Sour Cherry Scones

So I baked up what I think was my first batch of scones or thereabouts. Recipe originally from Epicurious, but I made a few alterations... and they were good!

1/2 cup buttermilk plus 1/4 cup for brushing the scones
1 large egg
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 cup dried sour cherries (available at specialty foods shops)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
granulated sugar for sprinkling

In a bowl whisk together 1/2 cup of the buttermilk, the egg, the brown sugar, and the vanilla until the mixture is combined well. In another bowl stir together the dry ingredients and blend in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cherries and the buttermilk mixture with a fork until the mixture just forms a sticky but manageable dough. Knead the dough gently for 30 seconds on a lightly floured surface, pat it into a 3/4-inch-thick round, and cut it into 8 wedges. On an ungreased baking sheet brush the wedges with the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and sprinkle them with the almonds and granulated sugar. Bake the scones in the middle of a preheated 400 oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are golden.

Makes 8 scones.

[Note that the original recipe called for cake flour; I often try to go for the somewhat healthy option when I'm making my own breakfast treats. I didn't have buttermilk around, so I used nonfat milk curdled with lemon juice (check in any cookbook, practically, for how to do this) and that further increased the health factor. I might recommend adding a bit more sugar to the dough or adding a bit more on top than I did, because they weren't very sweet--and that was with sweetened dried tart cherries mixed in.]

Posted by leek at 12:04 AM

Breakfasty Cake

Trying to prevent myself from making the morning journey to the Tully's or the Starbucks or the swedish bakery, I made this relatively healthy cranberry-orange bread to take to work. It tastes kinda healthy, but is still yummy enough to satisfy one's morning sweets craving, if one has one, which one does when one is me. The recipe's from my 2002 Cooking Light cookbook.

Cranberry-Orange Tea Cake

1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. sugar
2/3 c. sweetened dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. 1% milk (I used skim)
2 T. butter, melted
1 T. grated orange rind
1 egg
Cooking spray
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 T. orange juice

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Combine milk, butter, rind, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8x4" loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 for 45 min. or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 min. in pan on a wire rack, and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Combine powdered sugar and orange juice; drizzle over bread.

Yield: 12 servings of 1 slice each.

Cal: 184 (14% from fat). Fat 2.9g (sat 1.5g, mono .8g, poly .3g). Protein 3.3g. Carb 37.8g. Fiber 1.5g. Chol 24mg, Iron 1mg, Sodium 123mg, Calc 53mg.

Posted by leek at 09:54 PM

Moro's flatbread

This is the flatbread I served alongside Moro's hummus and lamb dish. It was easy, quick, and very, very tasty. I didn't have za'tar, so I used chopped parsley and sea salt to top the bread. From The Moro Cookbook.

Makes 4 breads.

200g unbleached strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt (I used kosher salt instead)
1/3 level teaspoon dried yeast
170ml tepid water
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 230C/450F.

Place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the water and then pour the oil into the water. Now pour the water into the flour, a bit at a time, while mixing. When all the water is added, transfer to a floured board and knead well. Continue kneading for about 5 minutes until the dough is ever so slightly tacky, but soft, elastic and smooth. Let it rest for 45 minutes covered by a tea towel.

Divide the dough into four, and roll into balls. On a generously floured survace roll each balll to 3-5mm thick. You should have rough circles 15-20cm in diamter. Top each round with a little olive oil and za'tar. Place on a flat oiled baking tray and bake in the top of the oven for 5-10 minutes. Each bread should partiallly bubble up and colour slightly yet not be totally crisp.

Note: I baked my flatbreads directly on a baking stone in the middle of the oven, to good effect.

Posted by shock at 12:25 PM

chocolate cherry scones

The Cheese Board is a Berkeley institution - they have amazing cheese, a great bakery, and are a worker-owned collective. This recipe is an adaptation of The Cheese Board's chocolate chip scones. If you (much like me) are a cook who toys with baking, I'd highly recommend their cookbook, The Cheese Board: Collective Works. It's a great read, and the recipes haven't let me down yet. I'm giving you the stand-mixer version of the recipe; I've made scones both ways, and I think the stand mixer gives better results than my hand-mixing. (Thank you, Miss Naomi. We do understand, don't we?)

Makes 10-12 scones.
3.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup 70% Scharffenberger, chopped roughly. Pieces should be no bigger than large peas. (Or sub the good-quality chocolate of your choice. I've used Callebaut and Valrhona before, to good effect.)
3/4 cup dried cherries
3/4 cup heavy cream (I usually use soy creamer)
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper or a silpat.

Sift the flower, baking soda, and baking powder together into the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the salt & 3/4 cup sugar to the bowl and mix with the paddle attachment on low speed until combined. Add the butter and cut it in on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until it is the size of small peas. Mix in the chocolate and cherries. Make a well in the center and add the cream and buttermilk. Mix briefly, just until the ingredients come together; some loose flour should remain at the bottom of the bowl.

Gently shape the dough into balls about 2 1/4 inches in diameter. They should have a rough, rocky exterior. Place them on the prepared pan about 2 inches apart.

Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of sugar on top of the scones. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Posted by shock at 03:04 PM

apple bran buttermilk muffins

Muffins are an I-love-you morning comfort food for me. I love waking up early enough to make them for guests or a boy that I like. Apparently Canadians eat muffins as a sort of stereotype: there's even a UK chain called "The Canadian Muffin Co."

