Cheddar Cheese Scones

My week so far has consisted of eating dismal salads for lunch since I am too tired to make anything else remotely interesting yet still healthy. I’m planning on spending the weekend looking up better healthy things I can make. PLEASE let me know if you have any ideas! Now that summer is almost over 😦 I am desperate to not get stuck in a rut of routinely making boring food. Speaking of routines, every Tuesday I do a spinning class and last night we had a different instructor that normal and it was the hardest class of my life! I am concerned for my walking abilities today, but I guess that being in pain after a workout is the point…

To lessen my pain, I’ve been drooling over these pictures of Cheddar Scones I made with my mom recently. I am a big scone fan but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered my adoration for savory flavors as well. My mom makes scones using yogurt, which makes them really soft and creamy. The freshly grated cheddar makes them full of cheesy goodness, especially when eaten warm with butter. Yum.

Cheddar Scones

  • 1 ½ C.unbleached white flour
  • ½ C.whole wheat flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • 1 ½ t. baking powder
  • Âź t. salt
  • 4 T. cold butter
  • ½ C.freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • grated orange rind
  • 2/3 C. yogurt (you can also use buttermilk)
  • Milk for basting

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Lightly oil baking sheet
  • In large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Cut butter into bits and work into mixture with fingertips
  • Stir in cheese
  • In separate bowl, beat eggs with orange rind. Beat in buttermilk or yogurt
  • Stir wet ingredients into dry just until evenly moistened
  • Turn dough onto lightly-floured surface and knead
  • Pat into circle 3/4 ” thick and cut into eighths. (you can also use a scone pan if you have one)
  • Place onto prepared baking sheet and lightly brush with milk. Bake for 13 minutes

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Wow, after typing out the name of this banana bread, I realize it’s such a mouthful! Even though this recipe has a long name, it’s still worth making, trust me. It was hot this weekend (surprise, surprise) and after my friend went home to Boston, I was on a panel about book publishing at a conference in the financial district. The conference was great, but after schlepping through FiDi in the pounding heat, the last thing I wanted to do was spend the afternoon outside. This is where banana bread comes into play. During the week I make a lot of smoothies either for breakfast, or after working out in the evening, so I keep a lot of fruit (both fresh and frozen) on hand at all times. I think the heat in my apartment made my bananas ripen much quicker than normal so I had to do something with them.

I decided to make a banana bread with brown butter, modified from Joy the Baker’s recipe, and love the results! The banana bread is a lot more dense than other variations I’ve made and the flavor of the brown butter really comes through. I hope you all have some fun weekend plans! I’m heading to Western Massachusetts with my family for an outdoor excursion. 🙂

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, melted and browned to just over 1/2 cup of butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cup mashed banana (from about 3 medium bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or more depending on how chocolately you want your bread to be!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts.  When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  Swirl the pan as the butter cooks.  When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the flame and transfer the butter to a small bowl.  Taking the butter out of the hot saucepan will stop the butter from overcooking and burning.  Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, and coconut milk.  Whisk in the mashed bananas and molasses.  When butter has cooled, add in the browned butter.

Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients.  Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to reveal any hidden pockets of flour.  Add in chocolate chips and stir.

Pour batter into pan.   Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap well for 4 days at room temp or freeze!

Peach & Blueberry Pie

I’ve officially started checking off some of the items on my Summer bucket list! Hopefully I can get to them all (or most of them!). First and foremost, I finally made a pie from scratch. For my first attempt at ever making pie crust, I thought it went really well and came out great. Making the crust was really simple. I found that the most important thing was to have all the ingredients prepared beforehand and to work fast so that the butter stayed cold. Making sure you have cold butter is the most important thing about making a crust – cold butter ensures that the crust will come out flaky. My Peach and Blueberry pie was super delicious (especially when served warm with a scoop of ice cream!) and I’m now inspired to try some other recipes with different fillings.

Peach & Blueberry Pie

Pie Crust (I modified Bon Appetit’s Best Ever Pie Crust Recipe):

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

SERVINGS: MAKES 2 PIE CRUSTS (ENOUGH DOUGH FOR 1 DOUBLE-CRUST PIE, 1 LATTICE-TOPPED PIE, OR 2 SINGLE-CRUST PIES)

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add 5 tablespoons ice water and mix with fork until dough begins to clump together, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough together. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into disk. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Pie crust can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. If necessary, soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.

