Sweet and Salty Scones

I promised more sweet and salty/savory recipes, and here I am to deliver.  This one is for caramel apple cheddar scones.  My two-year-old absolutely loved them and my husband didn’t mind having one for breakfast this morning either!  They are sweet and salty and buttery and just plain delicious.  They’re also pretty easy which is good for me when it comes to baking.

What you’ll need:

3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

1tbsp baking powder

1tbsp sugar

1 1/2tsp kosher salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced into small cubes + 1tbsp for apples

1tsp cinnamon

1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

1 large apple, peeled, cored, and diced into small cubes (I used a Gala)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream + 1/2 cup for ‘caramel’ drizzle

2tbsp milk

1 1/2 cups butterscotch nibs

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a small sauce pan, soften the diced apple in 1tbsp butter with the cinnamon.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Then, add in your shredded cheese and toss to evenly distribute through flour mixture.  Coating the shreds now keeps them from lumping up and getting gummy when you’re adding the butter.  Next, rub in your stick of butter or use a pastry cutter until the mixture looks slightly ‘sandy’ and the butter is evenly distributed.  Fold in the cooled apples gently and then begin adding the cream.  I would add 1 cup and then add a tablespoon or so more as needed.  It shouldn’t take more than 1 1/2 cups; though, this really depends on how dry your flour is, the humidity in your house, etc., but the end goal is to get a slightly sticky dough.  Turn your sticky dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide in two, and then shape each lump into a round about 6″ in diameter.  Cut the rounds into 8 even wedges using a floured knife or mezzaluna.  Use a spatula to move the wedges to an ungreased baking sheet alternating directions and spacing them 1/2″ apart (see picture below).  Brush with 2tbsp milk.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just golden brown.

While the scones are baking, you can make your simple ‘caramel’ drizzle.  Place your butterscotch nibs in a medium bowl.  Heat your extra 1/2 cup cream in the microwave for one minute.  Pour the cream over the nibs and let it sit for 30-60 seconds.  Whisk until smooth.  (Of course, you could do this with a double boiler on the stove the gourmet way, but I have limited space and equipment in my tiny apartment kitchen, so this is the route I took. You could also make real homemade caramel, but I didn’t have the energy for that at 40 weeks pregnant.)

Once the scones are removed from the oven, allow them to cool slightly on the pan (10 minutes or so) and then use a spoon to drizzle over your ‘caramel.’  For an extra sweet/salty punch, you could sprinkle some coarse sea salt onto the drizzle.  Yummy and they take less than an hour (or 45 minutes if you’re industrious) to make.  Makes 16 delightful little scones.

Caramel Apple Cheddar Scones

Caramel Apple Cheddar Scones

 

Return of the Pumpkin Muffin

I really love pumpkin.  Its sweet earthiness tastes like autumn and it’s loaded with vitamins.  I’ve already done a pumpkin muffin recipe here before, but I have a new one that I think is even better.  It’s not too sweet and really plays up the pumpkin flavor.  These muffins are also super moist, dense, and perfect with hot coffee.

This recipe makes about 2 dozen large muffins or 3 dozen regular muffins, so there will be plenty to share.

You need to use the muffin method for this, so gather these dry ingredients and whisk them together in a large bowl:

3 1/3 cups flour

2tsp. baking soda

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2tsp. kosher salt

1 1/2tsp. cinnamon

1/4tsp. ground ginger

Make a well in these dry ingredients to put the wet ingredients in once they’re mixed.  The wet ingredients should be beaten together until smooth and are:

1 cup melted butter

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup packed brown sugar

1tbsp. blackstrap molasses

2/3 cup evaporated or whole milk

2 cups pumpkin (canned or home pureed)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and either grease or paper line your muffin cups.  Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredient well and gently fold together just until completely moistened.  Don’t use a mixer for this or mix by hand too long or your deliciously dense muffins will turn into tough little pumpkin rocks.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full for larger muffins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Ta-da!  Super yummy, not-too-sweet pumpkin muffins.

