Blueberry Scones, My Dear Watson…

I’m slowly turning everyone around me into a Sherlock fan.

It started simply enough…I found one of my coworkers who also watched the show, then we started talking about how great it was, then we got one more person to watch, then another, then another…

Anyway, what started simply enough turned into a group of us planning a Sherlock day where we watched an entire season of the show and celebrated being Anglophiles. Which led to the request for blueberry scones.  Which led to this…

Original Recipe is here: http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/blueberry-lemon-cream-scones/

What You Need

2 cups flour
grated zest of a lemon
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ cups heavy cream, plus extra for brushing
¾ cup fresh or frozen (don’t thaw them) blueberries

 

And Here’s What You Do

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet using your favorite method.  I prefer my parchment paper.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients along with the zest in a bowl.  Slowly mix in the cream until a soft dough forms.
  3. Remove the dough to a lightly floured board (or a very clean kitchen counter) and knead a few times.  Pat the dough down to about a half of an inch thick, then place the berries over the dough.  Fold the dough over to enclose the berries a few times until all the berries are trapped within the dough.  Pat out the dough into a circle, about an inch thick.  Brush the tops with more cream, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  4. Cut into 8 wedges, then place on the baking sheet about an inch apart.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until they turn golden.  Serve immediately.
  5. Makes 8 scones.

 

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What I Did

I wasn’t terribly hesitant to make them, but I didn’t have a basis for comparison.  That can sometimes lead to second guessing yourself and making big mistakes.  Luckily, I was able to avoid that.

I did find out that a great time to go to the Big Blue Box Store is 6:30 am on a Saturday morning.  I really dislike going there, but it was the only alternative at that time of the morning.  I needed almost everything for the scones since my stock of flour and sugar and whatnot was diminished over the holidays.

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I think the best compliment that I got was the fact that they didn’t last but about 20 minutes.  Granted, there were five of us and only eight scones, but still!  One of the ladies described them as lovely and buttery in the center.  I completely agree with her, but I chuckle at the fact that there isn’t a bit of butter in them!  This is one of those magical recipes that are able to bring out the richness of all of the ingredients to the point where you think you are tasting ingredients that aren’t there.

1901732_10102999126543210_1228756333_nAbove picture courtesy of Shaina Mangino

They were gone so quickly that I wasn’t able to take a picture.  Luckily, one of the ladies snapped a pic of them and some of the other goodies that we had, so I have a bit of a reference for what they looked like. Definitely keeping this one for the future!

I’ll have to make them the next time we have a Sherlock day.  If you don’t watch, you should!

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

 

Pumpkin Bread

Few things are as warm and comforting as a loaf of quick bread.  In very little time (and mostly with ingredients that you have on hand) you can have a loaf of bread that fills your kitchen with it’s delightful aroma.

I truly have been on a bit of a pumpkin kick lately.  When I lived in cooler weather, I never craved the spices and flavors of fall.  Now that I live where the weather is pretty mild throughout the year, I find that I look forward to the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger flavors more as the years pass.

Original recipe is here: http://www.carpoolcoutureandcocktails.com/2013/09/22/an-autumn-tradition-pumpkin-bread/

What You Need

1 15 oz can pumpkin

4 eggs

1 c veggie oil

2/3 c water

3 cups sugar

3 ½ c all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ground ginger

 

And Here’s What You Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then grease and flour three loaf pans.
  2. Mix together pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, and sugar in a large bowl until well blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended.  Pour into the pans
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

What I Did

Three loaves of bread?  How about three different versions of the bread?  I made one plain, on topped with mini chocolate chips (cause you know I’ve got a bag in the cupboard), and one with chocolate chips throughout.

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If you like banana bread, then I’m pretty sure that you will love this bread!  The one thing that I don’t like about banana bread is that it easily falls apart.  The pumpkin kept these loaves  together almost in a cake-like way.

I took the loaves to work to help celebrate the beginning of our new fiscal year.  It may sound odd, but I get such joy out of watching others enjoy what I have made.

I think this might replace banana bread at any time of the year…

 

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Apple Oatmeal Raisin Bread – Wholesome Breakfast in a Bread

Bread is such a great thing to make.  I think I feel the most satisfied when I have a golden loaf fresh out of the oven.  Unlike bread that uses yeast (like most sandwich bread), quick breads are much easier and faster to make.  No rising, no proofing, no kneading, punching, or making sure that your yeastie beasties don’t die.

I had a lot of apples that I needed to use, so I found a recipe for fruit bread that you can mix and match ingredients in.   The concept is the same as banana bread, just with apples.

What You Need:

1 cup shredded apple, squeezed dry

¾ cup rolled oats

½ cup raisins

1/2  cup sweetened coconut

1 ¼ cups flour

¾ cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs

½ cup cooled melted butter or vegetable oil

½ cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon citrus zest (optional)

 

And Here’s What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter one 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then mix together until just combined.  Spread in the pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool 30 minutes in the pan on a rack, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely.

What I Did:

I followed the recipe, but the batter seemed like it was a little bit dry.  Out came the sour cream for two more tablespoons! After that, the batter was a tiny bit wetter than I liked (cause you know me, I usually swing from one extreme to another when it comes to baking), and I was praying that everything would turn out ok.

After its stint in the oven, the loaf was lovely and spongey.

The really cool thing about this recipe is that you can mix and match your ingredients.   The cup of apples can be substituted for banana, zucchini, carrots, or pears and you can put in a mixture of anything you want – nuts, chocolate chips, oatmeal, dried fruit, etc.  Just don’t use more than 1 ¾ cup of the mix-in ingredients, and no more than ¾ cup of nuts.  I used oats, raisins, and coconut, but use your imagination to see what you can come up with!

