Orange-Apricot Scones

Apricot-Orange Scones

Apricot-Orange Scones

This post might also be called “How to be a Better Scone Baker”.  Have you always wanted to make scones, but thought they were too difficult or there was something tricky about making a perfect scone?  It’s time to get over all that and take the plunge.  With just a few simple tips, you too can be enjoying flaky tender scones.  The very first thing you must do, is stop expecting perfection.  A scone is not competing in a beauty contest 🙂   But it will be so lovely to bite into! IMG_9468 So today, let’s talk about 3 ways to be a better baker.  A few small nuggets of advice to help you build confidence in the kitchen whether you are baking scones or something else.

1.  Have a good understanding of your oven.  Not ovens in general, but YOUR oven.  Some ovens have hot spots, or areas that get hotter than the rest.  You may have noticed that a cake rises unevenly or becomes more browned on one side.  If this is happening, you need to rotate your items during baking.    The very best thing you can do is invest in an oven thermometer.  This tells you the actual temperature inside the oven, and you may find that it does not match up with what  you have set the dial to. If that is the case, you will need to adjust the length of baking time accordingly.

Perfectly baked:  firm to touch, lightly browned at the edges.

Perfectly baked: firm to touch, lightly browned at the edges.

2.  You need to follow directions. Yes, really!  It’s a must if you want good results.  Baking is a delicate balance between flour, moisture, leavening and heat.  Chemical reactions are involved that produce the finished baked item.  A recipe holds your hand as you go step by step through the process, so trust in the recipe.  Not all recipes are good ones, but most of them are,  so trust the process.

3.  Measure accurately.  To repeat my statement from above:  baking is a delicate balance between the ingredients.  If one of more is out of proportion, the whole thing ends up wrong, and there will be no way to fix it.  Flour and sugar should be spooned lightly into a measuring cup, then leveled with the flat side of a knife for an even measure.  Brown sugar is the exception.  It should be measured packed into the measuring cup, level across the top.  Liquids, likewise should be poured  exactly to the measurement line on a liquid measuring cup.  Measuring spoons should be filled, then leveled off with a knife for the same kind of precise measure as flour.  Cut sticks of butter according to the tablespoon markings on the wrapper, these are usually pretty accurate.

There are other tips for successful baking that I could share with you, but that’s enough for  today.  I’ll return to this subject another time.  Let’s make some delicious scones.  This recipe can be a master recipe for making just about any kind of scones, whether savory or sweet.  The ones I made are considered a sweet scone, but have just a touch of sweetness, relying on the dried apricots and hint of orange to add flavor.  At the end of the recipe, I list some other suggestions for add-ins that I think would made fantastic scones.  I’ll be trying them all out as time goes on…… IMG_9477

CLASSIC SCONES, MASTER RECIPE

Yield:   Makes 12 scones

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flourIMG_9449
  • 1  1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar (sweet), or 1 Tbsp. sugar (savory)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • ADD-INS  (see below)
  • 1 cup milk, reduced fat, or buttermilk
  • 1 large egg

Directions: 1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2.  Whisk the flours, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter; or rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips.  Stir in the ADD-INS. IMG_9450 3.  Whisk together the milk (or buttermilk) and egg in a medium bowl, stir into the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix.  Note:  if using a flavor extract, add it to the milk-egg mixture.

Liquids meet dry.

Liquids meet dry.

4.  Sprinkle a work surface with 1 Tbsp. flour.  Turn the dough out and sprinkle with a little more flour.  Knead three to five times, or until dough just comes together.  Divide in half and pat each piece into a 5-inch circle.  Cut each circle into 6 wedges and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

From each circle of dough, make 6 wedges.

From each circle of dough, make 6 wedges.

5.  Bake the scones until firm to the touch and lightly browned, 18 – 24 minutes. IMG_9454

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Glaze 'Em!

Glaze ‘Em!

