Apple Cinnamon Scones

I’ve had scones on the brain since the last time I made them, which feels like it was ages ago. There’s something awesome about scones that makes me want to keep eating them all the time and forever. It might be all the butter and cream, to be honest. Since I have been dreaming about scones, I couldn’t decide what flavor to make them. I’ve had success with pretty much any flavor in my house because apparently, I’m not the only one with a scone fixation here.

Apple Cinnamon Scones Plated

I’m not sure if I mentioned it here before but I am done with pumpkin for the time being. I went HAM last year with the pumpkin recipes and decided this was the year for apples. Pumpkin anything seems so played out these days. Like, Starbucks brought out the Pumpkin Spice Latte in August. AUGUST! It wasn’t even remotely close to fall weather then! I don’t know but that kind of takes out the novelty of things when they’re brought out too early; kind of like putting Christmas decorations on sale in September. As much as I love Christmas and the holiday season, it’s not time for that yet.

For me, this is apple season. I already made and posted one apple recipe this season, but I have a couple more up my sleeve. When my dad isn’t ranting about his OTM (one true muffin), he’s eating apple things. With that in mind, I set out to make apple cinnamon everything and I’m not even done. For today though, let’s talk about scones.

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Like I mentioned before, there’s something about scones. I still don’t know what it is but there’s a distinct scone taste that only certain scones have. I briefly mentioned it the first time I made them here but I can only imagine it has something to do with butter. Speaking of that first time, I used the same recipe but modified it to use apples and cinnamon for a more seasonal offering.

Besides swapping out the orange for apples and cinnamon, I opted for cream instead of milk. Decadent much? Hell yes! I just feel that butter and cream both belong in scones at the same time. No other way about it. For the apples, I used McIntosh because it was the only kind I had around. They’re not the optimal apple to bake with though, and work better when used in conjunction with other apples. For example, my one true apple is the Granny Smith. It’s perfect for baking because its flavor is still there, they’re sturdy, and still have a bit of bite to them even after being baked. If I make these again, I’ll definitely change the apples from McIntosh to Granny Smith (and suggest you do the same, too). I also grated the apple instead of chunks because I wanted the flavor to be ‘equally distributed.’ Might’ve backfired on me but it can probably work with a Granny Smith, as opposed to the soft McIntosh.

Apple Cinnamon Scone Wedges

Even though I had slight moisture issues with this batch (again), they came out delicious. Unfortunately, they spread out quite a bit in the oven and barely held their shape. This probably happened for two reasons; the butter got too soft in the batter and because of the excess moisture. And then because of my choice of apple, their flavor kind of disappeared in the scone. Upsetting but nothing too bad. They still had that scone taste that I love, and were very cinnamon-y. I topped some of them with a cream and cinnamon glaze to amp up that fall flavor. SO GOOD!

Apple Cinnamon Scone solo

Mind you, these aren’t very photogenic. As much as I tried to make them look appetizing, it didn’t really work. Trust me when I tell you they were delish, especially since they were gone within a day. I guess I’m really not the only one with a scone fixation!

Apple Cinnamon Scones – adapted from this recipe

makes 16 scones

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • about 1 cup shredded apples
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two sheet pans with parchment and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and sugar. Mix well.
  3. Cut in the butter, either with a pastry cutter, forks or your fingers, into the dry ingredients. Continue until the butter chunks are about the size of peas.
  4. Add the grated apple and mix well.
  5. In another small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients until dough comes together and everything is well moistened.
  6. Divide the dough in half and form each into a ball. Flour a clean work surface and pat down each ball to form a 6-7″ circle. Roll out the circles until they are 3/4″ thick. Cut each round into 8 wedges. Repeat with the second dough ball.
  7. Arrange the wedges on the pans without any crowding. Sprinkle with sugar (optional), and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm if unglazed.

Creamy Cinnamon Glaze

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Add the cinnamon and whisk together.
  2. Add in the heavy cream and vanilla, and mix until sugar is moistened.  Stop here if you like your glazes thick. If not, add in the milk.
  3. Drizzle or dip your cooled scones in the glaze. Set the glazed scones on a wire rack to set.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Use any firm apple you’d like for this recipe. You can also opt for chunks instead of grated apples.
  • To prevent your scones from spreading, freeze the wedges for 10-15 minutes before baking to help the butter set back up.
  • To glaze all of the scones, you might need to double the glaze recipe.
  • To amp up the apple flavor, you can also use a tablespoon of apple juice in the glaze. Sounds weird but it could work!
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Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Ah, the fall. It’s finally getting chilly, the leaves are falling, and I can wear a jacket out without immediately suffering from heatstroke. I’m excited about the weather and upcoming holidays, among other fall things.

