Cranberry-Orange Scones

Some days scones are just necessary.

Cranberry-Orange Scones
adapted from The Williams Sonoma Baking Book

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (15oz) all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • grated zest of 1 orange, or 1 tsp orange oil
  • 10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz) cold buttermilk
  • 1 cup (6 oz) frozen or dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice, or as needed

Directions
Preheat oven to 425.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest.  Add the butter to the flour mixture.  Using a pastry blender cut the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture all at once and stir until a sticky dough forms.  Stir in the cranberries until evenly distributed.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  With floured hands, gently knead the dough 8-10 strokes, it will be very soft.  Press the dough into a thick circle.  Cut into 8 pieces.
Place the wedges, 2 inches apart onto a baking sheet or pizza stone.  Bake until the scones are golden brown 14-18 minutes.  Transfer to wire racks.
In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar with the orange juice until smooth.  Adjust the consistency with a little more juice, if needed; it should be thick but pourable.  Using a pastry brush, top warm scone with glaze.  Let stand 10 minutes to set.

    Homemade Tortillas

    Tortillas have long been something I would like to perfect.  This recipe is about as close as I’ve gotten yet.  These were perfect served with beans and rice, but would also be excellent with guacamole or cheese dip.

    Thin Tortillas
    Adapted from King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/3 cups (5 1/2 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
    • 2/3 cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal
    • 4 tbsp (1 3/4 ounces) vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp (4 1/2 ounces) water
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    Directions
    Combine flour, cornmeal and oil in a medium bowl.  Slowly mix in water and salt.  Knead briefly, until dough becomes smooth.  
    Divide dough into 10 pieces, weighing about 1 1/4 ounces each.  Round the pieces into balls and press to flatten slightly.  Let rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
    Preheat a griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.
    Flatten dough balls into 8 inch rounds using either a tortilla press, rolling pin, or your hands.  Fry the tortillas in an ungreased pan for about 45 seconds on each side.
    Serve warm or at room temperature.

      Drop Biscuits

      Besides tasting fantastic, these biscuits are a breeze to whip up.  They can be on the table within 20 minutes of reading the recipe!  Shhh, don’t tell anyone how simple making fresh biscuits really is!

      RECIPE: Drop Biscuits 
      Adapted from Cooking Light: Complete Cookbook

      Ingredients

      • 2 cups all purpose flour
      • 2 tbsp baking powder
      • 1 tsp sugar
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
      • 1 cup cream or milk
      • cooking spray

      Directions

      1. Preheat oven to 450.
      2. Add dry ingredients to food processor with dough blade attached; pulse to mix.
      3. Add butter; pulsing until dough resembles a course meal.
      4. While pulsing, slowly add milk; until just moistened.
      5. Drop batter onto parchment lined cookie sheet or spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
      6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden.
      7. Remove from pan immediately and serve hot.

      Gougeres

       

      On our recent trip to Oregon, we visited the famed Ponzi Vineyards.  Forrest bought me the beautiful Ponzi Vineyards Cookbook.  Part coffee table book, wine pairing guide, and cookbook, there are so many recipes that I can’t wait to try!

      Gougeres are savory versions of puff pastry.  They pair perfectly with wine and serve as an excellent passed dish for a party.

      Gougeres

      Adapted from The Ponzi Vineyards Cookbook

      Ingredients

      • 5/8 cup water
      • 4 tbsp butter
      • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
      • 2 eggs
      • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
      • Salt, to taste
      • Fresh chopped herbs

      Directions

      Preheat oven to 375.

      In a saucepan, combine water and butter, bring to boil.  Remove saucepan from heat, add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth.  Return to low heat, continuing to mix until the dough pulls away from the pan, feels soft, and doesn’t stick to your fingers.

      Cool slightly and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.  The mixture will become smooth, with a texture similar to heavy mayonnaise.  Continue beating and cheese, salt, and herbs.

      Using a small cookie scoop, drop uniform teaspoons onto lined baking sheets.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve immediately.

      Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

      I’ve had a few cans of pumpkin hanging out in the pantry just waiting to be made into something delicious.  When searching for a pumpkin bread recipe, I noticed this one used coconut oil and whole wheat pastry flour, both of which were keeping that canned pumpkin company in the pantry.  So, I heeded on the side of healthy and chose to follow Katie’s recipe.  Overall, this was a very tasty bread.  Moist, flavorful, and very slightly sweet.  You certainly couldn’t tell it was whole wheat. 
      Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
      Adapted from Cookie + Katie
      Ingredients
      • 1/3 cup coconut oil
      • 1/3 cup agave
      • 2 eggs
      • 1 cup pumpkin purée
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
      • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
      • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
      • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/4 cup hot water
      • Turbinado (raw) sugar for sprinkling on top
      Directions
      1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
      2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat oil and agave together.
      3. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
      4. Add pumpkin purée and vanilla, scraping the bowl.
      5. Fold in flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.
      6. In a separate bowl, combine baking soda to hot water, stir to mix. Add to batter.
      7. Pour batter into prepared pan.
      8. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and swirl with the tip of a table knife for a marbled effect. Sprinkle a big pinch of turbinado sugar on top, for a sweet crunch.
      9. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the bread is pulling away from the sides of the pan.
      10. Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing. Or let it crumble and serve hot.

      King Arthur Flour "KAF Guaranteed" Biscuits

      These biscuits have turned out perfectly every time I have made them.  The key is to cut taller biscuits and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to baking them.
      King Arthur Flour “KAF Guaranteed” Biscuits
      Source:  King Arthur Flour

      Ingredients

      • 7 1/4 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
      • 1 ounce cornstarch
      • 3/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1 tablespoon baking powder
      • 2 teaspoons sugar
      • 8 to 10 ounces heavy cream, enough to make a cohesive dough
      • 1/2 to 1 ounce melted butter

      Directions

      1) Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Stir in enough heavy cream to moisten the dough thoroughly. You’ll probably use about 1 cup in the summer, 1 1/4 cups in the winter, and 1 cup + 2 tablespoons at the turn of the seasons. You want to be able to gather the dough together, squeeze it, and have it hang together easily, without dry bits falling off.
      2) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and very gently pat it into an 8″ circle about 3/4″ thick. If you’re uncertain about your ability to make a nice freeform 8″ round, pat the dough into a lightly floured 8″ round cake pan, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
      3) Use a sharp 2 ¼” biscuit cutter to cut rounds. Place them on a lightly greased (or parchment-lined) baking sheet.
      4) Brush the biscuits with butter, if desired, for extra flavor.
      5) Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will improve the biscuits’ texture and rise.
      6) Preheat the oven to 425°F while the biscuits are in the freezer.
      7) Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes, till they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven. If you have any melted butter left over, brush it on the baked biscuits. Serve immediately.

      Herbed Cornbread

      I’ve always been a big fan of cornbread.  My family reserves it for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I think it can go with any meal.  It’s easy to make, stores fairly well, and is easily adapted to the flavors of your dinner.  I served this cornbread at our annual Halloween party and it was a huge hit.  It’s amazing how the addition of a little herbs can change the flavor of a dish.

      Herbed Cornbread
      Adapted from King Arthur Flour

      Ingredients

       Directions

      1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place 2 tbsp butter in a cast iron skillet and place in oven to preheat.  
      2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in  herbs. 
      3. In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, melted butter, and egg. 
      4. Pour the liquid all at once into the flour mixture, stirring quickly and gently until just combined.  
      5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. 
      6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges just begin to pull away from the pan and a cake tester or paring knife inserted in the center comes out clean. 
      7. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes before cutting; serve warm.