Almost Famous Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

Hello again my lovely followers!  Let me start this post by saying that this is the most requested recipe that my friends and family ask me to make.  I started making these babies when I was in third grade and the recipe has stuck with me ever since. In elementary school, my mom taught the cooking elective, and as you can probably imagine, I was always first in line to cook and taste every dish we made.  I kept the scone recipe that we used, and have been baking these ever since.

When I was studying abroad in England (spring of 2012), I made about seven or eight batches of these scones because my friends just kept asking for more.  When I returned to Clark for my final two years of school, I baked these for anything from dinner parties, to nights of tea and Netflix.  They just go with everything!  This has become a go-to recipe for me as I continue on my baking adventures.  In the words of my dad, “there is just something unique about these scones that I have never really tasted before.”

So without further ado, here is my recipe for Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

blueberry buttermilk scones

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ c. flour
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 ¼ t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. baking soda
  • ½ t. salt
  • 6 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • 2 T. dried blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Mix buttermilk with dried fruit to soften fruit.
  3. Stir dry ingredients together with a fork.
  4.  Add cold butter pieces and using your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  It’s OK if some larger pieces of butter remain; it adds to flakiness.
  5.  Pour in buttermilk and fruit mixture and mix with a fork until ingredients are just moistened.  You’ll have a soft dough with a rough look.  (If the dough looks dry, add a little more buttermilk, about ½ T.)
  6. Gather the dough into a ball and knead it very briefly on a lightly floured board, about 10 times.  The dough should not be sticky and should barely come together.
  7.  Pat dough into a ½ inch thick circle about 7 inches across. It is OK if the dough pulls apart a little.
  8. Place scones on an un-greased baking sheet and brush the dough with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Cut the circle into 6 equal triangles. Do not separate the triangles from each other.
  10.  Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until tops and bottoms are golden.  When you push lightly on the top of the scone, it should barely give.
  11. Transfer to a rack and cool slightly.

I think one of the reasons why these scones are always a big hit is because they are moist but not too sweet.  As many of you may know, I am more of a savory kind of gal, so I don’t put as much sugar in my scones as many other recipes call for.  I think the blueberries give the scones a unique natural sweetness that too much sugar would just cover up.

Hope these scones make you feel warm and fluffy. I recommend enjoying them with a hot cup of masala chai. Cheers!

Advertisements

Pumpkin Oat Streusel Muffins

It’s only November 8th and I am already seeing Christmas EVERYWHERE! No. Not okay. Christmas doesn’t come until AFTER Thanksgiving.  In my mind, it’s still fall, and that means more baking with pumpkins, apples, cinnamon and nutmeg.  I had some leftover pumpkin in the fridge, so I started looking up recipes.  I don’t know if I have said this before, but I get most of my recipes from foodgawker.com.  That’s where the creative cooks live.  It is a website that is very focused on the visuals of food, which is always important.  My favorite part about it, however, is that almost all the recipes are from food blogs.  I am able to find all kinds of creative recipes that I would not normally come across if I just did a Google Search.

I narrowed my search down to two muffin recipes and decided to combine different aspects of them.  The result was this AMAZING muffin that I will absolutely be making again.  Did I mention that the apartment smelled like pure heaven?

Here is the recipe for Pumpkin Oat Streusel Muffins

Image

Ingredients
Muffins

½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
¾ cup quick oats
1½ cups flour

Streusel Topping

1/3 cup oats
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks

Directions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar in a bowl. Add pumpkin and eggs and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, add salt, baking soda, baking powder, spice, and oats. Add flour and mix until combined.
  4. Slowly fold dry mixture into wet mixture.  Stir until just combined
  5. For the streusel topping: in a small bowl mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix in the butter with your hands until the mixture is crumbly.
  6. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over each muffin.
  7. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until lightly browned on top or toothpick inserted comes out clean

Muffin recipe adapted from jensfavoritecookies.com

Streusel topping recipe adapted from twopeasandtheirpod.com

This is the last month to enjoy fall so I suggest you do so by making some of these muffins to share with your friends. They are good, trust me! I am on my third one.  Enjoy!

Apple Chips: Just in time for fall!