The best part about the fall, though, is that the best fruits and vegetables are now in season! Of course I’m talking apples. Technically, they’re always in season but apples are in their prime in the fall. I’m dying to go apple picking one day. I’d make apple EVERYTHING. Yeah, right; I’d probably eat more than half the apples straight up! Anyway, I planned on making a bunch of apple things this fall and may have a couple more recipes up my sleeve, but let’s start with these muffins.

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I’ve discussed a few times on here how much of a muffin fiend my dad is. While he believes the corn muffin is the “one true muffin,” he can’t really say no to anything apple related. Apple cinnamon is one of his favorite combos for pastries. I’m talking turnovers, danishes, pies, whatever. Out of all of those things, I’ve only attempted one and did not get his seal of approval. Sad, but I’m working on it!

I decided on muffins for my first apple entry this year because of my dad, and because I wanted to switch things up a bit. Last year, I made an apple cake (from one of my favorite bloggers) that went over really well. I wanted to remake that success but in miniature form. The muffins themselves are actually pretty simple, which almost guarantees its deliciousness.

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Before I get into the muffins themselves, let me wax poetic about these liners. If you’ve been following me since last fall, you know how I feel about muffins in cupcake liners. They’re a no go for me. Now, the recipe states to use these things and then grease them. WHO DOES THAT?! How do you even grease a cupcake liner? I don’t know but that doesn’t make sense to me AT ALL. I went to Target (holy grail) a couple months ago and bought these liners, in preparation for some cupcakes I had planned. I didn’t use them to make the cupcakes (go figure) but considered them for these muffins. I had a mini internal debate right before it but I went ahead and used them. Since they’re parchment, I skipped the greasing (still a weird concept to me but okay).

Can I just say these things are the biggest blessing to my non-cupcake-liners-for-muffins heart? OMG NOTHING STUCK TO THESE LINERS. N O T H I N G. I was amazed, thrilled, and surprised with the result. I mean, see for yourself. The muffins came clean off the liner. I got to enjoy the ENTIRE muffin, without a single crumb sticking to the liner. Very impressive, Target. Four for you.

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Back to the muffins. They were awesome. Just the right amount of cinnamon and apples. I should’ve cut the chunks a tad smaller, but will keep that in mind for the next recipe. The cinnamon sugar topping goes perfectly well with these muffins, considering the muffin itself isn’t that sweet. It was fluffy and moist too, thanks to the buttermilk. Besides the fact that the muffins were delicious, I was way too impressed with the functionality of these liners. I’m still impressed, actually.

For my first apple recipe this season, I think it went pretty well. I can’t wait to see what else I can come up with!

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Apple Cinnamon Muffins – adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 12-16 muffins

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, divided (1/2 cup + 1/4 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken (not stirred)
  • 1 cup whole wheat Flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples (about 2 large apples, about 3/4 pound whole apples)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with magical parchment cupcake liners and skip the greasing all together. No magical liners? Grease regular paper liners instead. 

  2. Mix together the butter, granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well, stopping once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

  3. Gently mix in the buttermilk. At this point, the batter will look curdled and gross. It’s supposed to, so keep going!

  4. Stir in the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Fold in the chopped apples.

  5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar on top. Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

  6. Remove the muffins from the oven, cool them for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn them out onto a rack to finish cooling completely.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Get those magical liners. Worth every penny!
  • I tossed my apple chunks in a bit of cinnamon and flour before folding them into the batter. The cinnamon was for extra flavor but the flour was so the apples wouldn’t sink to the bottom of the muffin. 
  • Top the muffins with the sugar topping a tad sparingly. Melted sugar is a pain to get off the pan, just saying. 
  • Use a disher or ice cream scoop to help evenly distribute the batter among the pans. Helps get consistent muffins, and ensures they’ll all be done at the same time. 

Coconut Lime Scones

Summer has entered the building. I don’t know, I feel like we skipped a season. Spring was barely here, with all these weird cold fronts that happened when we were supposed to have cool weather. It’s like it went from winter to summer without any notice! While I can’t get spring back, might as well revel in the summer.

To me, summer equals refreshment. Not so much with the weather but with food. It’s the best time to enjoy seasonal offerings like fresh fruits and vegetables when they’re in their prime. While I patiently wait for my seasonal farmer’s market to come back for the season, I thought about making some scones.