ADD-INS Sweet:

  • Orange-Apricot:   1 cup chopped dried apricots,  2 Tbsp. grated orange or lemon rind,  1/2 tsp. orange or lemon extract.
  • Lemon-Poppy Seed:  2 Tbsp. lemon zest,  2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • Lemon-Ginger:  2 Tbsp. lemon zest,  1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
  • Chocolate-Cherry:   1/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped; 1/3 cup dark chocolate mini chips
  • To Glaze any of the above:  whisk 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice or milk in a small bowl until smooth.  Adjust consistency with a little more sugar or liquid as desired.  Drizzle over scones.

Savory:

  • Ham and Cheese:  1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup chopped ham, 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
  • Smoked Salmon and Dill:  1/3 cup chopped smoked salmon,  1/3 cup finely chopped red onion,  1/4 cup minced fresh dill.
  • Sun-Dried Tomato, Thyme and Asiago:   1/3 cup chopped soft sun-dried tomatoes,  1/3 cup shredded Asiago cheese,  1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme

SOURCE:  Eating Well

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Gingerbread Scones

Gingerbread Scones

Gingerbread Scones

By now your plans for Christmas morning breakfast are probably all set, but just in case they are not, here’s a suggestion for scones that are quick to make and will bring back memories of Christmas mornings past.  Ginger bread in another form, what’s not to like here?

This spicy-sweet combination of molasses and ginger is a hallmark of the holiday season.  So just like Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”,  it doesn’t take much to put us in the holiday mood.

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Beside it’s strong, robust flavor, gingerbread also packs a punch with its unmistakable aroma.  Like many aromas, it can transport you across many years and many miles to when you were first introduced to it’s spicy goodness.

The delightfully cozy combination of spicy ginger, bold molasses, cinnamon and cloves will work their memory whether you have it in the form of cakes, cookies or scones, as I made here.

GINGERBREAD SCONES

Yield:   Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flourIMG_8642
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, separated
  • coarse sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper, and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk the first eight ingredients ( flour through cloves).   Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Dry ingredients and wet ones prepared to mix together.

Dry ingredients and wet ones prepared to mix together.

3.  In another bowl, whisk milk, molasses and egg yolk until blended; stir into crumb mixture just until moistened.

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4.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently just a few times.  Pat into an 8-inch circle.  Cut into 12 wedges.

8-inch circle of dough, cut into 12 wedges.

8-inch circle of dough, cut into 12 wedges.

Place wedges 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

5.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy.  Brush over the tops of the scones.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with LOTS of sugar for a crunchy top.

Brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with LOTS of sugar for a crunchy top.

Bake 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Do not over bake, as they can become dry.

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Best when served warm.    Especially good with a flavored butter, such as cranberry butter, or honey butter.  These make a nice addition to a luncheon or a tea.

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I really liked these scones as they are not sweet, so a flavored butter adds a nice touch.  The next time I make them I will also add some chopped candied ginger, to really emphasis the ginger flavor.

SOURCE:    A Taste of Home

 

 

 

Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

I love Charlie Brown specials on TV.  I watch them whenever I can.  One in particular that  I love is It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  The Great Pumpkin seems to be known only to Linus who waits for him every year on Halloween.  Linus and his blanket wait patiently in the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to appear.  Invariably he fails to show up and a humiliated but undefeated Linus vows to wait for him again the following Halloween.

A line made famous by the  TV special is “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people:  religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin”   Well, I pretty much adhere to that rule, too, but seeing that Halloween has just passed, today is election day, and I baked pumpkin scones, I’m breaking the rule to share with you this recipe for awesome pumpkin scones.   I imagine Linus would have loved to have one while he waited for the Great Pumpkin, but you don’t have to wait that long, only long enough to whip these up and have one while it’s still warm with a cup of coffee or tea.

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PUMPKIN SCONES

Yield:  10 -11 drop sconesIMG_8448

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/4 cup all-purpose flour ( or use half white flour, and half whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 6 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into small  pieces
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup fat-free half and half ( plus extra for brushing the tops of the scones, if desired.)
  • In place of the half and half you can use 3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk, plus add 1/2 tsp. baking soda to the dry ingredients.