I've been fiddling with apple muffins lately -- I think this buttermilk recipe is just about perfect.

Makes 12 muffins.

1/2 c. butter (room temperature)
3/4 c. white sugar (or a combination of white and brown)
1 egg, beaten
1 c. cultured buttermilk
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. diced apple -- about 1 apple in small (1/4 in.) dice
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. bran
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 F

Prepare a muffin tin, either by greasing the insides of the cups with butter or by using paper cupcake liners. If you have a good muffin pan, just greasing lightly is enough for these.

Blend together butter, sugar, and egg until smooth.
Add buttermilk, salt, apples, and mix well.
In a second bowl, stir together flour, soda, and cinnamon.
Add dry ingredients to wet, folding just to moisten. For muffins to come out right, you want the batter to look a bit lumpy.
Spoon batter into greased muffin cups.

Bake at 375 F for about 20 min.

Notes: The apples must be cut quite small for the muffins to hold together when you take them out of the pan. These are worth buying buttermilk for, substituting milk + lemon juice won't provide the same flavour. If you don't have bran, you can use (1 c. all purpose flour + 3/4 c. whole wheat) instead.

Posted by naomi at 09:55 AM

Blue Berry Lemon Banana Bread

So just to hop back in with a bang...

P cooked up this amazing, tangy, tart loaf of banana bread and I just can't stop eating it! Personally, I think the cream cheese glaze is gratuitous and would be just as luscious without. Recipe from Cooking Light (Sept 03).

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter. softened
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2)
1/2 egg substitute *
1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream **
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
cooking spray

1/4 cup block style 1/3 less fat cream cheese
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp water

1. preheat oven to 30
2. combine flour, baking soda, and salt and mix together
3. place granulated sugar and butter into bowl and beat togther until blended. Add mashed bananas, egg, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed. Gently fold in blueberries and rind. Spoon batter into loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool bread for 10 minutes in pan and then cool completely on rack.
4. to prepare glaze, mix ingredients and stir with whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled loaf.

* P used 1 egg
** P used fat free sour cream (the brand in the cow container, YUM)

Posted by mo at 06:22 PM

bread or pastry?

Bread scares the tar out of me. I never have any idea if I'm doing it right. I tried this recipe for Apricot-Cream Cheese Braids, and they turned out a little squishy in the middle for my tastes. A more accurate oven probably would have fixed me right up.

We polished off one loaf for dessert tonight. I have three left that I think I will toast before serving...

To prepare dough, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 (8-ounce) carton light sour cream in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cool. Dissolve 2 packages dry yeast (about 4 1/2 teaspoons) in 1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees) in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream mixture and 2 large eggs, lightly beaten. Lightly spoon 4 cups all-purpose flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Gradually stir flour into sour cream mixture (dough will be soft and sticky). Cover dough; chill 8 hours or overnight.

To prepare filling, combine 2/3 cup apricot preserves, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened, and 1 large egg, lightly beaten, in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.

Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Turn each portion out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 or 5 times. Roll each portion into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Spread one-fourth of filling over each portion, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Starting at a long side, carefully roll up each portion jelly roll fashion; pinch seams and ends to seal.

Place 2 loaves on each of 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Cut 4 (1/4-inch deep) "X"s in top of each loaf with scissors. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 25 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place 1 baking sheet in oven (cover remaining loaves to keep from drying). Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with remaining loaves. Cool loaves slightly.

To prepare glaze, combine 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons fat-free milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle warm loaves with glaze.

Posted by astraea at 09:40 PM

rosemary flatbread

An excellent recipe for grilled flatbread hors d'oeuvres from The Best of Sunset Recipes (currently on a Safeway checkout magazine rack near you). Lacking a grill, we popped these directly into the oven on top of a super-hot pizza stone. They turned out fantastic, but I'm sure grilling them would have made them even better. I'm usually scared to death about making breads, but this recipe made it easy to produce what looked and tasted like something you'd find in a first-class trattoria! Here's the recipe:

Grilled Rosemary Flatbreads
1 package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup finely diced onion
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
2/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
fresh-ground pepper

In a bowl, sprinkle yeast over 1/14 cups warm water. Let stand until softened (about 5 minutes). Add salt, onion, 1 1/2 tabelspoons olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups flour. Stir vigorously until dough is stretchy (about 5 minutes). Stir in 1 1/4 cups more flour. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky (about 10-12 minutes). Add flour to prevent sticking.

Place dough in well oiled bowl, cover airtight, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled (about and hour). Briefly knead to expell air, cut into 6 equal pieces and shape each into a smooth ball. Use a floured rolling pin to roll one flattened ball into a 8-inch round. Brush round with 3/4 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon rosemary, 2 tablespoons parmesan, and pepper. Press seasonings into bread and place on a plastic-wrap covered plate. Cover with another layer of plastic wrap. Repeat to roll out remaining balls, adding each round to stack, covering with plastic wrap until all are ready for chilling. Rounds can chill up to 6 hours before grilling.

Place a few dough rounds on an oiled grill, rotating breads for even browning. When bottoms are browned, turn breads over and cook until seasoned sides are browned. (We found that when baking it on a pizza stone, you dont need to flip it at all). After removing from heat, immediately cut each flatbread into 6 wedges. Provide olive oil for dipping.

Makes 6 flatbreads, or 12 servings.

Posted by rebecca at 08:20 PM