Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Autumn Tease

Autum is my favorite season and one of the things I miss most about living back East.  Leaves changing, that first true chill in the air, a chunky sweater, and the beginning of the baking season that runs through the holidays. In Los Angeles, Fall seems to kick off more times than not by waves of 90 degree plus days.  Not the best way to kick off the season.  We had a reprieve from the heatwave, so I took advantage of the cooler temps and turned on the oven to bake these scones.  Apples scream Autumn and the scones did not disappoint, especially warm out of the oven with butter.


Apple Cinnamon Scones
Adapted from the 'Simple Scones Recipe' from King Arthur Flour
Makes 10-12


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
2 cups minced apples (I used Honeycrisps)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/ 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream, for brushing scones, optional
cinnamon sugar, optional

Preheat oven 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.  After mincing apples, put in a small bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Add cinnamon and stir to coat apple bits thoroughly.  

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in  butter until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in apples. Whisk eggs, extract, and milk together in large measuring cup or small bowl.  Gradually add the liquid mixture to the dry, mixing thoroughly until there's enough liquid to incorporate all the dry ingredients. 

Using your hands or a tablespoon, drop mixture onto cookie sheet.  Dust hands with extra flour to keep mixture from sticking to hands.  I made mine about 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide, about an inch and a half high.  Place about an inch and a half apart on baking sheet.  

Brush tops of scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes.  Serve with butter while still warm.



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Just Because...

There are days when you want to bake a cake.  Not because there's a birthday to celebrate, a dinner party to bring dessert to, a cocktail party that needs a sweet ending...but just because.  Just because you feel like cake, but not a fussy cake.  No buttercream, 7-minute, or Swiss meringue frosting needed.  No need to use any appliance more modern than a wooden spoon to mix the batter.  The kind of cake that is perfectly acceptable as breakfast, is close to perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon, satifies that craving for something sweet before bed.

Also...apologies for the radio silence.  I'm looking to get back to regular postings even though I have taken it upon myself to foster more kittens this Spring.  My hands overfloweth with little balls of adorable fur.

In the meantime, make this cake.  Please.


Raspberry Yogurt Cake
Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe
Makes one 8-inch round cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup raspberry preserves or jam
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used low-fat)
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
10x sugar for dusting
Butter and flour for greasing cake pan

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan (I also like to line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper), and in a small bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients well with a whisk.  Gradually add the flour mixture until combined, but don't over-mix.  Electric/stand mixer not necessary, a wooden spoon will work just fine.

Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes in the cake pan before turning out onto a cooling rack.  Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.




Saturday, February 13, 2016

Fancy Dunkaroos

What happens when you hand your friend a jar of Meyer lemon curd and a bag of candied orange biscotti?  You're asked if you've just given her fancy Dunkaroos.  Admittedly, Wikipedia educated me on what Dunkaroos are.  I don't remember the cookies you dip in a little tub of icing, but if you want to dunk biscotti into lemon curd and call them Dunkaroos, who am I to stop you?

First, treat yourself to candied orange slices.  Super easy to make and a sweet treat for your Valentine's Day love (hint hint).  You could make them this afternoon and they'll be ready for gift-giving tomorrow.  You could even go all out and dip them halfway in melted chocolate.

I don't know how many posts I've written on biscotti, but in my eyes, biscotti never gets old.  How could I refrain from mixing the two together?  Know what else you can dunk your biscotti in?  Ice cream.  I wouldn't stop you.

Candied Orange Slices
Makes about 12

2 oranges or tangerines (sliced a thin as you can)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Caster/superfine sugar for dusting

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the water and sugar, stirring until the sugar melts.  When sugar has melted, lower heat and add 3 or 4 slices of orange to the syrup.  Let slices simmer for 2-3 minutes then flip and do the same for the other side.  

Remove from syrup and lay on parchment lined cookie sheet to cool and dry.  Let dry for about 6-8 hours and dip in caster sugar.  

[Don't forget to save the syrup.  It will come in handy for cocktails.]


Candied Orange Biscotti
Makes about 30 cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon bergamot extract
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup candied orange slices, chopped small
1 tbsp cornstarch

Pre-heat oven to 350° and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  In a small bowl, mix the candied orange with the cornstarch to coat.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat for about 3 minutes.  Add extract and mix well.  Gradually add flour and baking powder incorporating wet and dry ingredients.  Mix in candied orange.

This is a soft, sticky dough, and I highly suggest wetting your hands before handling the dough to prevent sticking.  Form dough into two logs on baking sheet, at least 2-3 inches apart.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bottoms turn golden.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.  Lower heat to 325°, slice logs into 1/2 inch cookies, laying cookies back on cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes.  Turn cookies over and bake for an additional 12 minutes.  

Remove and let cool.  

[You can easily swap out orange or vanilla extract for the bergamot.]