Okay, fall is by far my favorite season of the year, and living in New England, that means beautiful fall foliage, sweater weather, scarves, boots, pumpkin spice lattes, cider donuts, and apple picking.  Two weeks ago I went apple picking for the first time with one of my friends.  It was an absolutely beautiful day and the contrast of the red Gala apples against the stunningly blue sky and the bright green leaves was just incredible.  But even better was picking and eating tons and tons of apples (my apple of choice was Fuji).

Once I got home, I wanted to make anything and everything apple related.  I started out by making a batch of applesauce, then an apple oat bread that was not my favorite because I’m pretty sure i didn’t put enough sugar in it AND undercooked it (whoops).  I then used my applesauce to make one of the best banana breads ever to enter my kitchen (recipe here).  After these adventures I decided that I wanted an apple snack.  I came across the idea for apple chips on Pintrest one day when I was putting off doing an assignment for one of my classes.  These things are so easy to make and they taste so yummy!  I have to admit, I finished them in about 2 days, so I will definitely be making more!

Image

Apple Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 Apples (I used Fuji, use your favorite variety)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (add more to your liking)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl until combined
  3. Wash and dry the apples. Thinly slice the apples using a mandolin, to 1/16 inch. If you are using a knife, try to slice the apples to no larger than 1/8 inch. Remove the seeds from the individual slices.
  4. Spread the apples slices onto the lined baking pans making one single layer
  5. Use a pastry brush to lightly cover each slice of apple with a little bit of honey (I found it easier to melt the honey for 10 seconds in the microwave so it was easier to spread)
  6. Gently sprinkle each apple slice with a thin coating of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Turn over the apple slices and apply honey and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
  7. Bake for 1 hour, then flip the apples (I used my fingers to turn the apples), and bake for an additional hour. Depending on the thickness of the apples, continue to bake for additional time if needed until crispy. To test the doneness, remove the apples from the oven and allow to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. If the apples are not crunchy, continue baking the chips. Make sure to check the color of the apples, as too much time will cause them to burn if not monitored continually.
  8. Once the apples are cooled and have become crisp, store chips in an airtight container for up to 1-2 weeks. However, they are so addicting they may not last that long!

Recipe adapted from jessicagavin.com

I found that even though some of mine were not completely crispy, they were still incredibly delicious!  How can you go wrong with apples, cinnamon sugar, and honey?  The only suggestion I have is to ALWAYS have a timer on for this recipe.  Because the apples are in the oven for so long, it is easy to forget that they are there.  This is an easy way to cook and do work at the same time!  I hope you love these as much as I did! Enjoy!

Halloween Popcorn

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.  It is the one day (or multiple days in college) of the year when you can dress up as anything you want and no one will question why.  I take a lot of time to figure out my costume and I have never in my life bought a costume.  I always put it together from pieces of clothing I own or sew it myself.  It’s more fun and creative that way.  The other thing I love about Halloween is the candy (who doesn’t).  Just like all the trick-or-treating kids, I can’t wait to get my hands on some candy.  But eating that much candy is obviously not very healthy, so I came up with something just as tasty but consisting of less sugar.

Here is the recipe for my Halloween Popcorn

Image

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag kettle corn or salted popcorn, popped by bag instructions
  • 1/3 cup candy corn
  • 1/4 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cover a baking sheet with wax paper and spread out the popcorn so that it is in one layer
  2. Put the candy corn in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals siring after each interval. Once the candy corn has melted, use a spoon to drizzle it over the popcorn.
  3. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals siring after each interval.  When the chocolate has completely melted, add the vegetable oil to the melted chocolate.  This will help the chocolate drizzle better over the popcorn.  Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn.
  4. After both the melted candy corn and chocolate have been drizzled over the popcorn, let the popcorn sit for about 20 to 30 min so that the candy and chocolate hardens.
  5. Once hardened, remove from baking sheet, break into smaller pieces, and serve!