Optional Spice Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp. water

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice, and pulse to blend briefly.

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Add the orange zest and better and pulse on and off. until the mixture has the consistency of fine meal.

Transfer flour mixture to a large bowl.

Transfer flour mixture to a large bowl.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the pumpkin and half and half, mixing just until combined.

Mixing in the pumpkin and half-and-half.

Mixing in the pumpkin and half-and-half.

3.  Spoon the dough onto the baking sheet, using 1/4 cup measure or large spoon, to divide evenly.  This should make about 10 scones. (I got 11.)   Space them about 1 inch apart.

Space about 1-inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet.

Space about 1-inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush the tops with a tablespoon or two of fat-free half and half.

Brush tops with half-and-half.

Brush tops with half-and-half.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until they are lightly browned.

4.  For the glaze:  Add powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice and water to a small ;bowl.  Whisk together well.  Drizzle over scones and serve warm or cold.

Drizzle scones with glaze.

Drizzle scones with glaze.

Light and tender.  Just right for a snack.

Light and tender. Just right for a snack.

 

SOURCE:   old recipe from the Hartford Courant

 

Apple Pie Biscuits

 

Apple Pie Biscuits

Apple Pie Biscuits

 

Baking is all about sharing.   Sharing the recipes, sharing techniques, and most definitely, sharing what you’ve made.

Today’s offering is all about the most divine biscuits, perfect for the early fall weather we are having here in the Northeast.  I couldn’t wait to share them with you.

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Apple picking time is upon us, or you may be getting yours at the farmer’s market or grocery store.  Apples and pumpkin are probably the two favorites to include when baking in the fall.  So in the coming weeks expect to see a variety of offerings featuring these two ingredients.  Today  it’s apples!  🙂

This recipe uses self-rising flour as an ingredient.  I like to use King Arthur’s Self-Rising Flour.  It’s wonderfully light and includes non-aluminum baking powder and salt.  It’s absolutely perfect for biscuits, pancakes and muffins.  I always have a bag of it in my kitchen because I can guarantee fluffy perfect results whenever I use it.

APPLE PIE BISCUITSIMG_8073

Yield:   12 biscuits

Ingredients:

For the apples:

  • 1 baking apple (such as Fuji, or Gala), peeled, cored and sliced very thin
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

For the biscuits:IMG_8080

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2/3  to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

For the topping:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

1.  Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2.  Prepare the apples:  Place butter in a medium skillet over medium heat to melt.

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Add the apple slices, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

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Toss with a wooden spoon until all of the apples are coated and the sugar is melted over the apples, about 2 to 4 minutes.  The mixture will be warm and glossy, but the apples won’t be cooked through.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

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3.  Make the biscuit dough:  Place flour in a medium bowl and add the cold butter pieces.  Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, quickly break down the butter into the flour.  Some of the butter bits will be the size of oats, some the size of small peas.  Stir in the granulated sugar.

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4.  Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add 2/3 cup buttermilk.  Stir the mixture together until it is well moistened and holds together well.  Biscuit dough should be soft and moist.  Add the remaining buttermilk as needed.

A shaggy dough that doesn't quite come together.

A shaggy dough that doesn’t quite come together.

5.  Use regular all-purpose flour to generously dust a work surface.Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and use your hands to gather it into a ball and gently pat it into a small rectangle.   Use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough into a rectangle that is 1/2 inch thick, and about 7 x 10-inches.

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6.  Arrange cooled apples in a single layer over half of the rolled out biscuit dough.

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Fold the bare side of the dough over the apples and gently press the edges to seal in the apples.  Use your hands to nudge/ encourage the dough into a 6 x 8-inch rectangle if the edges are looking a bit rounded.

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7.  Use a sharp knife to slice the dough into a total of 12 biscuits.  Flour the knife a bit if it gets too sticky.  Use a spatula to place each biscuit onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2-inches apart.

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8.  In a small bowl, whisk together sugar for topping, cinnamon, and salt.  Brush each biscuit top with beaten egg and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

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9.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the biscuits are risen and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve warm, or cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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  Biscuits are best served the day they are made or the day after.  They may be rewarmed in the microwave.

