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

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Cherry Scones

Cherry Scones.

Cherry Scones.

When you want a baked treat for brunch or afternoon tea, this scone recipe will fit the bill.  I made these for the first time recently, and we couldn’t wait for them to cool before having one.  They were so flaky and tender, they just fell apart in our hands.  The dried cherries lend just the right amount of sweetness.  These are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, for breakfast, brunch, snack, afternoon break;  anytime at all is the best time to enjoy one.

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If you want a good basic scone recipe to rely on, this one is it.  You could replace the dried cherries with so many other dried fruits like cranberries (change lemon zest to orange zest),  apricots, golden raisins, snipped dates, etc.

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CHERRY SCONES

Yield:  Makes 8 scones

Ingredients:

  • 1  3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 2  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2  1/2 Tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 Tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing scones  (You may substitute buttermilk or light cream, but heavy cream will give you a richer scone)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat;  set aside.

2.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Add butter and pulse 3 to 6 times until mixture resembles a course meal.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in cherries and lemon zest.

Add dried cherries and lemon zest to dry ingredients.

Add dried cherries and lemon zest to dry ingredients.

3.  In a small bowl, beat together egg and cream.  Add to flour mixture; stir gently with a fork until mixture just comes together.  If dough seems too dry, add a splash of cream;  mixture should not be too sticky.

A very "shaggy" dough, but it will come together. Add a drop or two of cream if needed.

A very “shaggy” dough, but it will come together. Add a drop or two of cream if needed.

4.  Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Shape dough into a 6-inch circle, about 1 inch thick.  Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 8 equal wedges.

Cut dough into 8 wedges. Brush with a little cream.

Cut dough into 8 wedges. Brush with a little cream.

Place scones on prepared baking sheet; lightly brush tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.

5.  Let cool slightly on baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.  These scones are best eaten the day they are made.

Enjoy with coffee or tea.

Enjoy with coffee or tea.

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SOURCE:  MARTHA STEWART.COM

Chocolate Almond Cherry Biscotti

Chocolate Almond Cherry Biscotti

Chocolate Almond Cherry Biscotti

Don’t try to resist these.  Just go with the flow and have one (or two) with  a warm cup of coffee, or hot cocoa.  Oh, my, they are beyond good.

Perfect with a cup of coffee or cocoa.

Perfect with a cup of coffee or cocoa.

If you have never made biscotti before, let me assure you they are not hard.  Yes, they bake twice.  That’s what gives them their crunch.  First you mix up the dough and shape it into a log on a baking sheet.  Then the log is baked and allowed to cool a bit.  Then you slice it crosswise, and bake it again.  These cookies are crunchy and chocolatey.  Chock full of chopped almonds and sweet dried cherries, then they’re dipped into melted semisweet chocolate for that extra special Valentine touch.  Ta-da!!

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These are perfect for dessert, teatime, with a cup of cappuccino, perfect for breakfast, perfect for packaging up and giving this Valentine’s Day.  Did I say they are perfect?       Ooooo-yeah!

CHOCOLATE ALMOND CHERRY BISCOTTI

YIELD:   16-18 pieces

Lots of good things go into these lovely biscotti.

Lots of good things go into these lovely biscotti.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1  3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cup dried cherriesIMG_6461

For chocolate dip:

  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 tsp. shortening

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2.  With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar till fluffy.  Add in the eggs and extracts, beating till well combined.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, almond flour, baking powder and salt.

Mix dry ingredients together.

Mix dry ingredients together.

With the mixer on “Low”, add in the dry ingredients in several batches.  Stir in the almonds and cherries.

4.  Spoon the dough onto the baking sheet diagonally in a long line.  With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a log that measures approx. 14″ x 3″.   Smooth the top with a rubber spatula if necessary.

Shape dough into a "log".

Shape dough into a “log”.

5.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes.

The log, after baking.

The log, after baking.

6.  Reduce oven temperature to 325*F.   Spritz log lightly with water just to slightly moisten the crust.  Cut crosswise into strips about  3/4-inch to 1-inch wide.  Stand upright.

Spritz the crust lightly, cut crosswise, and stand upright.

Spritz the crust lightly, cut crosswise, and stand slices upright.

7.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 25 – 30 minutes till dry.  Remove and let cool completely.

8.  To Dip:  Melt 2/3 cup chips and the shortening in a microwave safe dish ( about 45 seconds at 50% power).  Stir to smooth out, then stir in the remaining chips and stir again till smooth.  Dip bottoms of biscotti into the chocolate.  Let dry on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.  Refrigerate for 5 – 10 minutes to set.

Dip bottoms of biscotti into melted chocolate.

Dip bottoms of biscotti into melted chocolate.

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SOURCE:    Bake at 350