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Normal people usually avoid turning on their ovens during the summer. I am (apparently) not normal. I love scones, and more in the summer. I got my first taste of scones at my local farmer’s market. One of the little booths is from a bakery, and they have a ton of freshly baked goods. Anything from fresh bread, muffins, and cookies, to fresh honey and jam. My sister and I used to get their giant peanut butter cookies, courtesy of my mom when she used to do the shopping. When my sister and I started going, we decided to try all the other things up for sale.

One of the first things we tried were her pumpkin scones. They were moist, flaky, and warm. It was weird having a fall offering in the middle of a sweltering July but it was so good! It had that essential scone taste. It’s weird to describe but good scones have this like, signature taste. It’s the one thing that identifies a good scone from a biscuit (because you knew scones and biscuits were related, right?) I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what the hell was the product of that ~taste~ and realized the common denominators in scone recipes: cream and butter.

The key to scones (and biscuits) is cold cream and butter. Super simple and super essential. Both of these fats need to be cold when incorporating because they’ll help create those flaky and delicious layers found in scones (and biscuits). Once I figured that out, I thought about what different kinds of flavors I can stuff in a basic recipe. Like a sign from the food blogger heavens, Deb (from Smitten Kitchen) posted this the other day. And just like that, I was making coconut lime scones.

Coconut and lime go SO WELL together. Like, you have no idea. Bonus if the coconut is toasted. Now, think about those flavors; enveloped in a neat package filled with butter and heavy cream, and iced with a coconut lime glaze. Close your eyes and imagine the flaky and buttery layers, hiding a tropical paradise in every bite. Can you taste the vacation in your mouth? Because that was me with these scones. The tart and nutty flavors of this scone made up for the fact that I actually had to turn on my oven to make them. While they may work better with a cup of coffee or something, I would not have minded a lovely cocktail to go with them (piña colada anyone?) I totally won’t judge you if you do 😉

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Coconut Lime Scones – adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes about 16 scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cold heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated. Stir in the cooled toasted coconut.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, lime zest and juice, vanilla, and cream. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
  3. Using a muffin scoop or a large spoon, scoop mounds of dough onto the prepped baking sheets. Bake the scones 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for 4 to 5 minutes to firm before removing them from the pan. Glaze, if desired, once completely cooled.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Freeze the stick of butter for a couple hours and shred it into the dry ingredients. Super nifty tip that helps keep the butter super cold and requires less handiwork. 
  • For the glaze, I mixed about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, freshly squeezed lime juice, a touch of heavy cream, about 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract and three drops of coconut extract. It made enough to glaze about six scones. 
  • If the dough seems too wet or soft, freeze the scooped scones for about 10 minutes before baking; helps them keep their composure and aids in making them super flaky. 

Baked Mini Doughnuts

Doughnuts have been on my to-make list for what feels like an eternity. It’s one of those simple desserts that seems approachable but is really elusive; at least to me. Doughnuts (or donuts) are really flippin’ delicious. My favorite is probably jelly because hello, raspberry filling plus granulated sugar on a puff of fried dough is just perfection. Of course, I’m talking about Dunkin’ Donuts. The words “perfection” and “Dunkin'” don’t really belong in the same sentence (or even alluded to it), but I digress. What makes doughnuts delicious is that it’s fried dough, and therein lies my first roadblock.

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I don’t really have a problem with fried food. Some of my favorite foods are fried (ahem, fries) but there’s just something about boiling something in scorching hot oil that turns me off. Essentially, I have a fear of frying. Hot oil is kind of scary. Not only that but if you don’t have the proper equipment and environment, deep frying is a recipe for disaster. As much as I wanted to try frying, I didn’t want to risk it at the expense of our tiny kitchen/apartment. The obvious alternative is to bake them.

I don’t know about you guys but baked doughnuts are somewhat of a copout. Especially those made in donut pans. I still think it’s ridiculous to have a specialty pan for these sort of things, like those whoopie pie pans that now exist for some reason. I can’t justify a donut pan purchase, despite the fact that I really want a pair. Doughnuts made in those contraptions are like a donut shaped cupcake/muffin; it’s just not the same.

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That’s why I smiled like an idiot when this recipe graced my inbox a couple weeks ago. I read the recipe and it seemed easy enough to pull off in an afternoon, and had potential to be delicious. I was also happy about the presence of yeast in the ingredients. Doughnuts usually take yeast, so I had a feeling these were gonna be for real.