Filling:

  • 1.5 pounds (about 6) of white peaches
  • .5 pounds of fresh blueberries (can vary based on how much of each you want to add
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Milk

Pit peaches and cut into chunks. Add blueberries and mix in sugar, cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice. Lightly toss together and pour into the bottom crust.

After pie crust top is on (whichever design you want to do), brush the crust with milk.

Bake pie at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 45 to 60 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Cool to warm and serve.

Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Pop Tarts

 

The weather wasn’t great this weekend, but it ended up being a good thing since I got to do a lot of baking, trying recipes out that I had wanted to for a while. Pop Tarts have always been one of my guilty pleasures. Junk food was basically banned in my house growing up and I have a lot of memories going over to my friend’s house down the street being able to eat snacks like Pop Tarts. Even in college I would buy the cinnamon sugar version for myself when I was stressed (although I am not recommending stress eating, even though I do it!). I always liked the cinnamon sugar Pop Tarts the best, finding the fruity flavors too artificial tasting, although most people look at me like I’m crazy when I say that.

On Sunday I went over to my friend Madeline’s apartment in West Harlem to bake. Her apartment is seriously amazing!! She is such a good decorator and all the details were perfect. I want her to decorate my apartment since it’s such a disaster right now. And she is such a good baker! We had a lot of fun making these Cinnamon Sugar Pop Tarts from Smitten Kitchen. Although we agreed that the pasty didn’t have the same consistency as a real Pop Tart (it was much more buttery and flaky), and we sort of ran out of dough for regular sized tarts and had to make some mini versions, they were still delicious! I definitely want to try them again, but with a glaze over the top as well. You can get the recipe here.

 

Triple Berry Galette with Cashew Crust

On Saturday morning I decided to change things up and go to the Fort Greene Park farmers market instead of the Union Square Greenmarket. I’m happy with my decision – they had just as much there but it was more compact and had few fewer people. Anything that’s calmer in NYC is better in my book. At the market I picked up some fresh blueberries, blackberrys, and my favorite: red currants. I love these tiny and tangy berries. Each bite is like an explosion of sour goodness. I had to incorporate them into some baking and I had been meaning to try making a galette (like a beginner’s/novice baker’s pie) even before the latest edition of Bon Appetit came out. I knew red currants would be perfect to offset the sweetness of the blueberries and blackberries. Galettes are SO easy to make, and since I’ve never made my own pie crust from scratch this was a great way to get some practice. I used this recipe from Bon Appetit as inspiration, but made a lot of my own modifications. The results were great and I loved the tanginess that the red currants added to the sweet berries and the nutty crust!

Recipe for Triple Berry Galette with Cashew Crust:

Dough:

  • 1/4 cup of chopped cashews
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of chilled butter, chopped into pieces

Filling:

  • Blueberries, blackberries, and red currants, enough to make about 1 1/2 cups combined
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • lemon juice

Making the dough:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse cashews in a blender until they are the same texture as a meal
  • Add the cashews to a mixing bowl and combine flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon Mix together. *I mixed by hand, but you can use a mixer too!
  • Add chilled butter and mix until pea-sized chunks remain
  • Add 4 tsp. of ice water and combine. Add water or flour if necessary
  • Mix until just combined and pat dough into a 6” disc
  • Wrap in plastic and chill

Making the filling:

  • Toss berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl
  • Roll dough on floured surface until about 8” wide. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Mound berries in the center of the circle, leaving about 1.5” of border
  • Fold edges up and around so that they are overlapping. Brush the dough with milk and sprinkle some sugar
  • Bake 35-45 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the filling is bubbling

 

Butter Lane Cupcakes

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Last Friday, my sister and I spent our evening taking a cupcake class at Butter Lane in the East Village. We learned how to make three kinds of cupcakes and six different kinds of buttercream frosting. They all tasted so much better than any cupcake I have ever made. Who knew that in the end, it all comes down to a science? The cupcakes were so fluffy and moist (I really hate this word and the fact that I’m using it is very significant) and the buttercream frosting was light and sweet. We each went home with a dozen cupcakes, meaning that any health plan was canceled for the indefinite future. I’ll definitely be trying these at home, especially with the new CuisineArt mixer than my sister just bought. Check out the pictures!

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