Blueberry Scones

April 26, 2010

I think I am going to call these, “oh my gosh they’re so good” blueberry scones because that’s what I said when I tasted one after I baked them today. Seriously the best scone I’ve ever had. I really don’t have much else to say about them except that my mouth is still watering thinking about them and I need to stop typing this and go eat another one! Or maybe I’ll go wrap them up before I lose all control and take them to work tomorrow. These are almost too good to share. So flaky, so buttery…Go make them! I don’t know why I waited so long!

Blueberry Scones
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
makes 8 scones

  • 8 Tablespoons cold butter, plus more for brushing
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, frozen

Grate the butter on the large holes of a box grater, and freeze.

Preheat oven to 425, and combine the dry ingredients.  Stir in frozen butter.  Whisk together the sour cream and whole milk, and stir into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until just combined.  The dough will be crumbly, but that’s okay.

Turn out onto a well-floured surface, and knead a few times.  Roll out into a 12×12 inch square.  Using a bench scraper, fold the dough into thirds, then fold into thirds again in the opposite direction to form a square.  Roll the dough out into a 12×12 inch square again, and refold.  Place on a well-floured plate, and freeze for 5 minutes.

Roll out to a 12×12 inch square for a final time, and press the blueberries into the dough in a single layer.  Carefully roll up, as you would cinnamon rolls.  Press the roll into a 4-inch wide rectangle.  Using the bench scraper, cut into 4 rectangles.  Then cut each rectangle diagonally to make 2 triangles.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  At this point the scones can be baked or refrigerated overnight.  Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 18-25 minutes, or until golden-brown.

Juicy Strawberry Scones

February 12, 2009

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Do you ever buy fruit or vegetables at the store fully intending on using them up, only to realize a week later that you have not used them up and they are about to go bad? That’s what happened to me with strawberries this week. They were on sale BOGO at the grocery store so of course I got two packages. I went through one package pretty quickly since strawberries are one of my favorite fruits, but the other package was still untouched. I thought maybe I could freeze them but then decided it was about time I bake something.

I had seen this scone recipe on Katie’s blog a while back when she made them, and they were on my long list of things to make. So I decided since I had all the ingredients to go with those. They took no time to make and turned out very tender and buttery. They are perfect for breakfast with coffee or just for an afternoon snack.

Juicy Strawberry Scones

Ingredients:
2 1/4 – 2 1/2 c. all purpose flour (depends on how ripe your strawberries are)
1/4 c. granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg
1/4 c. yogurt
1/4 c. milk
2 tsp orange zest
1 c. fresh strawberries, diced

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment
-In small bowl, combine egg, yogurt, milk, zest, whisk to combine thoroughly and set aside.
-In large bowl combine flour, sugar, powder, salt, and whisk to combine.
-Using pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into flour until all pieces are smaller than pea-sized.
-Add strawberries, and toss to coat.
-Add wet ingredients to dry and mix in lightly with fork until dough just comes together.
-Turn dough out onto well floured work surface and pat into large ball.
-Cut dough in half.
-Shape half of dough into flat disk shape and cut into 8 slices.
-Place on baking sheet and repeat with other half of dough.
-Sprinkle tops of scones with sugar and place in the oven.
-Bake until turn slightly brown, about 25 minutes.
-Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes.
-Transfer to a wire rack and let cool (or eat right away!)

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Lemon Blueberry Bread

August 21, 2008

 Mmmmmmmmmmm! That was the sound I made this morning when I took my first bite of this blueberry bread. Ok, so it wasn’t my first bite. I taste tested it last night after I baked it to be sure it was good. But it was even better this morning than I remembered. I guess something about it sitting over night and soaking up that sweet lemony glaze. Normally I don’t eat stuff like this for breakfast. That’s normally the one meal of the day I reserve for being healthy (ha). But well I had some blueberries just sitting there, staring at me, waiting to have something done with them so I thought, what the heck. I had already done muffins and pie so when I saw this recipe, my heart skipped a beat and my mouth watered all day just thinking about it. The recipe went together very quickly and the results were amazing. It’s not an overly sweet bread and sort of has the taste and consistency of pound cake but with little bursts of blueberries mixed in. So I guess it’s not too bad for breakfast and it would be great as a treat with coffee for dessert. But DO make the glaze for it. I considered skipping that part but it only takes about 5 more minutes to do the glaze and it really adds something to the bread.