I’m no stranger to yeasted dough, considering I get down and dirty with a bowl of dough at least once a week. However, I was NOT expecting this dough to be that sticky. I had several mishaps (surprise surprise) while forming the dough into doughnuts. It was ridiculously soft and sticky, and I couldn’t lift the circles off my mat. It was a messy situation, hence why I don’t have any pictures of the process. I ended up adding quite a bit of flour and kneading the dough a bit, until it was slightly less sticky and easier to handle. I punched out my doughnuts using the same method from the Samoa recipe; a biscuit cutter and a milk cap.

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They came out looking like real little doughnuts! I even baked the doughnut holes, instead of re-rolling them into more doughnuts. In the end, I got 28 doughnuts and 32 donut holes. I was psyched about my sudden abundance of doughy rings, that I planned several different toppings. For the doughnut holes (and like, three doughnuts), I tossed them while warm in some melted butter and then in cinnamon sugar. The majority of the donuts were dunked in a simple vanilla glaze and then covered in toasted sweetened coconut. The other stragglers were either dunked in the same vanilla glaze or in some melted semisweet chocolate and topped with sprinkles.

On their own, these doughnuts aren’t anything to write home about. The dough is kind of bland and depends on the topping for any actual flavor. Despite this, the hint of cinnamon in the dough leaves you begging for more, and worked well with all of the toppings I used. I think that for next time, I will probably add a bit more flour to the dough, along with about a 1/3 cup of sugar and possibly an extra yolk. I’d also proof them after cutting them out into doughnuts.

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Overall, this was a great starter doughnut experience. I loved how the dough let the toppings shine but still brought its own subtle flavor to the mix. While I’m not ready to fry or cave and get those doughnut pans, these little rings, along with some tinkering will do just fine.

Mini Baked Doughnuts – adapted from PureWow

Makes about 2 dozen; depending on the size of your cutter

  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. In a small pot over medium to low hear, warm the milk, water and butter until slightly warm to the touch (about 95° to 100°). Whisk in the egg.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, or using a large bowl and a wooden spoon, mix the flour with the salt and cinnamon.

  3. Add the yeast and the milk mixture and mix on low speed, or by hand until the dough begins to come together; 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough is smooth (it will be pretty sticky), 5 minutes more. If mixing by hand, this may take an extra 5 minutes.

  4. Transfer the dough to a large bowl lightly greased with nonstick spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until double in size, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a ½-inch-thick rectangle. Using a small round cookie cutter or the rim of a small glass, cut out circles of dough. Use a smaller cookie cutter or glass to cut another hole in the center of each circle. Dip your cutters/glasses into some flour between cuts, to prevent sticking.

  6. Transfer the doughnuts to the prepared baking sheet. Brush lightly with melted butter and bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl.
  2. While the doughnuts are still warm, dunk them in melted butter and then toss in the cinnamon sugar. Take care not to do too many at the same time; the butter will moisten the sugar and it’ll get all clumpy and will not want to adhere to the doughnut.

Chocolate Glaze – adapted from allrecipes

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 10 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

  1. Combine the chopped chocolate with the butter in a heatproof bowl. Set over a small pot with some simmering water and melt gently. Stir frequently until melted. Remove from heat and use immediately.

Vanilla Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Sift the powdered sugar into a medium sized bowl. Whisk in the milk gradually, by the tablespoon, until it reaches your desired consistency. Stir in the vanilla extract, and use immediately.

 

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Echoing what I said above, I’d add about 1/3 cup of sugar, an egg yolk, and maybe 1/2 cup of flour to the dough next time. I’d also proof the doughnuts a second time after cutting out the shapes.
  • The recipe calls for whole milk but I used soy milk just fine.
  • For the vanilla glaze, it isn’t necessary to use all the milk; just keep adding until the glaze reaches your desired thickness.
  • For the chocolate glaze, try not to get any water into the chocolate; it’ll seize and reach the point of no return. 

 

Buttermilk Biscuits

Biscuits are one of the perfect breakfast foods; next to pancakes and oatmeal, of course. Yes, oatmeal is in the top three but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, biscuits are perfect because like rolls, they are the perfect vehicle for a number of different fillings and toppings, and don’t necessarily have to be exclusive to breakfast.

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When we think of biscuits, the word “buttermilk” is not that far away. Buttermilk biscuits are traditional, although they can also be made with heavy cream, too. When I was a kid, the only biscuits that were made in my house were the ones that came in the can. One twist (and maybe a bang) and the carton would pop, revealing one long, indented log of dough. My folks were fans of the ones that had those peelable layers but I was a classic biscuit kind of girl. We bought those on and off for years, and then eventually moved on to the frozen kind. We’d buy this huge bag of frozen biscuit pucks that’d thaw on the way home from the store; turning into one giant biscuit conglomerate that was impossible to separate without any casualties. Obviously, we stopped buying those as well.

