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Cranberry Orange Scones with Orange Glaze

17 Mar

Who’s got two thumbs and learned a hard lesson last week?  This girl!

While it may be a good idea to run with someone who is faster than you, it might not be the best idea to do it every time you run for a week.  I basically spent the weekend feeling like I got hit by a truck!  Womp womp.

Since we opted to pass on St. Paddy’s Day festivities this year (time constraints + training), I was feeling like I needed some Irish pride in my life!  Hence, me making scones late into the evening.  Here is my recipe, if you happen to be feeling festive as well!  I have no clue where this recipe came from, but I’ve been using the same one for 10+ years.

Cranberry Orange Scones with Orange Glaze

Cranberry-Orange-Scones-4


  • For scones:
    • 2 c. flour
    • 7 t. sugar + 3 t. sugar
    • 1 T. grated orange peel
    • 2 t. baking powder
    • 1/2 t. salt
    • 1/4 t. baking soda
    • 1/3 c. cold butter
    • 1 c. dried cranberries
    • 1/4 c. orange juice
    • 1/4 c. half and half
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 T. unsweetened almond milk
  •   For glaze:
    • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
    • 1 T. orange juice

Mix all of the dry ingredients together and then set aside.  In a smaller bowl, mix together cranberries, orange zest, OJ, half and half, and the egg.  When you are ready, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients using 2 knives until mixture appears crumbly.  Then, add in the egg/OJ mixture and mix until you get a loose dough.  Turn the dough out on a floured surface 6-8 times and then shape it into an 8″ circle. Cranberry-Orange-Scones-1 Cut the dough into 8 even pieces, place on parchment paper, and then brush with milk. Cranberry-Orange-Scones-2 Sprinkle the remaining 3 t. sugar evenly over scones.  Then bake for approximately 12 minutes at 400*F or until lightly browned on top. Move them to a wire rack and mix together the powdered sugar and orange juice to make the glaze.  Drizzle evenly with a spoon and then proceed to do a little Irish jig because you just knocked one out of the park!!! Cranerry-Orange-Scones-3

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Vanilla Poached Baked Pears

27 Nov

OK, so you’ve been staring a pie recipes for days and haven’t worked up the motivation to make one, right?  Well how about skip the pie and opt for something a little bit unconventional for Thanksgiving dessert?

Vanilla Poached Baked Pears with Vanilla Cream

Baked Pears2

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. water
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split
  • 4 Bosc pears, cored and peeled
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

The first step is to get the poaching liquid ready.  In a saucepot large enough to fit your pears (I actually made enough for 10 people, not 4), add the water, sugar, and split vanilla bean over a low heat.  You NEVER want to heat sugar too rapidly or funky things start to happen.  While the water warms up and the sugar slowly dissolves, get your pears prepped!

I don’t have a melon baller, so I just cored through the bottom of the pears with a knife and small spoon (which is apparently easier than getting your camera to focus on the front not the back):

PearsCored

I also cut the bottoms so that they would stand up evenly.  Then, they went directly into a bowl of lemon water.  Why?  Because these pears will only be wrapped in puff pastry, not covered.  And I didn’t want to risk them turning brown from sitting around waiting for me to peel and core the rest of the pears!  Lemon water keeps them from getting those less than pretty brown spots.

pearsprepping

Once the poaching liquid is almost at a simmer, add the pears and cook them until they are fork tender.  Mine actually could’ve cooked longer, but I was so nervous!

PoachingPears

Once the pears are tender, remove them from the liquid (keep that in the pot!) and put the pears in a covered container in the fridge until they are cooled completely (at the very least this will take 1 hour).  That’s around the time I quick-thawed my puff pastry sheets!

Once the pears are cooled, roll ’em up!  I cut one puff pastry sheet into 8 long strips, dabbed some water on them and then sugared them up.  Then, just start wrapping the puff pastry around the pear, starting at the stem and ending at the bottom.  Any extra pastry got shoved underneath/into the cored hole at the bottom.

pearsbefore

Between you and I, I should’ve skipped the sugar and just done a straight egg wash on these.  They browned on the top, but I was really hoping for a more even coloring.  The taste was on point, but aesthetically I was really wishing for an even, golden crisp.  Anyway.

I let my pears sit around for a few hours in the fridge after this step, and baked them off close to dinner.  When you are ready, these will bake at 400F for around 30 minutes or until the crust is done to your liking.

During those 30 minutes, I strongly suggest adding the cream to the poaching liquid and simmering it until it is reduced by half. 🙂  The pears taste just divine.  They also would be yummy in a honey syrup, so be creative and add fruit/garnishes that suite you!

Baked Pears2

Sweet Tooth Sunday

9 Jun

You guys.

SRBarsFinal1

I have been staring at the farmer’s market rhubarb in my crisper drawer all week, pining away for some kind of baked good.  I had planned to make rhubarb brownies, but I am not in a chocolate mood.  Yesterday when I made a trip to the grocery store, I snagged some strawberries on sale.  Naturally, I thought of a strawberry-rhubarb crisp so I took to Pinterest!  I found a nice little recipe, but was missing a few ingredients so I improvised.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars (Source: The Tart Tart)

For the crumble/crust:

  • 3/4 cup oat flour (or ground oats, in my case)
  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 t. baking powder
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (I used salted butter and omitted the salt), cubed
  • 1 large egg

Like I said before, I don’t happen to have any oat flour laying around the house.  So, I grabbed my trusty mortar and pestle and ground some old-fashioned oats. Yes, as in Quaker Old Fashioned Oats.

