Scones Recipe and Life Update

Hello everyone! I felt it necessary to give everyone a little life update since my last post was nearly a year ago. I hope that everyone is doing well with everything that is going on in the COIVD pandemic. Life has been awfully complicated for me and it has been quite difficult to get to do anything fun or relaxing. Since the start of the Pandemic in March 2020 I was already dealing with a mental rough patch while still working in a grocery store. Needless to say things weren’t going great, but early on in the pandemic I was able to get a new less stressful job in the Healthcare industry and I’ve been loving every minute of it. It is hard to believe that things are less stressful for me in the healthcare industry than in retail during a pandemic but the work atmosphere is a complete 180 difference from retail. Since life is starting to finally returning to something more normal for me, I’ve begun working on some more detailed posts. I also have been making more shorter posts to my Facebook page as well as to Instagram. If you wish to see more of my Kreations please like and follow me. Alright enough babbling about me lets get to some scones!

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I love scones. Its a delicious breakfast pastry that is great for eating breakfast on-the-go (or at my desk). Unlike my other favorite on-the-go breakfast pastries these can be made to be less sticky and messy and still be delicious. Also unlike other on-the-go breakfast foods I can control what ingredients go in or more importantly which ingredients shouldn’t go in due to a food allergy.  

I begin with the dry ingredients, add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder and whisk together. You can also use a fork to whisk them together. Then add in grated butter. Using a pastry cutter (or your fingers) to combine, mix until there are pea-sized crumbs (picture #2). Place into freezer while you work on the wet ingredients. The single most important thing you need to remember about this recipe is to not let the butter melt from being handled too much. If at any point you feel like things aren’t going right put the mixture in the freezer for a few minutes. This trick tends to correct most issues and can be easily forgotten when in a bit of panic. 

 For the wet ingredients: add heavy cream, egg, and vanilla extract to a bowl and whisk together and set aside, in the fridge if possible. To ensure that the butter-flour mixture isn’t going to soften too much I also prepare my fruit/chips/nuts/etc. so that the butter-flour mixture can remain in the freezer a bit longer. Typically I like to use dehydrated fruits but all that was available to me at this time was canned apple filling.  I don’t really recommend this unless its a last resort. But if you need to use it get as much of the goo off the fruit as you can and chop into smaller pieces. I also put the chopped pieces into a bowl and mix with some flour to help absorb as much moisture as possible before baking. Depending on the fruit I also add another sprinkle of sugar to help absorb the moisture. Once you have the wet ingredients and your fruit prepared its time to get the dry mixture out of the freezer and begin bringing it all together.

Carefully drizzle the mixture of wet ingredients a little at a time into the dry mixture and mix until everything appears well moistened. I like to put the mixture back into the freezer while I get the table prepared by sprinkling flour and getting the remainder of the baking prepped. I preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, line my baking sheet(s) with parchment paper, and get my bench scrapper or knife out. I also get the wash prepared. Pour some heavy cream into a bowl and add any spice you like. For this particular recipe I added cinnamon and sugar.

When everything is prepped, take the dough bowl out of the freezer. Get a little flour on your hand and begin working the dough into a ball. This dough will be super sticky so I recommend getting started in the bowl and then once it has solidified a little transfer to the floured surface. If the dough feels too wet add a little flour. If the dough feels too dry add a little heavy cream. If it suddenly returns to being sticky again put in the freezer for a few minutes.

Roll the dough out flat with a rolling pin (or your hands) and then cut into desired shape. Traditionally it should be triangles but I like to do rectangles because it is easier to stick into the travel containers I have. Arrange on the baking sheet(s) and brush the heavy cream mixture over the top of each. I also recommend sprinkling some sugar over the top as well.

Once everything is on the baking sheet(s) it goes into the pre-heated oven for 18-25 minutes. Time varies by size of scone and oven. larger scone may need more than 25 minutes. Basically you are looking for scones that are golden all over. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Any other frostings, drizzles or confection’s sugar is optional. My fiancé made a special request for some with Maple glaze. Pictured below is the plain apple cinnamon scones and the apple cinnamon scones with a maple glaze.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus a little extra for work surface
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 stick frozen unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1.5 cups for fruit/nuts/chips/etc.