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Tender and  light….you won’t be able to stop at just one!

 

SOURCE:   Joy the Baker

Cherry Almond Ricotta Drop Scones

Cherry Almond Ricotta Drop Scones

Cherry Almond Ricotta Drop Scones

Knowing what to eat for breakfast when you are dancing in a competition is difficult.  It’s important to eat foods for energy, but equally important  to avoid foods that will make you feel full or sluggish.  In any hotel a full breakfast is always available, but it is not my habit to partake of them.  Instead I usually bring along simple foods that I can eat quickly with some coffee while I am getting ready.

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These scones  were the ones I made to take along on my trip.  They met my requirements for easy to eat, nutritious, low in fat, and a good source of energy.

Most scones fall into one of two categories:  the English version which is very dry and crumbly, a platform for slathering on jam and clotted cream; or the Americanized version that folds the cream directly into the batter, along with a hefty measure of butter and sugar.  Either way you’re starting your day with about 500 calories, and that’s way too much for me.  So I was on the hunt for a recipe for a lightened up scone that would still provide a fruity, whole-grain, buttery  biscuit.   I found it in this recipe.

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The key is part-skim ricotta cheese.  It has a richness similar to that of whipping cream with a fraction of the fat.  Whole wheat pastry flour is worked in, and some of the butter is replaced by heart-healthy canola oil for scones that bake up light and fluffy.  Dried cherries are plumped up in orange juice for a flavor boost, and nutty almonds add crunch.  If you wish you can use half the ricotta, whipped with vanilla and citrus zest, to dollop on the freshly baked scones in place of clotted cream or butter.   I felt that having one of these crumbly, cake-like biscuits early in the day got me off to a good start.

CHERRY ALMOND RICOTTA DROP SCONES

Yield:  Makes about 10 sconesIMG_7912

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. fat-free buttermilk, divided
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 4.5 ounces whole-grain pastry flour (about 1 cup)
  • 3.4 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Combine cherries and juice in a small microwave-safe bowl.   Microwave at HIGH 1 minute; let stand 5 minutes.  Drain;  discard liquid.  Finely chop cherries.

3.  Combine ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar, rind, and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture.  Add 1/3 cup buttermilk and canola oil to remaining ricotta mixture, stirring until smooth.

Combine vanilla and orange zest with ricotta cheese.

Combine sugar, vanilla and orange zest with ricotta cheese.

4.  Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups;  level with a knife.  Combine flours, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender.

Add cherries and almonds; toss.  Add buttermilk mixture; stir just until combined.

5.  Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls 3-inches apart onto the prepared baking sheet.  Combine egg and remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk, stirring with a whisk.  Gently brush top and sides of dough with egg mixture.

Brush tops with buttermilk-egg mixture.

Brush tops with buttermilk-egg mixture.

Bake at 425*F. for 15 to 16 minutes or until golden.  Remove from the pan and cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

Bake till golden brown.

Bake till golden brown.

6.  Beat the reserved ricotta mixture at medium speed 3 minutes or until fluffy.  Serve with warm scones.

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As a finale to this recipe, I’m including here the photos I’ve been waiting for that show me dancing rhythm dances.  This costume has a lot of fringe that moves with the dancing, and shows the judges that you are using your hips correctly.  This will be the end of my show and tell about the competition,  I promise.

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SOURCE:  Cooking Light

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

When I was a teenager I went blueberry picking with my mother.  When we came home with our buckets full of  gigantic blueberries, the first thing we made was blueberry pancakes for dinner that evening.  The second thing we made were these blueberry muffins.  I think they were the first item I learned to bake.   I have never deviated from this recipe even though I have looked at many others over the years.  They are just sooo good, and they taste like home.

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These muffins are so easy to make; no beater is involved.  They are made completely by hand.  Just measure everything out, whisk together the dry ingredients,  whisk the liquids, add the sugared berries, and fill your muffin tins.  Bake and be sure to have at least one while they are still warm.  I like to have some butter melted and ready when they come out of the oven, and a little cup of sugar.  Then I dip or brush butter all over the top of each one, and sprinkle on the sugar.   Mmmmm, Mmmmm.