SRBars1

Holler. At. Me.

Once my dry ingredients were assembled, I stirred in one lightly beaten egg and the lemon juice with a wooden spoon.

SRBars2

Here’s the thing about making a crisp or a crumble or a pie crust: use cold butter.  You have to.  Trust me. I mean it.  And don’t mix it with your hands because that will warm the butter.  If you have a pastry cutter, good for you.  I am not that shmancy. I used two knives and cut the butter into the flour mixture, like a good little Yankee who was raised by a southern lady.

Once you get the mixture to a consistency where its chunky, press 2/3 of the mixture into a 9″ pan that you’ve buttered and floured.  (You are going to reserve the 1/3 for the top, so feel free to save a little more if you want.  I like a strong base so that they are easier to cut into bars.)  In fact, I encourage you to press the crust in firmly.

SRBars3

Then, mix together the filling  & spoon it over top of the crust:

  • 2 cups rhubarb, sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • juice of half lemon
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 4 T. corn starch

SRBars4

Sprinkle on the rest of the topping and bake at 375F for 50 minutes.

SRBars5

When these came out, I let them cool for a few hours before I cut into them.  They were still warm in the middle and seemed like they wanted to fall apart, but thought better of it.  I didn’t really give mine much time to think about it.

SRBarsLastBite

I mean, how could you not want to bring these to a cookout or  picnic?

SRBarsFinal1

Thin Crust Buffalo Chicken Pizza

30 Jan

Dinners lately have been low-effort, with two exceptions: naan bread and pizza crust.  I wasn’t 100% happy with the way my naan turned out, so I won’t be sharing it just yet.  BUT.  My first pizza crust turned out amazing!  I used a very simplistic recipe I pieced together from online research and from talking with Amanda.

Easy Homemade Pizza Crust

First, I activated a packet of active, dry yeast by dissolving it in warm sugar water.  The trick to activating yeast is getting the right water temperature – the water should be warm to the touch, but not steaming.  I nuked a cup of water in the microwave and then waited for the steam to subside before dumping the packet of yeast in.

After 10 minutes, the yeast should have “bloomed” or looking thick and frothy:

BloomedYeast

In the past, I’ve had to try this technique with several packets of yeast because I just couldn’t get a good bloom.  Its very easy to get discouraged, but it is worth it to keep trying!

While the yeast is activating, I mixed 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (NOT bread flour) and about 1/4 t. salt in a separate bowl.

SaltedFlour

Then, slowly mix the dry ingredients in with the yeast and add a tablespoon and a half of olive oil.

OliveOil

Once a dough ball formed, I turned the dough out onto my pre-floured counter and kneaded it for 6 minutes.  I would say I ended up adding almost another half cup of flour during the kneading process.  Then, I put the dough into a glass bowl, covered it with a damp towel and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

At this time, I decided to split my dough into two equal sized pieces and put half in a freezer bag for later.

Then, I took a stick of butter and lightly ran it over my sheet pan.  I dusted some locally milled corn flour over the butter.  I rolled my dough out thinly, which is my preferred pizza crust, and baked it for 8 minutes at 425ºF.

BakedCrust

Then, I added my toppings and baked it for another 8-10 minutes.  This time, we went with buffalo chicken, ranch dressing, cheddar & Italian cheese mix, and diced red onions.

BuffaloChickenThinCrust

So easy and so good.

Christmas Cookie Exchange

27 Dec

I hope this blog post finds you still euphoric off of Christmas spirit!  I know I am!!

As I get older, I am becoming strangely fond of Christmas.

ChristmasTree

This year, I did something unprecedented.  I baked with a friend!

I know, what a silly thing to get excited about.  But, my kitchen is small and under construction most of the time, so it was nice to take my favorite hobby to a place where it could spread its holiday wings.

I decided to bring supplies for three recipes to the ♥butcher’s house.  Armed with six of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes, we toiled late into the night!

It paid off.

MacaroonsDone

SugarCookiesFinished

GingerbreadDone

ChocolateCrinklesFinished

EverythingCookiesFinished

The macaroons turned out great, considering I hadn’t tested the recipe before jumping in.  At the ♥butcher’s suggestion, we included the yolks in subsequent batches and found them much improved!  The sugar cookies were wonderful and so was his gingerbread.  I ended up icing mine with a cream cheese icing one I got home.  He also made chocolate crinkles (my favorite cookie of the night) and “everything cookies” with oats, currants, apricot and raisins just to name a few ingredients.

Not pictured are my snickerdoodles, which were a hit.  So much so that I hit the delete button on their pic by accident.

The night was a success, with both of us taking home giant boxes of cookies to share with our loved ones:

CookieBoxes1

I brought cookies with my everywhere for days!

A few that I took to open presents Christmas morning with her♥ family:

MyCookieTray

And some I mixed in with my mom’s assortment:

MyCookieTray2

Her peppermint candy cane cookies are seriously amazing.

 

What Christmas cookie traditions do you have?

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