Directions

  1. add flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and wish to combine. Add grated butter and combine with a pastry cutter until there are pea-sized crumbs. Put bowl into freezer until needed
  2. Add heavy cream, egg, vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk until combined. Add to flour mixture and gently mix until moistened. Put bowl in freezer until needed.
  3. Prepare floured work surface. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, pour small amount of heavy cream into a bowl and add desired spices and mix until combined.
  4. with floured hands remove dough from bowl and work out on floured surface. If the dough feels too wet add a little flour. If the dough feels too dry add a little heavy cream. If it suddenly returns to being sticky again put in the freezer for a few minutes. once the dough comes together roll out and cut into desired shapes and place on baking sheet(s). brush heavy cream mixture over scones and then place in the oven
  5. Baked scones in the oven for 18-25 minutes or until golden all over. remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Once cooled, add optional frostings, drizzles or confection’s sugar and enjoy!

 

Grandma’s Biscotti

It took me many years of searching and begging but I was finally able to get my Grandma’s, highly in demand, biscotti recipe. My only regret is that grandma did not get to test out this version of her recipe before her passing. It was her rule that she did not like sharing the recipe with anyone. So to respect this decision I will give a basic recipe. That way you get to enjoy figuring out what the secret ingredients are!

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I begin by adding unsalted softened butter, eggs, granulated sugar into a mixing bowl. I let this mix until there is a lose liquid batter. At times the dough mixture will look a little weird. If at any point the mixture doesn’t look or feel right try mixing for another 30 seconds.

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I then add flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until there is a soft slightly sticky dough. At this point you can add in your flavor. Grandma’s recipe calls for anise extract, but you can use any flavor extract or add in baking pieces such as chocolate chips. Really any flavor that sounds good to you will work.

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Once the dough has been mixed enough to incorporate your flavoring, it needs to be split in half. Each dough ball needs to be rolled out to approximately a 2 inch thickness sheet. Extra flour is optional for handling the dough. I find that this optional amount of flour is based on what you choose for flavoring the cookies. Place the 2 dough sheets side by side on a baking sheet and place into a pre-heated 350 degree oven until slightly golden (about 20 minutes). This will turn the cookie sheets into cookie loaves.

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Once the cookie loaves are slightly golden, cut individual cookies into desired thickness. It is important to not allow the cookie loaves to cool too much during this process. Once cut, lay the pieces on the side.

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Once the cookies are spread out on the cookie sheet, place back in the over for a few minutes to make the top of the cookies golden brown (about 5 minutes). Then pull out the baking sheet and flip the cookies to the other side and then place back into the oven to allow the other side of the cookie to become golden brown (about 3 minutes). Take out the cookies and immediately transfer to a cooling rack or open table/counter space. Do not let the cookies cool on the baking sheet otherwise the cookies will become burnt.

Once the cookies have cooled down you can enjoy them. Most of my family though prefers to let these cookies sit for a day or two in a cookie jar. This make the cookies a little stale and in their opinion better for coffee dunking.


Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour, plus a little more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Flavoring
    • 1 Tablespoon of extract or 3/4 cup of baking pieces

Directions

  1. Add butter, eggs, and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix until the ingredient are mostly integrated.Then add flour and salt and mix until a soft sticky dough has been achieved. Add in you flavoring and mix the dough to integrate your flavoring into the dough.
    • if using extract use mixer. If using baking chips use a spoon or spatula to mix
  2.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Divide dough in half and gently roll each dough section into a ball. If the dough is still a little bit to sticky to handle add a little sprinkle of flour. Roll out each dough sheet to approximately 2 inch thickness and place each sheet side by side on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes
  4. After 20 minutes pull baking sheet out of the oven and quickly cut each cookie sheet into individual cookies of desired thickness and lay each cookie on its side. Put the baking sheet back int he oven for 5 minutes then flip the cookies to the other un-toasted side and place back into the oven for 3 minutes.
  5. Once the whole cookie is golden brown remove baking sheet from the oven and immediately place cookies on a cooling rack or open table/counter space to avoid burning the cookies. When the cookies are cooled enjoy immediately or allow them to go slightly stale and enjoy with coffee.

 

Thanksgiving Mega Post

The week of Thanksgiving is the most stressful time of the year for me. I work in retail, specifically with resets for new and upcoming sales, so not only do I get to deal with stress from work there is added stress from coordinating family time. On top of just trying to coordinate things I also work overnight shifts so that the sales floor is ready for all the early morning sales. Yep that’s right I’m one of those workers trying to not have a panic attack while there’s pretty much a stampede of crazed sale driven people in front of me.