Lemon Blueberry Bread Recipe:

1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (outer yellow skin of the lemon)

1/2 cup (120 ml) milk

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:

1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (use the real stuff, not the bottled kind–you will be able to taste it in this recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inch) (23 x 13 x 8 cm). Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the 1/3 cup (66 grams) of sugar and the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top of the loaf with the hot lemon glaze. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 1 loaf.

Source: Joy of Baking

 

Berry or Cherry Pies

August 13, 2008

I have been in such a slump this past week. I’m not sure if it’s the heat or what but food just hasn’t been that appealing to me. Luckily, my husband is perfectly ok with eating cereal and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. But I on the other hand, can only handle that for so long. So I started checking my google reader and the wheels started turning with ideas. And after not cooking dinner all week, what did I decide to make last night? Well, pie. Don’t worry, I did get dinner ideas for next week. ; )

I have had such a craving for blueberry pie ever since Summer began, but I still hadn’t gotten around to making it. This is another thing my weirdo husband won’t eat. It’s a texture thing he says. So I was really putting off making a whole pie just for me, but then I got the idea to make little individual pies. Now believe it or not I have never, ever made pie dough. So I set out looking for an easy recipe. I found this dough recipe on Annie’s blog and let me tell you, it’s great! It came together so easy and like most things I’ve never made before, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I decided to use both cherries and blueberries for my pies because I only had a little bit of each in the fridge. And not only did I learn to make pie dough last night, but I learned that I must acquire a cherry pitter. Oy! My fingers looked like evidence for a crime scene once I was done pitting those darn cherries! But in the end, it was all worth it. Both the cherry and blueberry pies were terrific!

 

Berry or Cherry Pies

Makes 6 individual pies

3 cups berries or cherries (I used 1 1/2 cups bing cherries (pitted) and 1 1/2 cups blueberries)

1/2 cup sugar (divided if doing two kinds of pie)

3 tsp flour (divided if doing two kinds of pie)

pie dough (recipe follows)

Place berries (or cherries) into a bowl. Add the sugar and flour and toss to coat the berries.

*The flour will help the berry juices to thicken as the pie cooks

For the dough:

*I doubled this recipe and had a little leftover. I froze it to use later.

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp. very cold water

Directions:
To make the dough in a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the paddle attachment, and stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together.

Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. (Although many dough recipes call for chilling the dough at this point, this dough should be rolled out immediately for the best results.) Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Makes enough dough for one 9-inch single-crust pie.

To make a lattice top: Double the recipe, cut the dough in half and pat one half into a round, flat disk. Roll out the disk into a 12-inch round as directed and line the pan or dish. Trim the edge of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Press any scraps trimmed from the first round into the bottom of the remaining dough half. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into thin strips to weave a lattice top.

*Tip: Be sure your work surface is well floured when rolling out the dough. If you have trouble rolling the dough out for a second time, put it in the fridge for about 15 min to chill and try again.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. After the dough is rolled out, use a glass, ramekin, or biscuit cutter to cut 6 circles. Place the circles of dough in the bottom of the ramekins and press up the sides just a little. It does not matter if it reaches all the way up the side of the ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake the bottom crust for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

 Form the remaining dough back into a ball and roll it out again. Again, cut 6 circles. Place 1/2 cup of the berries (or cherries) into each ramekin and then place the circles of dough over the top of them. Make two or three slits in the dough. Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes, or until the berry juices are bubbling and the dough is golden brown. Allow to cool 20-30 minutes before serving.