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Scott liked the bread, and it was a welcome snack at any time of the day.  The bread was pretty moist until the last slice was gone, so I guess that I’m glad that I added that extra sour cream.  I really like having this bread in the morning since it kinda tasted like a bowl of oatmeal in a bread.

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Chocolate-Glazed Banana Bread

I love making banana bread. It’s truly one of the easiest things to bake.  And it’s a great way to use all those half-gone bananas that you promised yourself that you would eat when you bought them last week.  Or, if you find yourself with one or two, stick them in the freezer until you have enough to make the bread.  Make sure you tell roommates/spouses/significant others/children that you have started saving the bananas in the freezer.  They might think you’ve gone bonkers when they see the blackened fruit.

One of the things I love the most about banana bread is the fact that it is so versatile. You can add pretty much anything to it.  I’ve added macadamia nuts, chocolate chips, almonds…pretty much anything you can think of.  But what follows is the basic recipe that I use when I make it, without any add-ins.

On to the recipe!

Bread

Here are the Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium)

¾ cup sugar

¼ canola oil

1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (optional)

½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

And here’s what you do:

  1. Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan; set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar, oil, and lemon peel (if desired).  Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Stir until just moistened.  Fold in nuts.
  3. Spoon batter into the prepared pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove loaf from pan; cool on rack.  Wrap and store overnight before slicing.  Makes one loaf.

I decided to get all fancy and add a glaze this time…I’ve never done this before!  So, here it is:

Glaze

Here are the ingredients:

4 oz of semisweet chocolate, cut up

3 tablespoons butter

1 ½ cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons hot water

 

And here’s what you do:

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.  Stir in powdered sugar and the hot water.  Stir in additional hot water if needed, to reach drizzling consistency.  Spoon over bread.

What I did to the bread:

Instead of greasing the pan itself, I line the loaf pan with foil, then use a cooking spray on the foil.  That way, you can just lift the loaf right out of the pan to cool it.  Nothing sticks!

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I don’t think that I’ve ever used the lemon peel in this recipe, so I can’t tell you if I feel that something is missing when it isn’t added.

The bread can be a little unpredictable when it comes to baking times.  I’ve baked it for a full hour before it was done.  This time, I baked it for only 45 minutes.  If the middle isn’t done, but the top is nice and brown, just cover with foil to finish baking.

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What I did to the glaze:

I was trying to come up with a way to use the extra unsweetened cocoa powder that was in my cupboard, so I came up with the brilliant idea for the glaze.  Most glaze recipes that I’d found called for semi-sweet baking chocolate (like this one), but with a bit of adjusting, it worked out well.  I added a bit more sugar, and had to add a total of five tablespoons of hot water (at three tablespoons, I had a lovely chocolate frosting.  Must remember this recipe for when I need chocolate frosting).

After it had cooled, I peeled the foil from the sides of the loaf, and set the entire thing (foil and all) on a baking sheet to keep the glaze off the counter.

I let the loaf cool completely before glazing.  It was a little runny when I first poured it over the bread, but it was easy to re-spoon the run-off back on top off the loaf.  I did this a few times just to get the majority of the glaze on the bread.

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So, really…how fantastic can chocolate glazed banana bread be?

Very fantastic, actually.

Some of it seeped down into the bread, causing this chocolatey-banana goodness.  The glaze has yet to completely set up, so it’s still a pretty gooey experience when you eat a piece.  This is definitely more of a dessert than something for breakfast, though.

I had a great idea for something I was calling “Elvis Bread”, and I was thinking that Scott would love it since he has such a love for peanut butter.  Alas, it will have to wait until another time.  He wasn’t feeling it…and the peanut butter chips from last week’s bars will have to stay in my cupboard until another time…

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Okay, I’m caving.  I’m posting this recipe because I’ve been asked to.  Repeatedly.  And I would just like to say that it is not mine, I didn’t make it up, I just love making it!  This comes from a place called the Cabernet Inn in New Hampshire.  I’ve never been there, but it looks awesome.  Click http://www.cabernetinn.com/ to see!

Here’s the ingredients:

2 1/3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup chocolate chips
3 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups unpeeled, grated zucchini (about 3 medium)

And here’s what you do:

Preheat oven 350 degrees. In a Large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and chocolate chips. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs slightly. Whisk in oil and vanilla. Stir in zucchini and add mixture to dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Pour into 2 lightly greased loaf pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and remove bread from pans. Yield: 2 breads.

My notes:

I don’t change a thing.  Not a single stinkin thing.  It’s good toasted.  It’s good sliced and plain. It’s good with butter.  It’s good with ice cream.  It’s good crumbled up in vanilla yogurt.  It’s been stolen out of Scott’s lunch box by his boss. The batter is good eaten with a spoon.  Not that I would know, of course….one should never consume raw eggs…especially when eating cookie dough….

Expect the batter to be slightly runnier than banana bread.  But it’s oh-so-fudgy when it’s done.

I’ve made this bread with both peeled and unpeeled zucchini.  There are more green bits in it when you leave the zucchini unpeeled, but it doesn’t affect the flavor.  It’s interesting how you can see the shreds of zucchini in the batter before it’s baked, but I’ve never really seen it once the loaf is done.  Maybe it breaks down??  Lord only knows.  I’m no chemist…

Alright, there you have it!  Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend!

Peace, love, and cupcakes!