It had been a long minute since we had biscuits, but I missed them and often longed for them at breakfast time. Armed with a carton of buttermilk that recently came into my possession, it was time to quell my craving. I went to the trusty Smitten Kitchen for a foolproof recipe that can be put together in minutes. These biscuits are basically a one bowl wonder that can be done two ways; drop or cut outs.

I made these twice within a week and decided to try them both ways. I didn’t make many adjustments to the recipe; aside from switching half of the flour for whole wheat. The dough comes together fairly quickly and is easy to work with. For the drop biscuits, I used my 1/4 cup measure to spoon out them out onto the baking sheets; just to make sure I got the right amount per biscuit. For the cut outs, I patted the dough onto a floured surface and cut out the rings using a biscuit cutter (that you may have seen in last week’s post). The important tip Deb outlined in the cut outs is DO NOT TWIST THE BISCUIT CUTTER WHEN CUTTING OUT THE BISCUIT. She says this limits the biscuits from rising into fluffy layers and I believe she’s right. I mean, I didn’t want to try twisting it to see what would happen but it’s science! So, she’s got a point.

Anyway you make these biscuits, they come out fluffy, buttery and delicious. The taste was reminiscent of a scone, which makes sense as biscuits and scones are closely related. The whole wheat flour lends a bit of nuttiness to the tender and crumbly biscuit. I personally prefer the drop biscuit because there’s less mess/clean up, and because the uneven surface lends to more brown and crunchy bits. With that, my biscuit craving was finally settled. Like a fresh loaf of sandwich bread, homemade biscuits will always be within reach. Whether you decide on dropping them or cutting them out, these will make a great addition to your breakfast table anytime.

Buttermilk Biscuits – adapted from Smitten Kitchen

makes about 10 biscuits; depending on size and thickness

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons to 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 9 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 °F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour(s), sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large, wide bowl. Using fingertips, a pastry blender or two forks, work butter into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. The butter pieces should be about the size of peas; don’t fret if there are bigger pieces.
  3. Add buttermilk and stir until large, craggy clumps form. Reach hands into bowl and knead mixture briefly until it just holds together.
  4. To form biscuit rounds/cut outs: Transfer dough to floured counter and pat out until about 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick. Using a round cutter (2 inches for regular sized biscuits, 3 inches for the monstrous ones), press straight down — twisting produces less layered sides — and transfer rounds to prepared sheets, spacing two inches apart.
  5. To make drop biscuits: Drop 1/4-cup spoonfuls onto baking sheets, spacing two inches apart.
  6. Both methods:Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly, and serve warm.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • I used 1 tbsp sugar in my biscuits; not too sweet or too savory. Add according to your desired sweetness. 
  • My favorite ways to eat a biscuit is with sausages, scrambled eggs, and cheese. I also love them with butter or plain. Serve these babies up with whatever you like; butter, jam, eggs done any way, cheese, lox, ham, etc. The options are endless!

Pumpkin Scones

Since making my own pumpkin puree a couple days ago, I have been brainstorming a bunch of different pumpkin recipes. I’m thinking about pumpkin everything; muffins, bread, cookies, cupcakes, etc. I want to make it all! I feel kind of late to the pumpkin party, though. Many people have already moved on to Christmas flavors like gingerbread and peppermint. I’m not ready for Christmas anything yet, and refuse to skip the rest of the fall. I mean, it is still fall, so technically it’s still pumpkin season and I’m definitely going to take advantage of that.

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After wracking my brain, recipe cards, and Evernote for anything pumpkin, I settled on making scones. In case anyone doesn’t remember, my first try at making scones was barely a success. My dough was way too wet, and they spread out into cookies instead of staying tall and flaky. Yes, they were delicious but they were hardly scones. I went to my favorite recipe fallback, King Arthur Flour, and decided to give their recipe a go.

There isn’t much liquid in this recipe anyway, so I wasn’t too worried about extra moisture. I was smart about the cutting in of the butter, and used two forks instead of doing it with my hands. I think the heat from my hands may have played a part in the production of my first flat, cookie like scones.

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Everything came together beautifully, even though I thought they were a tad on the small side before baking. The result was a tall and golden brown triangle of flakyness, with fluffy layers of buttery goodness. The pumpkin taste is subtle but present, especially with the warmth from the homemade pumpkin pie spice. The soft and fluffy interior, against the crunchy crackle of the cinnamon turbinado sprinkled top is what fall days are made of.