You know you want one!

You know you want one!

Most likely everyone already has their favorite recipe for blueberry muffins, but I’m sharing mine with you in case you don’t.  What makes these muffins a little different from others is the lemon-sugar that coats the berries before they are folded into the batter.  Lemon with blueberries is such a wonderful taste combination, and it really works to great advantage in these muffins.  Give them a try and compare to others you’ve made.

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BLUEBERRY LEMON MUFFINS

Yield:   Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

Blueberries and lemon---made for each other.

Blueberries and lemon—made for each other.

  • 1  3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup salad oil
  • 1 cup blueberries, washed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted;  a little extra sugar for topping

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.   Line a muffin pan with paper liners, or grease well.

2.  Whisk together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt  in a mixing bowl.

3.  In another smaller bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and oil.

4.  Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg mixture all at once.  Stir quickly just to moisten.  There may still be some slumps.

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5.  Mix together the lemon peel with the 2 Tbsp. sugar,  add the damp berries and toss to coat.   Stir gently into the muffin batter.

6.  Fill the muffins cups–they will be quite full.    Bake at 400*F for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven when they are golden and test done.

7.  While still warm, brush tops with melted butter and then sprinkle with extra sugar.

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

 

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SOURCE:    An old recipe from my recipe box.

 

Whole Grain Blueberry Spice Muffins

Whole-Grain Blueberry Spice Muffins

Whole-Grain Blueberry Spice Muffins

Muffins are the ultimate quick breakfast or snack, and the healthier they are, the better for you.  I’ve been experimenting with converting some of my older muffin recipes into ones that have healthier ingredients in them.  These are not the kind of muffins that could be a dessert or sweet snack.  These are great for breakfast because they will provide the energy you need to get going and will keep you satisfied until lunchtime.

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For this recipe I used half whole wheat flour along with regular all-purpose flour, and added whole-grain oats.  Quick oats could be used, but I like the rough texture and fiber that whole oats provide.  I also took out granulated sugar, and substituted brown sugar instead, making the muffins less sweet, but just sweet enough.  There is very little fat in this recipe since I used fat-free milk, and left in only 3 tablespoons of butter.  Add in some spices that can be apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice, or just plain cinnamon and nutmeg to make these muffins your own.  I like a little something  on my muffin tops (not the ones at my waist 🙂 ) so I sprinkled a little sugar on them before baking, giving the tops a little sparkle and crunch.

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These muffins bake up nice and high, and they are easy, nutritious and delicious.  They freeze very well so one or two will be readily available to defrost and reheat in the microwave whenever you want one.   To freeze muffins, let cool completely, then place desired quantity on a baking sheet and freeze individually before transferring to a zip-lock freezer bag.

 

WHOLE  GRAIN BLUEBERRY SPICE MUFFINS

Yield:   Makes 16 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour  (I used 1cup all-purpose, and 1 cup whole wheat.)IMG_7284
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (or pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1  1/2 cups frozen blueberries (keep frozen until ready to use)
  • cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

1.   Preheat the oven to 400*F.   Grease or paper-line 16 muffin cups.

2.  In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients.  ( flour through pie spice)

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3.  In a separate smaller bowl or measuring cup, whisk together wet ingredients. (  milk through egg)

4.  Combine wet ingredients with dry,  stirring only enough to incorporate.  Fold in the blueberries.

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5.  Divide batter evenly between 16 muffin cups.   Sprinkle tops of batter with granulated sugar.

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6.  Bake at 400*F.  for 16 – 18 minutes, till tops spring back when touched.   Cool on a wire rack.

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SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

Banana Chip Muffins

Banana Chip Muffins

Banana Chip Muffins

It’s hard to know when would be the best time to eat these wonderful muffins.  Certainly, for breakfast, but they make a mighty fine dessert or snack as well.  I tested out this recipe last weekend because I plan to make them for an Easter Bake sale.  Muffins are always great with coffee on Easter morning, when you know there will be a big meal sometime later in the day.