I suppose you could frost these muffins (though I think that turns it into a cupcake) or put a crumble topping on them (thereby greatly increasing the sweetness and hiding the lovely cracks that form on these muffins), but I’ll leave that up to you.

A perfect pumpkin muffin

A perfect pumpkin muffin

 

Whole Wheat Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins

Do you still have a can of pumpkin lurking in your pantry left over from Thanksgiving?  That’s really the great thing about canned food, isn’t it?  Well, I’ve got a great way for you to use it…pumpkin muffins with a healthier twist.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of ground cloves
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup buttermilk (or make your own from regular or Cholov Yisroel milk)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 large egg
2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional, hazelnuts pictured)

Preheat oven to 375°.Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cloves well with a whisk in a medium bowl. Combine granulated sugar and remaining wet ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer until relatively smooth.  Add dry mixture to wet ingredients; beat at low speed just until combined.  Gently fold in dried cranberries. Place 12 paper muffin cup liners in muffin pan (you can spray cups and pan with cooking spray if you like).  Spoon batter into cups and top with chopped nuts if desired.  Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center.  Remove muffins from pan immediately and let cool on a wire rack.  Muffins will be dense but moist and make a great breakfast or snack.  (Note: You may fill cups more to make 9 larger muffins [what is pictured here].)

Dutch Apple Pie Oatmeal and a Latte for Breakfast – at Home!

I love apple pie.  It’s in my genes really.  My dad is a complete apple pie fanatic.  I think it got into his blood growing up in the Midwest (along with a love of corn).  Apple pie isn’t really all that healthy though, and when you’re looking for a quick and easy breakfast, pie isn’t exactly on the list of things your mom would approve of.  While I can’t say this adaptation of pie for breakfast is a health food, it’s definitely better for you than stealing a few bites of that leftover pie in the fridge.

What you need (makes 6 servings):

4 cups old-fashioned oats (quick-cooking)

4 1/2 cups whole milk

1 cup natural, unsweetened apple sauce

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves (optional – you could use 1tsp. apple pie spice blend to substitute the cloves, allspice, and nutmeg)

1/2 tsp. ground allspice (optional)

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (optional)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup flour (whole wheat would work)

1/2 cup cold butter cut into pea-sized pieces

For the topping, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Combine 1 cup of oats, flour, brown sugar, and butter in a small bowl either with a pastry cutter or by rubbing the ingredients together with your fingers (I like to use my fingers but you have to work quickly to keep the butter from getting too warm). Spread mixture over a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 35 minutes or until crisp.  Crumble into a bowl and set aside.

For the oatmeal, pour the milk into a large saucepan and add ground spices.  Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent a skin from forming.  Once the milk is boiling gently, add 3 cups of oatmeal.  Stir frequently until the oats begin to thicken – about five minutes.  Reduce heat to low and add the applesauce and continue stirring frequently until desired consistency is reached.  It will thicken the more you stir.  If it goes too far for your tastes, add a little more milk (I love thick oatmeal).

To serve, spoon oatmeal into bowls and top with crisp topping.  If there’s any leftover topping (yeah, right!), you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge to put over baked apples or pears for dessert later.

What better way to accompany a delicious hot breakfast of heart-healthy oats than an indulgent latte?  The following instructions are super-easy and will leave you wondering why you ever spent $4 at that pretentious coffee shop.

Simply brew your favourite dark roast coffee (use a scoop or two more than you would usually…and using a French press will yield even better results, but it’s not necessary).  Fill your desired coffee mug halfway with whole milk and then pour into a large microwaveable measuring cup.  Microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds.  Carefully remove from microwave and add sugar if desired (powdered sugar dissolves easily and helps keep the milk foam light).  Now, here’s the only tricky part: insert a whisk into the milk and roll back and forth violently between your hands (this and kneading bread are two great ways to relieve stress in the kitchen).  The milk will start to foam.  Continue whisking for 45-60 seconds.  [Or, if you have a clean jar sitting around, you can do it Martha Stewart’s way.]  Fill your mug halfway with brewed coffee, pour in milk, spoon remaining foam on top, and enjoy!

 

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