These scones solidified why I am not ready to move on to Christmas, and still won’t, as the fall still has many more flavorful things in store.

Pumpkin Scones – adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 12 scones

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons homemade pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 2/3 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1 extra large egg
  • Splash of vanilla extract

Cinnamon Turbinado Topping

  • 1/4 cup of turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. Work in the butter with two forks or a pastry cutter,  just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. Large chunks of butter are a-okay.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, splash of vanilla, and eggs till smooth.
  4. Add the pumpkin/egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
  6.  Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5″ circle that should be about 3/4″ thick.
  7. Brush each circle with milk. Combine the turbinado sugar and the cinnamon, and sprinkle onto the scones.
  8. Using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2″ space between them, at their outer edges.
  9. For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
  10. Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs.
  11. Remove the scones from the oven, and serve warm. Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • I used brown sugar, the original recipe calls for regular, white sugar. Feel free to use either. 
  • Please DO NOT skip freezing the scones. It really does help them rise, and also keeps them flakier. 
  • I forgot to brush them with milk before sprinkling the sugar, don’t fret if you do too. 
  • The original recipe also included mix-ins like candied ginger, cinnamon chips, or chocolate chips. You can add 1-2 cups to this recipe, but you may need to add another egg or up the pumpkin to a full cup.
  • I also used pumpkin pie spice, in lieu of the individual spices.  

Carrot Cake and Mistakes

I actually wasn’t going to make this post. I messed up a part of the recipe and it didn’t exactly come out ‘picture perfect.’ I thought about it and realized that there was probably a lesson in this failure, which reminded me of how I even started baking in the first place.

In my senior year of high school, I decided I wanted to go to art school. Of all places I could possibly end up, I thought that was where I belonged. Despite not having a single artistic bone in my body, I wanted to go to art school to explore one of my favorite hobbies: filmmaking. I had never even made a film in the first place; the only thing I had really done with a camera was record kids’ birthday parties and graduations. Honestly, I wasn’t even really good at it. I still wanted to pursue it because it was something I liked and people always said; “do something you love and it’ll never feel like work.” I had always loved taking pictures but video was new to me. I fell in love with it in middle school, where I had a film class as an elective. That Christmas, I asked my dad for a video camera and was basically on cloud nine. I loved taping everything and felt that this could have been my future.

Carrot shreddies

I applied for the film program at the School of Visual Arts and actually got in. Surprised as I was, I really thought this felt right. I went to orientation and got this weird feeling in my chest. I ignored it. “I’m just nervous,” I said to myself. Then came the first day of school. I really was nervous but as I introduced myself in an exercise for my first class, and was laughed at by everyone there, the feeling came back. I wanted to die of embarrassment. The kids in my class already knew each other because they lived in the dorms. I commuted to school so I didn’t have that luxury. I was visibly an outcast. I didn’t look like these kids or share their hobbies. They were really into filmmaking and I was really just a dabbler (by definition, these kids were actually hipsters but apparently, I was too “mainstream” to fit in with them). After spending my years in high school trying to blend in, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was uncomfortable and cried every chance I had. In class, I sat by myself. No one even wanted to sit next to me. I had never felt so unwanted in my life.

I lasted two days at SVA before I told my parents I wanted to leave. They all wanted me to stick it out but I couldn’t do it. I was unhappy. I cried all day, save for those times I was in class. I took bathroom breaks so I could cry and took advantage of those long breaks between classes to cry more. I lost my appetite and couldn’t even sleep. I only slept at night because my eyes were tired from all the crying. I stayed home from school and wrote my official withdrawal notice and sent it. I felt like a failure. My dad was disappointed in me. I felt ashamed and the ‘I told you so’ look from my dad just added insult to injury. I spent a couple of weeks sitting with this feeling and continued crying.

My parents tried to get me to take my mind off things by asking me to make something. I had always liked being in the kitchen but I had never made anything.  My dad was talking about carrot cakes one day and I took it upon myself to make one. I went to allrecipes.com, chose a recipe, and got started. I made several cakes in the four months I stayed home. I started making other things too, but this carrot cake was now my signature recipe. It felt good making something and having everything come out right.

Cake batter

Save for this weekend, where I messed up the recipe. Everything was going great until I was ready to pour the batter into the pan. I overfilled my poor 9″ round cake pan because I did not have a 9×13″ available. The cake’s edges were overbaked, sinking in towards the middle which was underbaked. I was disappointed because I knew better than to do that.

