Category Archives: Breads

Blueberry Scones

I have a small confession: I was intimidated by scones.

I made the apple cheddar scones, but I just felt like I did something wrong and they didn’t turn out as well as they should have.

Store-bought scones can be good, but they can also be really dry.  So generally, I don’t eat that many of them (I’m more of a muffin person).  But I was determined to make a good scone.

The right recipe made all the difference.  These really turned out well – light, almost fluffy, just a hint of sweetness.  My only complaint is that these could have used more blueberries and maybe a touch more sugar.

{lemon curd also makes these better, but that’s a post for another day}

Simple enough ingredients – flour, sugar, salt, heavy cream, blueberries, vanilla, butter, egg, and baking powder.

Start by adding the dry ingredients to a food processor bowl – flour, sugar, baking powder, salt.  Pulse a few times to mix.  Then add the cold butter and pulse till combined into fine crumbs.  You can also do this with a pastry cutter or your hands, if you don’t have a food processor, but I always have great results with a food processor for things like this (pie crust, biscuits, etc.).  It’s just so easy!

Then, dump your flour/sugar mixture into a bowl and gently stir in the blueberries.  If you were just making plain scones, you could keep use the food processor to mix in the wet ingredients, but in this case, I didn’t want to smush up the blueberries.  It also would have been too hard to mix in the blueberries once the dough was mixed.

Mix the cream, beaten egg, and vanilla in a measuring cup, then pour into the dry ingredients.  Mix just till combined – be careful not to overmix!  Otherwise, your scones will be tough (so they say).  I’m always really paranoid about this, but I was careful and only mixed until almost all of the flour was incorporated.

It’s okay if a little bit of flour is unmixed, because the next thing you do is dump it out onto well-floured surface and knead it once or twice till everything is mixed in.  It will be a little sticky, but just put a little flour on your hands.  Then pat it into an approximately 7″ circle.

Then cut the circle into 8 wedges (try to make them a little more equally-sized than mine). You could also shape the dough into a rectangle and cut them into smaller mini scones.

Arrange the scones on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet and brush with a little of the heavy cream.  I sprinkled them with a little raw sugar – it gives them a really nice, sweet crunch.  I just keep a box of raw sugar packets for things like this – I used less than one full packet to sprinkle over all 8.

Bake for 18-22 minutes till golden brown – mine were done after 20 minutes.  After they’ve cooled for a bit (just so you don’t burn your mouth – these are best warm and fresh from the oven), enjoy!

These were so good that I actually ate three of them in one day.  One to try it plain, one to try with the lemon curd (um…yum…post to come), and another because I had to take another ‘after’ photo, so I may as well just eat that last one and also to make sure that it still tastes good, right?  So yeah, I liked these and am now a scone-baker convert.  And I completely plan on trying those apple cheddar scones again.

Blueberry Scones

Adapted from Joy of Baking

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar (if you want a slightly sweeter scone, use 1/2 cup sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (or scant 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt)
  • 6 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1.5 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or milk), plus more for brushing tops of scones
  • Approximately 1 teaspoon of turbinado sugar (for sprinkling on top of scones)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or silicon baking mat.
  2. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a few times to mix.
  3. Add butter to flour mixture and pulse 5-10 times until butter is incorporated and flour looks like coarse crumbs.
  4. Transfer flour/butter mixture to a large bowl and gently stir in the blueberries.
  5. Measure heavy cream into a measuring cup, add egg and vanilla, and use a fork (or small whisk) to combine.
  6. Add cream mixture to dry ingredients, and fold/stir just till the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet.
  7. Turn dough onto a liberally floured surface, and knead a few times until the dough comes together and all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  8. Pat into a circle about 7″ in diameter, and cut into eight wedges.
  9. Transfer to lined baking sheet and brush with a little cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  10. Bake for 18-22 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into scone comes out clean.  Check after 18 minutes, as baking time can vary depending on your oven.
  11. Transfer to cooling rack.
  12. Best eaten warm, but will keep for one or two days if tightly covered.
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Apple Cheddar Scones

A few months ago, I saw this recipe for apple and cheddar scones from Smitten Kitchen, and was hooked with “October on a parchment-lined baking sheet”.  (I followed the recipe exactly, so I’m just linking to the recipe here.)

The best ingredient in this is the roasted apples.

You peel, core, and slice two apples, then cook them for about 20 minutes till they’re dry to the touch and sort of caramelized. They smell amazing as they’re baking. This would be a yummy way to make applesauce, don’t you think?

I had learned the hard way that the mixer attachments I have for my KitchenAid (the ‘burnished’ ones) are NOT dishwasher safe, so I was without mixer when I made these. Instead, I used the non-mixer method that Deb suggests. The mixer would make these much easier to make.

My dough turned out kind of wet…probably could have used more flour. I cut my scones into 12 pieces, instead of 6, and some of them got a little burnt, probably because they were smaller. Because my dough was so wet, I probably also should have just scored the round and cut them when baked, instead of breaking them apart while raw.

Regardless, they turned out pretty good! Definitely want to make these again.

Here’s the link again: Apple and Cheddar Scones from Smitten Kitchen

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My Favorite Banana Bread

I love banana nut bread.  It’s so easy to make, and it makes a perfect breakfast, snack, dessert. Sweet and tender inside, with the bite of the walnuts, and a crunchy, sugary top. I went through quite a few recipes before I stumbled upon this recipe.  The use of brown sugar really gives this a deeper flavor – sweet but not overly so.

Brown Sugar Banana Nut Bread

Adapted from AllRecipes.com

Ingredients:
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 3-4 very ripe bananas, mashed
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2-1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan – you can use butter, but I find that regular cooking spray works just as well.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition.
4. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and banana, mixing well.
5. Add flour, baking powder, and salt (the recipe calls for you to sift all these ingredients together; I usually skip this step with fine results).
6. Add flour mixture to wet mixture; stir just to combine.
7. Fold in walnuts (1/2 to 1 cup depending on preference).
8. Pour batter into lightly greased loaf pan.
9. Sprinkle brown or white sugar and a few walnuts on top (optional but definitely tasty)
10. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

A few notes: Sometimes, if I’m using bananas that I’ve frozen then thawed, or if they’re really ripe, I’ll just throw the bananas in with the mixer.  I have made this using a gas oven, and I have found I have to decrease the temp a little bit to about 325 degrees, and cook the bread for a bit longer – 1 hr. 15 minutes usually works.

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