Between work parties and family gatherings and general survival, I tend to go a little heavy on baking and cooking during the hours I am not asleep or at work. This year I decided to do a ton of sweets besides helping with Thanksgiving dinner.

I started with my first holiday batch of fudge. It’s a super simple recipe and nearly impossible to mess up and equally as impossible to find someone that dislikes it.

I always start by prepping my pan. There is not a lot of time to pour the liquid fudge into the pan before it starts to harden. I use a quick spritz of cooking spray in each corner of the square pan then lay down cling wrap. Making sure to press as flat as possible and to have excess cling wrap hanging off the edges. This excess cling wrap will make removing the hardened fudge really easy.

For my recipe I combine a bag of milk chocolate chips and a can of sweetened milk in a microwaveable bowl and blast it in the microwave for 30 second intervals and stirring in between until the whole mixture is smooth. Once its smooth, slowly and carefully pour the fudge into the prepped square pan. Then spread out into the pan as evenly as you can. Then the most difficult part, waiting 24-ish hours for the fudge to harden in the fridge. You can cut the hardening time by placing the fudge in the freezer but sometimes it affects the consistency of the fudge. After the fudge has hardened all the way through, cut into smaller squares and enjoy.

This year I tried out a new creation, lemon puppy chow. I got really excited when I found this because it’s an allergy friendly recipe (gluten and nut free).

The recipe is fairly simple and similar enough to traditional puppy chow that it was easy to figure out where I went wrong. Apparently I forgot how measuring cups worked and put in too much lemon juice which made the sauce too thin and made the cereal very soggy. To compensate, I threw it in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up. The flavor was super delicious but the execution could definitely use some more practice.

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Thanksgiving dinner was supposed to be a little bit more of a relaxing time for me. I was lucky enough to get 3 hours of sleep between the end of my shift and heading over to my Grandparent’s place. Once I got there I was informed that it is now my responsibility to finish the cooking. Nothing says “welcome to the holidays” like being told to make a feast sized meal on 3 hours of sleep. Luckily my amazing Boyfriend is also an awesome kitchen assistant and we both got this lovely meal all put together and on the table.

After all this baking and extreme weather changes ( it was seriously 50 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny one day and 20 degrees and light snow in the course of 6-ish hours) I ended up with a really really bad sinus infection. As much as I wanted to continue making more sweets or even attend work, I was unable to even sit up in bed without feeling dizzy.

After a week of rest and some delightful sinus medications, I was back to making treats because my holiday work party decided to occur a little earlier than normal this year. In addition to making more lemon puppy chow, I also made some strawberry flavored meringue ‘cookies’. I call them ‘cookies’ because I discovered my favorite way to eat these is to make thin-ish discs and then smash or cut them into shards.

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I start by allowing 3 eggs to warm up for a minimum of 30 minutes. Its important to get the eggs to as close to room temperature as possible. After allowing the eggs to warm up they must then be cracked and have the whites and yolks separated. The whites go in the mixing bowl and the yolks are not needed so I tend to just throw them away. I also add cream of tartar, flavored extract, and a pinch of salt to the starting mixture. Normally vanilla extract is used for this recipe but any flavored extract can be substituted. I turn on the mixer and allow it to whip itself up to a very frothy consistency before I begin adding in the granulated sugar. It is important to add the sugar into the mixture a little bit at a time and allow it to be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding more sugar. Once all the sugar is added, allow the mixer to whip it up into a nice marshmallow like consistency that leaves a peak when the whisk attachment is removed and turned upside down (approximately 10 minutes of whipping).

This is the messy part, I prep the baking tray while the mixer is doing its thing to keep the overall mess as contained as possible. preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. If your oven is unable to go that low bumping the temp up to 300 will also work, you will just need less baking time because it will cook a little bit faster.  I prefer to line my baking pan with a nice flat sheet of parchment paper. I have also previously made this recipe using aluminum foil and still had some delicious ‘cookies’, the only difference is a short baking time and a much higher chance of over baking. I also prepare my piping bag so that I can make the meringue look all pretty as a disc.

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Once the meringue is able to hold a stiff peak I start filling up a piping bag with whatever start tip I’m feeling in the mood for (typically #32) and start piping my cookies. Since these cookies don’t really grow in size like normal cookies they can be placed much much closer together on the baking sheet without issue. Once all the meringue is piped out (or I run out of space), I put the tray into the oven and wait.