Cooling cake; obviously overfilled and overdone

Cooling cake; obviously overfilled and overdone

Thinking back to how I even got started and my baker’s mistake from this weekend made me realize that even though things may be going wrong, it’ll be alright in the end. I did fail at art school but it led me to a path where I did find something I genuinely have interest and success in. I ended up at the City College of New York; where I studied advertising and graduated this past May with honors. And while I did overfill and overbake this cake, it was still a delicious mistake.

YUM

Carrot Cake – adapted from allrecipes.com

Makes one 9×13″ cake or two 9″ round cakes

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves (optional)
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan or two 9″ round pans. Grate your carrots.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the oil with the white and brown sugar. When light in color, incorporate one egg at a time. Add vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves. Toss raisins and nuts, if using, in a small amount of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Add the dry mix into the wet mixture slowly until incorporated. Fold in the raisins and nuts with the remaining bit of dry mix just until incorporated. Fold in the grated carrots.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • You can sub half of the flour with whole wheat flour
  • I have also used margarine, and unsalted butter in place of vegetable oil. Either one works great
  • If you don’t have light brown sugar, all white sugar also works. You can also make your own with some white sugar and molasses. 
  • I tend to add a little more cinnamon than prescribed 😉 use as much as you’d like
  • Remember to mix your raisins and/or nuts in a little of the dry mix; this prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the cake
  • If using two 9″ round cake pans, fill them halfway
  • Cream cheese frosting is amazing with this cake! My folks are frosting adverse so I don’t frost it. 

Whole Wheat Good Old Fashioned Pancakes

When my sister and I were younger, my mom used to make us a pancake breakfast every Saturday. We’d wake up and watch cartoons, ready to have our delicious weekly special. And special it was! My mom has never been one to follow recipes and this was no different. She’d buy a giant box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix and and the accompanying bottle of syrup. Every Saturday, she’d empty a large mountain of dry mix into a bowl, add an egg, and eyeball the milk until she deemed fit. She’d preheat a giant skillet; one with little tiny squares on it, and would melt a glob of margarine. In the giant pan, she’d pour the prepped mix.  The result was a giant, fluffy pancake; complete with the tiny square imprint from the pan, that was perfect to hold a melting mound of margarine. My sister and I would split this massive pancake, and slather it with margarine and syrup while watching cartoons. I still don’t understand how my mom managed to even flip over such a huge pancake, but I guess that’s part of the motherly superpower allure.

As a kid, I used to think everything my mom made was delicious. Actually, that still rings true but as an “adult,” I realized that even though my mom had her own way of making things, it wasn’t always “right.” I am a stickler for following recipes, sometimes to the letter but my mom isn’t. The fact that she didn’t follow the directions on the box doesn’t bother me much because the pancakes came out consistently tasty anyway; it helps that it is box mix. The only issue I have now with our old pancake breakfasts was how she cooked it. Since the pan was so huge and my mom is short on patience; she’d throw all the batter in at once, creating a massive disc of dough. Because of its size, the middle would sometimes come out undercooked and the edges would get slightly burned. The texture of the pancake would go from fluffy to gritty, making us leave more than half of our pieces on the plate.

I watched her make it a few times and noticed she would lid it so it would cook completely. I didn’t understand the error of that method until I was older and actually knew what was happening under that lid. The pancake created steam, which dropped the water it created back into the pancake. A super moist pancake is not the end of the world but it did produce a different tasting pancake. It was still tasty, but it was just weird.

Now that my sister and I are older, and my mom is no longer home on Saturdays, I have taken our weekly special upon myself. I make pancakes almost every Sunday and they are very different to what my sister and I grew up with. I make mine from scratch, using this ultimately adaptable recipe. Apparently, I got snobby with age because I now frown upon anything pre-mixed; including cake and pancake mix. We may not buy the Aunt Jemima pancake mix anymore, but my family is still a fan of the syrup. We usually have a bottle laying around for this exact purpose.

Now, these pancakes are awesome. They may not be my mom’s but I think they’re equally, if not better tasting. I have made this recipe verbatim but here is the modified version I currently use. I’m even positive this recipe could be veganized (something I’m going to have to test). Eating these on the weekends, slathered with margarine and Aunt Jemima syrup, brings back that nostalgia from our Saturday specials. Even though my mom isn’t home on Sundays either, I always make these with her in mind and plan to make them for her the next time she has a free weekend.

