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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Strawberry Oat Scones

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Hi friends. Sorry I’ve kept you waiting on a post. Life has been busy as I’m getting ready for (another) move. However, Jesus resurrected on Sunday and I made sure to celebrate with some baking.

As I was up early to make some Easter scone treats, I reflected on the fact that this was my first Easter without my mom in my 24 years on this earth. As most of you know, I’m not terribly religious. But I do enjoy the excuse for a family gathering and lots of food. It’s safe to say that everything I know about baking, I learned from my mom and it was hard not to bake with her yesterday. So, I’m gonna dedicate this post to Sandals (scandals to some). Thanks, Mom. For everything.

Ok ok. Enough sentimental goodness. Let’s get down to the real stuff:

strawberry fields

This recipe has a lot of similarities to the Sunday Morning Biscuits. So if you made those, these are a great follow up! Additionally it’s a quick and easy recipe to whip together. I might experiment with whole wheat flour next time.

Use your hands to mix in the strawberries… it will be messy, but well worth it…

Recipe adapted from here:

1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup sugar plus a little extra
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400.

Whisk together buttermilk and egg. Set aside. Combine flour, rolled oats, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or your hands until it looks like crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk/egg mixture with a spoon (or your hands) until just blended. Add the strawberries and gently mix.

Knead dough 8-10 times on a floured surface and pat into a disk about 1.5 inches thick. Slice into whatever size/shape scones you desire. Place on greased baking sheet. Top with a little extra sugar (turbinado if you have it). Bake for about 20-22 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool on wire rack. Enjoy!

Sunday Morning Biscuits

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Hey y’all.

Happy Monday!

Ugh. Ok I’m trying to put a smile on, but I am having a Monday in every sense of the word. So instead, I’d like to re-live Sunday through this post.

For the greater majority of my life, I was convinced that it was in fact, always sunny on Sunday. Every morning, getting up for church, without fail, it was sunny. And while I now know it is in fact not always going to be sunny on Sunday (and that I no longer have to wake up for church), I still believe in the magic of Sunday. It is still my day of rest. A day for sleeping in and sipping coffee and having a hearty breakfast and dinner with family. I fully believe calories do not count on Sunday, which is why it is the perfect day for biscuits!

I must confess, biscuits have intimidated me for quite a few years. Very early in my baking career, I attempted chive biscuits. Complete failure. I thought that making biscuits was in my blood (being from Mississippi). But after that disaster I began to question my existence… The South was definitely going to kick me out. I was so ashamed it took me until now to attempt again. But when I saw this recipe on Joy the Baker, she made me feel like I could do it!

It’s something about “cutting the butter” in with a pastry blender that always seemed impossible. After this glorious success though, I can tell you to just DO IT! Keep blending. Don’t give up. You will succeed! (Maybe best to try these on a Sunday so you have the magic to back you up).

Things you can do while biscuits are in the oven.

 Here they are. The South said they’d take me back. Phew.

Fresh out of the oven!

Here’s to Sunday. And biscuits.

Recipe (from Joy the Baker):

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbs sugar

4.5 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup shortening, cold and cut into something resembling “cubes”

1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes

1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup buttermilk, cold

Cube your butter and shortening on a board first. Stick that in the fridge while you assemble your ingredients.

Preheat oven to 425.

 Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt into a large mixing bowl. OK here’s the big moment. Cut in the butter and shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal.

In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg and buttermilk together. Add to flour mixture and stir to make a soft dough. Knead the dough about 15 times.

Roll or pat the dough into 1″ thickness and cut into 2×2 squares. Put your scraps together and do it again. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Brush the tops with a little more buttermilk (optional). Bake for 12-15 minutes. Consume immediately!

Home Grown Lemon Bars

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California smells good in the spring.

More importantly, California has a spring. I’ve been living on the east coast where I feel too often we jumped straight from cold to hot. It’s been in the 60’s for about a month here. Flowers are blooming and oh so fragrant.

But wait, it gets better: there are citrus trees everywhere! I’m not kidding! It is such a treat to see them all around… as common as daffodils on the east coast!

So when your boss brings in a bag of 20+ lemons from his backyard… you make lemon bars.