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This is where things get a little tricky, most recipes state 40- 45 minutes for a baking time. I wait until they are no longer sticky and hold their shape after a gentle finger poke. They should also have a slight brown/caramel color on them. Depending on the oven I’ve achieved this between 30 minutes and 60 minutes. I recommend checking at the 30 minute mark and then 5 or 10 minute increments after that until the right doneness has been achieved. Then pull the meringues out of the oven and allow to cool. I’ve never really timed how long it takes for these to cool completely, I’m normally in the middle of whatever I happen to be binge watching on nextflix. I’d estimate 30 minutes is more than an adequate amount of cooling time.

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Once the discs have cooled and hardened its time for my favorite part. If  I’m having a super stressful day I put some of the discs in a zip top baggie and smash to bits but, tonight was a very chill night so I got a sharp knife out and cut them all into halves allowing the discs to break anyway they wanted to from the pressure. I prefer to do this method while still on the baking tray since I can then carefully pick up the parchment sheet and slide the shards into a zip top baggie.

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I now have my portable treat bag ready to go to work with me, If it makes it that far. I had made a tester batch earlier. 1 co-worker got 1 shard before my workday turned crazy and I ended up stress eating the whole baggie. oops!


Easy Fudge

Tools:

  • Square pan
  • Cling Wrap
  • Microwave Safe bowl
  • Spatula

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Chocolate Chips, I prefer Milk Chocolate for this recipe
  • 1 (14.5oz) can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

  1. Line the square pan with cling wrap.Do not leave any gaps in-between the layer of cling wrap. Be sure to leave extra hanging off the edges. This will make removal of the set fudge easier. Once lined, generously spray the cling wrap. This will also help with the removal of the set fudge later on. Set pan aside
  2. Dump the whole bag of chocolate chips and can of sweetened condensed milk into a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 second intervals and stir in-between until chips are melted and well mixed with condensed milk. Pour fudge mixture into the cling wrap lined square pan and spread out for even layer with a spatula.
  3. Shake square pan to allow large air bubbles to be exposed. Deflate these bubble with a toothpick or fork. Place fudge into refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight to set the fudge.
  4. Once fudge is set, remove from square pan onto a clean surface. Cut fudge into desired size and enjoy!

Lemon Puppy Chow

Tools:

  • large bowl
  • medium microwave safe bowl
  • wax paper
  • sheet pan
  • spatula
  • freezer or gallon sized baggie

Ingredients:

  • 9 cups Rice Chex Cereal
  • 1 1/4 cups white vanilla baking chips
  • 1/4 cup butter or maragine
  • 4 tsp of grated lemon peel
  • 2 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Measure out the 9 cups of rice chex cereal and set aside
  2. Combine the baking chips, butter, lemon peel, and lemon juice into a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals while stirring in-between until mixture is smooth.

Special Chocolate Chunk Cookies

It’s been a little chilly over in my neck of the woods. So I decided to warm up the house by making a batch of yummy chocolate chunk cookies. Basically I follow this recipe but with a few alterations because of food allergies. The largest change I make is that I can only use certain kinds of chocolate because of a peanut/tree nut allergy so I tend to use a bag of chunks instead of scouring for a chocolate bar I can actually eat.

Mixing the cookie dough in my new kitchenaide was really great after having done this recipe without a mixer so many times. The dough itself is also very good for pre baking tastes.

And here are the delicious, fresh out of the oven cookies. Most of which did not make it past bedtime.


Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of salted buttered, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (or 2) tablespoons Vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus a little extra just in case
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee, French Vanilla is my favorite
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag of Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chunks

Directions

  1. Take 1 of the softened sticks of butter and put into a small skillet over medium-low heat. allow it to melt and bubble. This is totally normal and will not immediately cause a fire. Swirl the butter in the skillet until it begins to turn a golden brown then remove from heat and pour all the liquid and solid butter into a heat proof bowl until needed in cookie batter. preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add the other stick of butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar  into a mixing bowl. Cream everything together until its combined.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. It may be necessary to stop mixing to scrape the sides of the bowl down. Pour in all contents (solid bits too) from the brown butter bowl and mix until combined
  3. Add the coffee granules, baking soda, and salt one ingredient at a time and allow to mix until well combined. Slowly add the flour into the batter and allow to mix well. Once mixed, dump in 1 bag of chocolate chunks and mix well using a spoon or spatula.
  4. Either use a greased baking sheet or a parchment lined baking sheet and drop the cookie dough onto the sheet pan. I like to use a heaping tablespoon for this. Place in oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack/surface. Bake in batches until all cookies are done and enjoy!