Monday, August 23, 2010

I heart scones

Best of the web: traditional scones with cucumber goat cheese spread.

Sometimes it's best just to open up a cookbook. Heart shaped just because.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bloom Day scones

An unexpected tropical visitor; I "stage" the amaryllis bulbs in the garden. They never bloomed outdoors before! More Bloom Day pictures on Folia and Flickr.

Peach cornmeal scones

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 large or 2 small peaches, peeled and diced
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup peach syrup

To make peach syrup, put the peach skins plus 1/2 cup sugar in 1 cup of water. Bring to a full boil, boil for 10 minutes. Strain through a food mill. You can use the leftover over pancakes, ice cream, or in sparking water.

Heat oven to 400°.

Mix the liquid ingredients and set aside.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt. Cut butter into pieces and add to the dry ingredients, mixing with a pastry blender until the texture resembles corn meal. Stir in dried cranberries and diced peaches. Mix thorougly, then add the liquids and combine until thoroughly mixed. The dough will be quite wet. Spoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, at least 2 inches apart. Makes 9 large or 12 small scones. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

By the way, when you accidentally turn off the oven, they don't rise very well. What can I say.

Bloom Day bouquet: Cosmos Rose Bon-Bon from Renee's Garden, Black Eyed Susan, Tagetes, and Russian Sage.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Haiku and rosemary

On a drizzly day
Mosquitos in the garden
Warm scones in the house

Rosemary Honey Scones
adapted from Savoury Honey Scones

2¼ teaspoons rosemary, finely chopped and divided
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon coarse salt
6 tablespoons cold butter

1/2 cup sour cream,
1/2 cup milk
¼ cup honey
1 egg

Preheat oven to 425°. In a large bowl, mix 2 teaspoons rosemary with all other dry ingredients. Cut in the butter, mixing until it has the consistency of coarse meal.

Whisk together honey, milk, sour cream, and egg. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms. Form dough into a ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and separate the dough into 2 equal portions, pat each portion into a circle about ¾-inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges.

Separate and arrange wedges on waxed paper or baking sheet. Brush tops with a little heavy cream or melted butter and sprinkle with remaining rosemary. Place in oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Well, I missed sconeday again, with no good excuse this week. Monday just slipped by; don't think I wasn't thinking about scones, I just didn't quite get it together to actually make them. Plus I still had the molasses scones from last week left over.

So, since it isn't sconeday, I decided this week not to make scones, and go a little apostate here and try muffins. I used a recipe from my favorite cook book, inherited from my mother. The Woman's Home Companion cookbook is one of those teaching cookbooks so common in the 40s and 50s-- (I have stacks of them from my mother). It tells you all the things you need to know about each type of food-- what it should look like at each step of the way, what will happen if you do it wrong, and how to fix it.

Here's the muffin recipe, verbatim, in hideous violation of copyright. Seriously, if you can get your hands on this book, buy it.

Muffin Technique (edited)
"Good muffins are symmetrical in shape, with straight sides and a slightly rounded top. The crust is a rich golden brown and rough pebbly texture, slightly glazed in appearance. The grian is uniform and slightly coarse, with medium-sized air cells and a moist tender crumb.

"The first and foremost secret of success is in the mixing. The batter must be stirred never beaten, only until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. At this stage the mixutre will appear rough and lumpy, and will break easily when lifted with the spoon. The small lumps which remain will take care of themselves during baking.

"Immediately after mixing the batter should be transferred to the pans in order to avoid the loss of leavening gas. Muffin pans should be well reased on the bottom but just lightly greased or not at all ont he sides. This allows the batter to cling more tenaciously to the sides of the pan during rising and makes for better volume.

Whole Wheat Muffins
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar (I used maple sugar)

Plumped raisins

1 cup whole milk
1 egg lightly beaten
3 T melted shortening (I used butter, but this is a post war book so they probably used lard, or eek, Crisco)

Sift white flour (not necessary with most modern flours); add baking powder, salt and sugar, sift or whisk together, add wheat flour, mix. Mix in raisins. Combine egg, milk and melted shortening and add to flour mixture. Mix until just moistened. Batter will be thick.

Fill greased muffin pans about 2/3 full and bake in a hot oven 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 12 to 15 medium sized muffins. That's a little homemade blueberry preserves on there, by the by.