If that’s not a good enough reason, here are a few more: they are the perfect spring time treat, you will get lemon juice all over your hands and then smell like lemons for the rest of the day, and they are the happiest yellow you’ve ever seen.

I knew the happy yellow would win you over…

Crumbly dough for crust

Main squeeze.

Lemons proved to be very photogenic and love to have their pictures taken!

Filling so good you will want to drink it.

If you’re like me, you may be expecting the filling to be more curd-like. But really it’s going to be quite viscous. I recommend trying not to dip your finger in for a taste as you will then be overwhelmed with the urge to drink the whole thing.

Letting it cool for 30 minutes before slicing... longest 30 minutes of my life.

Recipe (adapted from the Grand Central Baking Book):

Crust:

2.5 cups flour

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling:

6 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup plus 1 tbs flour

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemons)

1 tbs lemon zest (I recommend zesting before you squeeze the lemons!)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp salt

confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350. Generously coat 9×13 pan with spray or butter

Make the crust: Whisk flour and salt together. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (hint: I never remember to put my butter out to let it get to room temperature. Stick it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to soften works just as well… be careful not to melt it though!). Add vanilla and mix. Add dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated, yet still crumbly (see picture above)…

Put your crumbles in the pan and distribute evenly. Don’t press the crumbles too much along the bottom, but do push up on the sides (about half way up the pan) to contain the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and a little toasty.

While the crust is baking, make your filling! Whisk together eggs, flour, and sugar. Stir in lemon juice, zest, milk, and salt. That’s it! (how easy was that?!)

When your crust is done, turn the oven temp down to 325. Whisk the filling a little to remix it before pouring it over the warm crust (it will sizzle a little, which is strangely rewarding).

Stick that puppy back in the oven (use two hands!) for about 20-25 minutes. The filling should be firm to the touch when done. A good way to judge is when you move the pan, the filling should be pretty solid and not slosh around. Let them cool to room temperature on wire rack (or oven coils in my case), about 30 minutes (I know. Torture.). Cut into whatever size you desire your squares to be. Dust generously with confectioners’ sugar and devour. I’m so excited for you to get to this point! YUM!

Good morning, Good morning!

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Hello there. I hope you’ve had a nice day so far. I expect there’s about 3 of you reading this… and you’re all on the east coast so you’ve been up and at em for a while now which is why writing a post about chocolate chip cookies is entirely appropriate (for those of you with me on the west coast, breath easy because cookies are a perfectly acceptable choice for breakfast, ok!?).

We all have different ideas of what a chocolate chip cookie should be. Some want something gooey and big enough that you can say you only ate one (but are still soaring on your sugar high). Others want a small bite that is crunchy and you can eat 4 and not feel so bad.

These are what I want. Small in diameter, but have some good height. They’re soft and have too many chocolate chips in each because let’s be honest, the cookie is mostly serving as a delivery device for the chocolate (and in this case, walnuts too). Brett insisted on walnuts.  Next time, I think I’ll toast them.

Walnuts and Chips. Friends Forever.

 Now what I’m about to tell you is going to be hard to take. Are you sitting down? This cookie dough… is not very good to eat raw. I know, I know. It’s practically against my religion and is almost a reason to go find another recipe. After all, raw dough consumption might be my favorite part about baking. You’ll take a bite of this dough and think they aren’t worth it.

They are. Trust me.

Add eggs one at a time...

Almost in the oven.

Cooled and ready for consumption.

 

Recipe:

1/2  cup butter, melted (1 stick)

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 bag chocolate chips (semisweet or milk chocolate)

2 and 1/4 cup flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil (shiny side up).

Mix together sugars and melted butter. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla (note, you can never have too much vanilla).

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add in 2-3 batches with mixer running. Fully incorporate each batch before adding the next.

Stir in your chips (because of the quantity, I use this mixer for this) and walnuts if using.

Arrange dough on cookie sheets. About 2-3 tbs of dough per cookie. They can be very blob-like, and then just push the tops down a little to flatten. These little babies don’t spread very much while cooking so don’t be afraid to put them a little close to eachother.

Bake for 12 (ish) minutes. They won’t get super dark so the best way to judge is just looking at them to see if they have any uncooked dough peeking through. They will brown slightly. Let them cool for a little on the trays and then move them to a cooling rack.

Then, EAT THEM!