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

 

Stick-to-your-ribs Mac’n’Cheese

I made this the other night and my husband didn’t even miss not having meat at dinner since this mac’n’cheese is so substantial.  It’s a great opportunity for a vegetarian dinner or you could even mix in some faux meat and still keep things kosher.  I mixed grilled bell peppers into ours and served it with crusty whole grain garlic bread.  (Clearly, this is not kosher for Pesach!)

What you need:

1lb. box of elbow macaroni (if you use whole grain, you will have to boil it slightly longer)

1/3 cup kosher unsalted butter (I like to control the salt in my food)

2tsp. black pepper

1 1/2 tsp. kosher sea salt

1tsp. hot Hungarian paprika (optional – regular paprika also works well and gives a nice colour)

5 cups whole milk (just do it!)

1/4 cup flour

2tbsp. cream cheese

2 cups grated extra sharp white Cheddar cheese

2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and follow the instructions for boiling your macaroni, except that you will want to pull it out and drain it a minute or two earlier than the package says (about 7-8 minutes at a good boil).  In the meantime, melt your butter in a large saucepan.  Once the butter has melted, sprinkle in the flour and mix well with the butter (this part is called “making a roux”).  Cook the mixture until it’s just a golden blonde colour (DO NOT WALK AWAY WHILE YOUR ROUX IS COOKING!!!!  People who say a roux is hard to make are people who walked away and burnt theirs.).  Add the milk and start whisking vigorously.  Keep on whisking until all of the roux is dissolved in the milk.  Whisk some more (but not quite as vigorously) until the mixture has thickened into a gravy-like texture (Mazel tov!  You’ve made a béchamel!).  Season with salt, pepper, and optional paprika.  Melt in the cream cheese.  Begin adding the white Cheddar about 1/4 cup at the time.  Make sure each time that the cheese you’ve added is melted before you add more or you’ll end up with a big stringy ball.  Next, add 1 cup of the regular Cheddar 1/4 cup at the time and then add the Parmesan.  Once all the cheese has melted into the sauce, combine your drained pasta, cheese sauce, and any mix-ins (veggies, fake meat, real meat, etc.) together in a large casserole dish.  Top with the remaining 1 cup of Cheddar cheese.  Bake until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly (about 20-25 minutes – longer if you have mix-ins that need to heat up, just cover it with foil to keep the cheese from burning).  Let cool slightly before serving because it will be like molten lava when it comes out of the oven.  Enjoy!

So yummy! (Yes, I know I need a food stylist.)

 

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