doesn’t include butter. or sugar. or flour. or chocolate chips.

Instead these cookies are chock full of quinoa. rolled oats. almond butter. carob chips. maple syrup.

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Oh my goodness … what happened to Lynne?????

Well my friends … I decided to get out of my baking comfort-zone. I saw this recipe on my facebook feed and figured … what do I have to lose?

It turns out I gained a brand new favourite healthy cookie recipe.

Mother of pearl. Who would have thunk it!

I’ve already made this recipe twice. Yep. I liked it enough the first time to make it again … only this time I included a few *twists* to the original recipe. Obviously.

I’m going to start off with the major selling feature for me … these are actually the best mid-afternoon snack. I’m not saying these should be your *treat* for the day … HOWEVER … if you find yourself reaching for something cookie-like at around 2 pm to get you through the rest of your work day … look no further.

These cookies have become my afternoon life savers.

And they only require 5 ingredients … actually more like 7 … I added some additional spices to the original recipe.

Have I sold you on the idea of a healthy cookie yet?

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Tip number 1 … when cooking your quinoa … add a vanilla pod and cinnamon stick to the water and quinoa. Any bit of extra flavour helps … especially when you’re baking healthy.

Tip number 2 … flatten these out a little pre-baking. Otherwise the middles get a tad dry. No butter = no added moisture.

Tip number 3 … the carob chips tend to spread and burn faster than I find chocolate chips would. Just keep an eye on the cookies while they bake. You might be able to take them out of the oven closer to 17 minutes rather than the recommended 20 minutes.

Tip number 4 … these cookies could easily be turned into bars. Simply pat down the dough into a square pan and bake for about 22 to 25 minutes.

Now are you ready to give these a try????