IMG_0261

Whole Wheat Good Old Fashioned Pancakes slighltly adapted from Allrecipes.com

Makes 7-8 pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 3 3/4 tsps baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups of soy milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsps unsalted butter or margarine, melted
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder,and salt.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, agave, and melted butter.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Mix until the wet and dry ingredients are just incorporated.
  4. Heat up your lightly greased griddle or pan over medium-high heat. Scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
  5. The pancake is ready to flip when bubbles appear near the edges. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • All-purpose flour works well in this recipe. You could use a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat or just use all all-purpose 
  • If using all-purpose, 3 1/2 tsps baking powder is plenty. Whole wheat flour is slightly heavier than all-purpose, so the extra baking powder helps lift an otherwise flatter pancake 
  • If using all-purpose flour, sift the dry ingredients together
  • White or raw sugar also works in this recipe. If using raw sugar, I would add a little more that a tablespoon because it is slightly less sweet than regular white sugar. Add the sugar to the dry ingredients
  • I use all soy milk in my recipe but use any milk you’d like
  • If you like a flatter pancake, add 1/4 cup more of milk
  • Remember to plate it on a cartoon plate, for added nostalgia
  • If you beat me to the punch and veganize this recipe, please let me know what substitutions you made and how they came out!

Zucchini Bread and a Trip to the Farmer’s Market

This summer has been a hot one! With so much sweat and stickiness, baking (and cooking) seems like an overwhelming feat. Since my last post, I’ve been mulling over what my first recipe post was going to be. I obviously wanted to start out with something sweet but this heat was discouraging me. Determined to share something with you guys, I finally decided on what I wanted to make.

My sister and I started our weekly pilgrimage to the greenmarket in our neighborhood every Thursday a couple of weeks ago. New York City hosts greenmarkets all over the city during the summer months that end right before Thanksgiving. I look forward to the arrival of our local greenmarket every summer; located about 10 city blocks from our apartment building. We trek out every Thursday, sometimes in the sweltering heat, and are instantly greeted with an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, baked goods, and people. We usually stock up on fresh goodies like kale, cherries, corn and zucchini.

I didn’t really eat vegetables until a couple years ago. Now, I know what you’re thinking; how can you not have eaten vegetables?! Well, I grew up on a pretty limited diet that excluded anything green (unless it was ketchup). I was a very picky eater and mostly stuck to white rice, chicken breast, and bananas. This limited diet obviously wasn’t doing me any favors, and coupled with inactivity, lead to weight gain. It wasn’t until I committed to losing weight and eating healthy a few years ago, that I branched out to include vegetables as part of my daily diet.

One of the first vegetables I tried was zucchini. The varieties of summer squash intrigued me, leading me to choose the popular and green zucchini. Careful that I did not end up buying cucumbers, I set out to try to cook and eat them. I actually loved them! I’d bake them, saute them, make fries out of them, throw them in lasagna; the options were endless. Its mild taste and soft nature when cooked fascinated me. It wasn’t until recently that I welcomed the idea of baking it in a cake. Well, bread but you get the idea.

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed last night and stumbled across Food52’s post on zucchini bread. Food 52 is a great resource for recipes and if you haven’t checked them out, you should! I checked out the recipe and immediately got excited when I realized I had all of the ingredients. Normally, I’d be wary of testing a recipe like this but I can’t help but want to try it.

This was my first attempt at making a zucchini bread. I wasn’t wary because I have already had success with my signature carrot cake (a recipe I will share soon). It came out moist and ridiculously delicious. It was surprisingly popular with my picky father and is all gone already!

Please visit the Food52 website (and the original blogger’s page) for the beautiful story that accompanies this recipe!

Cooled bread.  Instagram: lalaluluj

Cooled bread.
Instagram: lalaluluj

Grandma’s Zucchini Bread – Good Things Grow via Food52

Makes 2 loafs

  • 3 cups whole wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cups canola or coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease two 5×9-inch loaf pans and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. In a large bowl mix eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and stir just until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the walnuts and dried fruit if using.
  5. Pour equal parts of the batter into each loaf pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack, then slice and serve.

Lucy’s Tips: 

  • I used my large loaf pan to make this recipe without any scaling. The original recipe is for two small loaves, which happily fit into my pan. 
  • I also used only raisins, instead of the dried cranberries and walnuts. I must admit, it’d be fabulous with walnuts. 
  • I added the raisins to my dry ingredients, so they wouldn’t all sink to the bottom of the loaf. 
  • I baked this in my toaster oven at 350F, on the bake setting for about 50 minutes. I turned up the temp to 400F and baked it for 5-10 minutes more because it was still undercooked in the middle. 
  • If baking in a toaster oven, please watch the cake! Make sure it is baked all the way through and watch out for dry spots.