When I was a teenager our youth group always got up really early to attend an Easter sunrise service.   At that hour of the morning, it was quite chilly outside, so when the service was over we always went to someone’s house or back to church for hot chocolate and whatever other goodies were provided.  Moving and beautiful as the service was, I always looked forward to the refreshments that followed.  These muffins are the essential accessory  to a hot beverage, and would be perfect served at an early morning function, or maybe an early meeting at the office.

Muffin and a hot beverage.

Muffin and a hot beverage.

These are sturdy muffins chock full of flaked coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts if you care to add them.  The tropical taste of the coconut blends beautifully with the banana flavor and develops the batter along the way; the inclusion of  chocolate chips is a necessity for those  individuals who require chocolate in every bite of muffin.

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What makes the texture of these banana muffins somewhat cake-like and soft is the process by which the batter is assembled: the butter and brown sugar are creamed together until fluffy and smooth.  This builds the batter’s creamy quality and prepares the mixture for the addition of the whole eggs.  Once the eggs are added, the flavoring extract and the mashed bananas are incorporated, followed by the final mix-in of the dry ingredients and enough buttermilk to moisten the whole.  The batter is now ready to accept the shredded coconut, mini chips and nuts.

Spooned into lined muffin cups and baked, the batter bakes up into plump muffins that have lovely rounded tops.  When you break open a warm muffin, you’ll find a tender, moist, “crumb” holding chocolate chips and coconut, all wrapped by the taste of banana.  Sigh!!

Can anything make them better?   Yes, butter!!

Can anything make them better? Yes, butter!!

BANANA CHIP MUFFINS

Yield:   12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup white whole wheat and 1 cup regular flour.)IMG_7014
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips ( I used mini chips.)

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Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Line 12 muffin cups (3-ounce size)  with paper liners, or grease lightly.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the brown sugar for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.

3.  Beat in the eggs to incorporate,  add in the banana and vanilla.   The mixture may look curdled.   Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, continuing to mix just to combine.

4.  Reserve 2 tablespoons chocolate chips.  Add the rest of the chips, the coconut, and nuts, (if using) to the batter and stir in to distribute evenly.

5.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Sprinkle the tops with the reserved chocolate chips.  Bake 25 – 30 minutes until a toothpick into the center of one muffin comes out clean.

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6.  Remove the muffin tin to a wire rack.  Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes.  Remove muffins from the cups and finish cooling on the rack.  Serve warm or cool completely and store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Happy Easter!  :)

Happy Easter! 🙂

 

SOURCE:   Chocolatier Magazine

 

Candied Orange and Golden Raisin Scones

Candied Orange and Golden Raisin Scones

Candied Orange and Golden Raisin Scones

As I’m sure you know by now I really love scones. I’ve never eaten a scone I didn’t like, but if they include dried fruits or ginger that scone and I will be friends for life. So this particular recipe had me at “candied orange” and when you add golden raisins and then soak all that in orange liqueur overnight before baking, then let me tell you these are the best scones imaginable.

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They become crisp and golden with a light, flaky interior. The fruit offers a slightly chewy contrast. Orange zest and Grand Marnier, or any orange flavor liqueur, flavor the scones. Slather them with butter and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast. But really they could be dessert. The other aspect of this recipe that got me was the total yield is around 15 or 16 scones. So you can bake once, and freeze half of them to enjoy at a later date. These scones keep for 2-3 days in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Flaky and tender inside.

Flaky and tender inside.

CANDIED ORANGE AND GOLDEN RAISIN SCONES

Yield: about 16 2-inch round scones

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup diced candied orange peel
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zestIMG_6578
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • coarse salt
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 large whole egg plus 1 large egg, separated
  • fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

1. Stir together candied orange peel, raisins, orange zest and liqueur in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 day.