Source for Basic Pie Dough recipe: Williams-Sonoma

 

Baking with Berries

July 15, 2008

One of my favorite things about summer is fresh berries. Whenever you pick them up at the grocery store or farmer’s market you can almost be sure they will be sweet and juicy. Buy them any other time of the year, and they just aren’t the same. And with all these fresh berries comes the urge to bake something with them. A very nice customer of mine from work brought in bags of blueberries on Saturday. He and his wife grow them, and they decided they had too many to use so were kind enough to share with all of us. I only had a little over a cup so I decided I wanted to make some blueberry muffins. I had heard good things about this recipe on a couple other blogs so decided to give it a try. And the results? Well, I had two for breakfast. I guess that’s enough said. I thought these might be a little too sweet with the crumb topping but turns out, they are perfect!

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Source: All Recipes

Do you ever have high hopes when making a new recipe only to find that the cooking gods are out to get you? That was the case with this recipe. I was very excited to try this recipe because strawberry ice cream is my absolute favorite. I had great success with my first ice cream recipe and wouldn’t you know it was a flavor that I don’t even eat! I prepped my strawberries just like the recipe said, had my milk, cream and sugar all mixed together and then I pulled my ice cream maker out of the freezer.That’s when all the trouble began.

I attached it to my Kitchen Aid mixer just like I had the day before and turned it on, prepared to pour in the cream mixture. As I slowly started pouring I noticed that my mixer was making a funny noise. And then the part that rotates the dasher in the ice cream maker sort of came off! Now anyone that has made ice cream knows that once you pour your ingredients in, time is not on your side. They start to freeze almost immediately. I struggled to get the attachments back together but by that time the inside of the ice cream maker was too frozen over with cream to get it going again. At this point I was beyond irritated. I poured the cream mixture back into my mixing bowl and stuck that and the strawberries in the fridge. I thought maybe I could try again today once my ice cream maker re-froze. My husband inspected my mixer and noticed that the pin was coming out which most likely lead to the ice cream maker malfunction. Luckily he was able to fix it.

Well I got up this morning, very optimistic that I was going to make some delicious strawberry ice cream and everything went great to begin with. It looked like strawberry ice cream, but when it came time to taste it, the strawberries tasted weird. I think it’s because I let them sit over night in the sugar and lemon juice. The ice cream part tasted good so it was unfortunate that the strawberries weren’t good. I will try this recipe again and hopefully I will get better results. I’m sure in this case it was the circumstances and not the recipe.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh ripe strawberries, stemmed and sliced

3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup sugar, divided

1 cup whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup of sugar; stir gently and allow the strawberries to macerate in the juices for 2 hours.

In another bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream, the vanilla and any accumulated juices from the strawberries.

Turn on your ice cream maker and pour the mixture into the frozen bowl. Let mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes. Add the sliced strawberries during the last 5 minutes of freezing. Ice cream will be soft at this point. For a firmer ice cream, transfer to an airtight container and store in freezer until it has reached your desired consistency.

Source: Annie’s Eats (Adapted from Sweet and Savory Eats)

I’ve never admitted this to anyone but I could eat chicken salad nearly every day, preferably on a flaky buttery croissant. I’ll eat it on whole wheat too, but there’s just something that the croissant adds to it that makes it even more irresistable to me. It’s one of my guilty pleasure foods. Not sure what the allure is but I adore it. My favorite chicken salad is from a little place downtown called Cottage Cafe. But at over $6.00 a plate for some chicken salad, a croissant and a few pieces of fruit, I just can’t justify fulfilling my craving every single day. For those times when I feel a craving coming on, I like to make my own to keep on hand for lunches. I had a partial bag of dried cranberries and some pecans in the freezer so I decided to concoct this chicken salad yesterday. It turned out really well. I think next time I might add some sliced grapes or apples as well to give it a little sweeter flavor. Overall it was delicious though.

Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

2 chicken breasts, cooked

1/2 cup mayo (plus more to get to the consistencey you desire)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Begin by placing the chicken in a food processor and pulse until the chicken chunks are the size you want. (I prefer mine finely chopped. Alternatively, you can chop the chicken with a knife or shred with your hands.) Place the chopped chicken in a bowl and add mayo, cranberries, pecans, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Add additional mayo to reach desired consistency and additional salt to taste. Chill until ready to serve.

Makes about 2 cups.

*red grapes or chopped apples would be a great addition to this recipe

 

Breakfast or Dessert?

June 23, 2008

I’m pretty sure this recipe might be on the list of the seven deadly sins. But in this case if it’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right. Really, it could be more of a dessert with all it’s brown sugary yumminess, but I decided to make this for breakfast today. From the minute I saw Tyler Florence make this on his show, Tyler’s Ultimate, I knew I wanted to try it. I mean, what could be bad about french toast, apples, and a brown sugary glaze. This recipe is a little time consuming as far as prep goes, but the results are totally worth it. As soon as it started baking, my house filled with the smell of apple pie and caramel apples. I wish I could capture that smell in a candle so I could enjoy it every day without all the calories that come with it. This would be a great recipe for brunch or even breakfast on Christmas morning. The original recipe calls for cranberries, but I left those out because my picky husband doesn’t like them. I think those would be a great addition though.

Upside-Down Apple French Toast with Cranberries and Pecans

(with my alterations in italics)

French toast:
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 loaf challah bread, cut into 1 inch-thick slices (I used french bread)

1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling, divided
4 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I omitted)
Confectioners’ sugar, garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.In a flat dish, crack eggs and add milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Whisk until well combined then lay challah slices in mixture to coat and absorb it all, turning occasionally.

Set a 10-inch skillet, seasoned cast iron if you have, over medium heat. Add the butter and 1 cup sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has melted and caramelized, about 8 minutes. While the sugar is melting, peel apples, core and cut into halves. Remove from heat and gently whisk in the heavy cream. Sprinkle in the pecans, dried cranberries and gently press in the apple halves so there is a flat surface. Lay soaked slices of challah over the top so it is completely covered – you should be able to arrange the large slices and small slices so there are no gaps. Sprinkle the top with some brown sugar and place into the preheated oven. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and puffy.

When done, allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes then invert onto a large plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, and serve.

Chef’s Note: FYI – if your cast iron skillet is not seasoned, the cranberries will react with the skillet and turn black.

*I don’t have a cast iron skillet so I used a pie dish to bake this in. I melted the butter and sugar in a pot on the stove and then poured it into the pie dish before assembling.

Source: Food Network

Blackberry Cobbler

April 4, 2008

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Cobbler is pretty high up on my list of favorite desserts. I’ll take any kind really. Peach, blueberry. It’s all good. That being said, the only kind I’ve ever really made myself is peach. But as I was looking through my local grocery store’s ad last week, I noticed that blackberries were on sale. Normally I don’t buy too many berries because they are generally expensive and I just can’t see spending $5 on just about a cup of berries. When I saw they were on sale, I immediately thought about blackberry cobbler. I wasn’t sure what recipe to use so I turned to Williams-Sonoma because their recipes have never steered me wrong. This turned out great! Just a little bit tart from the berries which was easily balanced out by some whipped cream. Some vanilla ice cream would also be wonderful with this.

Blackberry Cobbler

Ingredients:

For the filling:

6 cups blackberries or a mix of seasonal berries

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

Pinch of salt

For the topping:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and
cooled

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.

To make the filling, in a bowl, gently toss the berries with the sugar, flour, lemon zest and salt until blended. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

To make the topping, in a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, butter and vanilla until well blended. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold gently until the flour is moistened and the mixture forms a soft dough.

Drop heaping spoonfuls of the dough onto the fruit, spacing them evenly; the dough will not completely cover the fruit. Bake until the filling is bubbling, the topping is browned and a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8 to 10.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Dessert, by Abigail Johnson Dodge (Simon & Schuster, 2002 ).

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