Archive for May, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Scones

May 30, 2013

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I recently moved my furniture around a bit, and in the process had to take all of my cookbooks and cooking magazines and put them somewhere else.  They didn’t fit anywhere.  I have so so many cooking-based readings, but I rarely ever glance at them after that initial excited read.  I put them away and almost immediately the internet becomes my go-to collection of recipes, and I find this a bit sad.

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I want to go back in time and sit around  the dining table with my family and friends swapping recipes!  People used to do that, right??  I want to have a cookbook that is filled with treasured recipes!  No more googling!

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And then I realized I have a blog.

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My oldest friend actually gave me this recipe.  She is a ridiculously talented pastry chef and mid way through a conversation one day, she hopped onto my laptop and typed in this scone recipe and saved it in my drafts folder in my email.  So high tech.  That recipe actually has never left my drafts folder.  I do an email search whenever I want to make them and there we go.  I have accepted that I live in these times.  Even though these scones are pretty timeless.

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Lemon Blueberry Scones

2.5 cups flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. sugar (for sprinkling)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 oz. butter, cold, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 egg + 1 egg yolk (for egg wash)
1 cup cream + a bit more for brushing
1.5 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup fruit/nuts/zest combo (you could do 2 tsp. lemon zest + 3/4 cup dried blueberries; 1/2 cup dried figs + 1/4 cup toasted walnuts; 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips + 1/4 cup dried cherry combo, etc.)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2. Combine the dry ingredients.  Add the butter and cut in until the flour has coarse pea-sized pieces.

3. Beat together the whole egg, 1 cup cream and vanilla

4. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients/butter mixture and mix until dough just forms.  You don’t want to overmix.  Add fruit and nuts until they are well distributed.

5. Pat and shape the dough into a disc, about 1 inch thick, and cut into wedges.  I usually form a rectangle that is 1 inch thick, cut it into 9 squares, and cut each square diagonally into mini triangles.

6. When ready to bake, brush the with the egg wash made with the egg yolk and a splash of cream  whisked together, and sprinkle with sugar.

7. Bake for about 20-22 minutes, or until the top starts to brown.  Serve warm.

S’mores Ice Cream

May 23, 2013

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I love how everyone I know has some amazing childhood memory of camping.  Sleeping in tents, being one with nature, hiking, cooking outdoors, building campfires, and of course, having their first s’more.  It’s this iconic time when growing up that everyone seems to go through.  Trying to make that marshmallow not catch on fire, until it’s perfectly toasted.  Investing time into the making of this perfect fireside treat, and finally biting into the most delicious, satisfying dessert sandwich in all of time.

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Well, people, I never really had that experience.  I made my first s’more in the microwave.  Indoors.  The air conditioning was on.  And I went to watch TV immediately thereafter.  I didn’t even toast the marshmallow.  My mom had found these new, premade cookies in the grocery store called “Suddenly S’mores!” and bought them for us.  They came individually wrapped with these soft graham cracker cookies lined with a hardened chocolate glaze, with a marshmallow that expanded in the microwave.  And in just 30 seconds, you had this gooey treat that, quite honestly, tasted pretty amazing if you didn’t know the difference.

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Okay, so maybe my story is not not nostalgic or inspiring.  But I’m okay with it.  Because the the flavors were the same!  And it’s just those flavors that invoke those same feelings of childhood and vacation!  (Without the bugs!  Bonus!)

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And it’s also the same ones that are in this ice cream and therefore the most perfect way to kick off the start of the summer this weekend.  It may not be time for camping out just quite yet, but in case you are like me and want a s’mores treat in the comfort of your own house, this may be the exact way to go.

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S’mores Ice Cream (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

I made a chocolate sauce to be swirled into the toasted marshmallow ice cream, but I think the chocolate chunks would actually work a lot better, and the method I put in the recipe below.  The hot fudge sometimes overpowered the rest of the ice cream, which isn’t bad, necessarily, but also isn’t s’mores.  If you would like to make it that way, though, follow the link above – I followed those directions for the chocolate sauce directly.  Also, to note, the graham cracker pieces do get a bit soggy in the ice cream.  This is just fine with me, but another way to go about this is coating the graham crackers with the chocolate, let it harden, and then mixing them into the ice cream base.  That is what I call the most delicious protection ever.

Also.  Apologies for the number of ice creams I have been posting.  But isn’t it that time of year?

1 (10-ounce) bag large marshmallows
1 vanilla bean, or 1.5 tsp. vanilla bean paste, or 1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chopped semi sweet or milk chocolate (don’t use chips – they will get really hard in the freezer)

1½ cups coarsely chopped graham crackers

Place an oven rack at the top of the oven, and preheat the broiler.  Spread the marshmallows in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet under the broiler for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until toasted (turn on the light and watch them the entire time – you don’t want them to catch on fire!).  Once toasted, take them out, flip them, and put them back in the oven for the same amount of time so the other side can get toasted.  Pull the baking sheet out of the oven, turn off the oven, and let the marshmallows cool to room temperature.

In a large pot, mix together the milk, cream, vanilla (only if using the bean or bean paste), sugar and salt.  Whisk together and put on stovetop, over medium heat until the mixture is just under a boil, and scalded.  Take off the heat, and if using vanilla extract, whisk it in.  Allow to cool slightly, about 15 minutes.

Place the cooled marshmallows in a large bowl.  Pour the warm milk mixture over marshmallows and let it sit for a minute.  Whisk together to break up the marshmallows and the mixture is as smooth as you can get it.  Allow it to come to room temperature, and then place in the refrigerator until it is completely cold – a minimum of 4 hours.

Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions to churn the ice cream.  Alternatively, if you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can follow these instructions.  After it’s done churning, throw in the chocolate and graham crackers and mix with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed.  Place in a container in the freezer until it’s completely frozen.

Sally Lunn Bread with Cinnamon Vanilla Butter

May 16, 2013

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There are several things that you will always find in my kitchen.  Milk, of course, sugars of all kind, lemons, cereal (this is actually my downfall, I’m trying to cut back), vanilla bean paste, coconut extract – you know, the basics.  But strangely enough, the one thing I will never consistently have in my kitchen is bread.

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This is actually a problem, because there are many times when I just want some cinnamon sugar toast.  Or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  You know, some solid carbs!  But I can never seem to finish a loaf a bread when I do get it, so I always think that I don’t actually need to get it.

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Until that one day when all I wanted to eat was some bread.  I wanted a thick slice of a white country bread, lightly toasted and smothered with sweet butter.  Remember my finals?  These cravings happen.  And I had no choice but to make it.  So I did, and will forever have a loaf of this in my kitchen from now on.

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Sally Lunn Bread with Cinnamon Vanilla Butter (bread adapted from Smitten Kitchen, butter adapted from Pioneer Woman)

I don’t know who Sally Lunn is but I believe her to be a genius.  She makes one heck of a bread.  Sweet and cakey and just perfect.  I want to be her friend.

2 cups bread flour flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/8 teaspoon or 1/2 packet active dry or rapid rise yeast
3/4 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

In a large bowl, mix 3/4 cup flour, sugar, salt and dry yeast by hand or with an electric mixer.

In a small pot, heat the milk and butter together until the mixture is warm.  The butter may not have melted all the way and that’s fine.  Gradually pour the warm ingredients into the dry mixture and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or stir vigorously by hand with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk and another 1/2 cup flour and beat again for 2 minutes by machine or 3 by hand. Add the last of the flour and beat or stir until smooth.  Turn out to a floured surface, and continue to knead by hand until the dough has formed a smooth ball.

Scrape down bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap. Let rise for one hour or until doubled. Meanwhile, butter and flour a regular loaf pan. Once the dough has doubled, scrape it into the prepared pan with a rubber spatula. Cover with buttered plastic wrap and let rise for a total of 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the plastic, let it continue to rise, and preheat your oven to 375°F.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a  tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes then turn out to a rack, upside down, to cool.

Cinnamon Vanilla Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix and incorporate everything together until well blended.  Leave at room temperature so spreading on the bread will be easier.

Magic Banana Ice Cream

May 9, 2013

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It’s finals season.  I am spending my days studying and not sleeping and snacking constantly and…studying.  So now I’m bored of all of these subjects, sporting dark circles under my eyes, and a tad bit more chubs than I was two weeks ago.  It’s a joyous time, really!

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Have you ever noticed that it’s only when you’re studying that you completely justify eating horribly?!  (“Oh, but that was meant to be eaten with cream cheese on top.”  “Having a handful of chocolate chips after every meal is good for the heart!  Especially if it’s dark chocolate.”  “Did you know that Nutella is made with hazelnuts?!  Protein!”).  I had decided two weeks ago, though, that this semester I wouldn’t go to my usuals when I need that energy boost.  Nope, I thought of something better.  I decided that I would go to the best natural energy source – bananas! – and then incorporate the Nutella and the chocolate chips!  Natural sugars!  With only a modicum of the refined stuff!  Brilliant.

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What’s more brilliant is how to actually make this study friendly treat.  Who knew that frozen bananas whizzed up in a blender would turn into the consistency of extremely satisfying, deceivingly indulgent, soft serve ice cream?!  I wonder about the science of that.  But I won’t find out!  Not quite yet, anyway.  I’ll just devour it while learning other, not as interesting things.  Yay.

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Magic Banana Ice Cream (adapted from The Kitchn)

Yes.  I made this with Nutella, and I’ve thrown in a couple chocolate chips.  You can even make it plain and it’s pretty darn satisfying.  But my favorite combo is below.  But hey, click on that link above!  There are many variations to this that will please you, I’m sure.  Also, one more note: who likes banana flavored things?  Not me, I definitely don’t.  But this isn’t banana flavored, people, because they are actually bananas!  It’s just creamy banana goodness.  Yum.

Okay, last thing, promise.  You may recall that I had another ice cream that was quite magical.  My freezer is full of mystical frozen treats!  Okay, okay, I’ll stop stalling now – back to studying…

3-4 very ripe bananas, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces, and frozen overnight

3 tbsp. natural peanut butter

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. agave nectar, or honey

a sprinkle of cinnamon

4-5 graham crackers, broken into larger pieces

Blend the bananas in a food processor or blender until the consistency of soft serve ice cream.  You won’t believe that it will happen.  You will keep looking at it wondering why you have frozen banana crumbs.  Have faith.  Keep blending it, mixing it with a spatula, if needed.  When you really, truly feel like you can’t go on, add the peanut butter, agave, salt and cinnamon.  Blend again, and you will be happy you added some liquids.  And you will have faith again.  And then, without you even knowing it, you realize that it’s exactly the consistency you want it to be.  But wait!  You’re not done!  Throw in those graham crackers and blend until they’re the size you want them to be.  Now, my friend, you are done.  Eat it immediately, or pour it into a container and stick it in the freezer for a stash.  You’ll be happy that you have that in your 9th hour of studying.