This is a nice easy (and healthier) way to enjoy Halloween candy without actually consuming that much candy! A win-win situation all around.  It is also really quite cheap and one batch of this only costs about $1.50 to make! I ended up serving this at a small Halloween party I threw for my friends, and it went FAST!  So let the kids have the candy and help yourself to some Halloween popcorn! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast

I have always loved the amazing taste of pumpkin pie.  It reminds me of beautiful fall days and getting together with family and friends for the holidays.  But the problem I always have with pie is that it is served as dessert.  Being such a foodie, I am usually too full from an amazing dinner to have room in my stomach for pie.  I can’t fully enjoy my pie if I’m already stuffed full from a previous meal.  So this is the solution…have it for breakfast!!  That way I can start the day with the delicious flavor of pumpkin and I can fully enjoy the taste of it because I will not be suffering from the food coma of a prior meal.

Because this recipe is the breakfast version of pumpkin pie, it is in the form of a muffin (a traditional breakfast food) but it still has all the flavors and spices that a normal pumpkin pie would have.  It’s perfect for a crisp fall morning when I’m running to class and don’t have enough time to sit down and eat a bowl of cereal.

Here is the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Muffins

Image

Pumpkin Pie Muffins
Makes about a dozen

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and flour.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and mix on low until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter among lined muffin tins, filling each cup ¾ full.
  6. Bake for 17-22 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs.

Recipe courtesy of SnixyKitchen.com

Although pumpkin pie is a classic fall food, it is sometimes fun to present those flavors in a new way.  I chose muffins because breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as I (and my roommates) did! Enjoy!

Let’s start with the basics…Bread

Bread. we eat it all the time and it is definitely a staple in college.  Although buying it at the supermarket is easy and fast, I have a few reservations when it comes to cheap bread. Why the heck do so many breads contain high fructose corn syrup?!  I was so surprised when I first found this out; I didn’t want to believe it, so I checked the labels myself.  And sure enough, there it was in the ingredients list of a variety of breads at the store, along with some other ingredients that I couldn’t quite pronounce.

It was then that I decided that I should just make my own bread! Then I could decide and know exactly what I was eating.  The only problem was time.  Real bread (with active yeast) takes about 4-5 hours to make (including rising time), and in between classes, practice, and other college life commitments, there was no way that was happening during the week.  But weekends were a different story.  On a normal Saturday I get up really late, go on Facebook, and watch TV.  So I figured if I devoted 4 of those hours to baking bread, it would not be a huge sacrifice….And boy was I right.  That was the best decision I ever made.  Not only did the bread taste WAY better (and fresher) than anything at the store, but it also made the whole apartment smell like a bakery. How can you argue with that?!

Here is the recipe for the scrumptious Honey Wheat bread I made.

Honey Wheat Bread

Honey Wheat Bread

This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread, but since this was my first time making it, and since there is only one loaf pan in the apartment, I made a half recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking) plus additional for topping
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105-115°F)
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast (from 3 packages)
  • 1/2 cup mild honey
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for buttering pans
  • 3 cups stone-ground whole-wheat flour
  • About 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Vegetable oil for oiling bowl
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Special equipment: 2 (8- by 4-inch) loaf pans

DIRECTIONS

Heat milk in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over low heat until hot but not boiling, then remove pan from heat and stir in oats. Let stand, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooled to warm.

Stir together water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon honey in a small bowl; let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) Stir yeast mixture, melted butter, and remaining honey into cooled oatmeal.

Stir together whole-wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add oat mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead with floured hands, adding just enough of remaining unbleached flour to keep from sticking, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes (dough will be slightly sticky). Form dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel; let rise at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Lightly butter loaf pans. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to remove air. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a loaf, then place 1 loaf in each buttered pan, seam side down, tucking ends gently to fit. Cover loaf pans loosely with a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly brush tops of loaves with some of egg wash and sprinkle with oats, then bake until bread is golden and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. (Remove 1 loaf from pan to test for doneness. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen.)

Remove bread from pans and transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

(Recipe courtesy of epicurious.com )

——————————————————————–
Don’t be afraid to make something new, or put a little time into your cooking!  After making this bread, I realized that, not only was it cheaper in the long run to just make my own bread, but it was also a great experience.  And now, since I know the basics of bread making, I can make all different kinds!  So get off Facebook, and get in the kitchen and make some bread!  Everyone will be jealous, you’ll see! Enjoy!