2. Preheat oven to 350*F. Whisk flours together in a large bowl. Transfer half to a processor and add butter. Pulse to cut in butter (the largest pieces should be the size of small peas.) Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt to remaining flour in bowl; whisk to combine. With pastry blender or your fingertips, work in the flour-butter mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal.

3. Whisk together cream, whole egg, and egg yolk. Make a well in the center of flour mixture, and pour in half of cream mixture. Draw dry ingredients over wet ingredients with a rubber spatula, scraping bottom of bowl to incorporate all dry crumbs. Add remaining cream mixture, and gently mix just until incorporated–do not overwork dough.

4. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and press dough into a 6-by-9-inch rectangle. Sprinkle dried fruit mixture evenly over dough. With a short side facing you, fold rectangle into thirds, as you would a letter. Rotate dough a quarter-turn clockwise. Roll out dough to a 6-by-9-inch rectangle, folding and rotating once more.

5. Pat dough into a 1 1/4-inch-thick rectangle with floured hands, and cut out as many rounds as possible with a floured 2-inch round biscuit cutter. Gather scraps, reroll once, and cut out more rounds ( you should have a total of 16).

Note: In order to avoid rerolling scraps and cutting twice, I rolled my dough out to approximately 6-inch-by-10-inch rectangle, then with a sharp knife cut out 2″ squares, getting a total of 15.

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6. Place scones 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Lightly beat egg white and brush tops; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool on sheets. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Fresh from the oven and smelling delicious.

Fresh from the oven and smelling delicious.

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SOURCE: Martha Stewart Living

Maple Bacon Oatmeal Muffins

Maple Bacon and Oatmeal Muffins

Maple Bacon and Oatmeal Muffins

These are the best breakfast muffins, ever.   You read that right.  These muffins are for all of you who can’t make up your mind in the morning.  These muffins are like four breakfasts rolled into one:  they are a stack of pancakes, a bowl of oatmeal, bacon and eggs or just a muffin, thank you very much.

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Just when I’m trying to avoid eating greasy things like bacon, or pancakes slathered with butter and maple syrup, here I go combining them.  No, I’m not trying to kill you, or me either, I’m just full of contradictions.  But there is meaning in my madness:  the oatmeal is in there for a purpose.  Oatmeal provides fiber, and the fiber cleanses out the greasy bad stuff.  Oh, the power of oatmeal.  It’s feeling the weight of responsibility on its shoulders.  But I know it can handle it, else I wouldn’t be using it.   Maple syrup?  It’s there to take the place of sugar.  You know, sweeten things up a little.  And living in maple syrup country as I do, I try to include it when ever possible.  Bacon?   Well what can I say about bacon that hasn’t already been said by a million  other people.  Bacon makes everything better.  That’s all there is to it.

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You must try these muffins —- and think how healthy they are for you!

MAPLE BACON OATMEAL MUFFINS

Yield:   This recipe makes about 17 -18 muffins.  It can easily be halved for a yield of about 8-9 muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 cups quick cooking or regular rolled oats

    A trio of great ingredients:  maple syrup, oatmeal and bacon.

    A trio of great ingredients: maple syrup, oatmeal and bacon.

  • 1 1/2 cups milk  (any kind, I used almond milk)
  • 2 cups flour (I recommend using 1/2  white whole flour and/or spelt flour for additional nutrition and fiber)
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg ( when making half a recipe, I still used 1 whole egg)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  •  2 Tbsp. maple syrup for brushing tops

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.   Line muffin tin(s) with paper liners and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine milk and oats, then let it sit while you cook the bacon to allow the oats to soften.

Cooking the bacon.

Cooking the bacon.

3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

4.  Whisk maple syrup, melted butter, and egg into the oatmeal mixture.  Lightly stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients along with the bacon.

5.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups until each is about 3/4 full.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the tops with the reserved maple syrup, using a pastry brush.

Brush the tops with maple syrup while still warm from the oven.

Brush the tops with maple syrup while still warm from the oven.

Be sure to “taste test” one while it is still warm.  😀

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SOURCE:   an adaptation of Oatmeal Muffins from Taste of Home