Monday, June 29, 2015

Raspberry Ginger Scones

Remember when I tried to make Muffin Monday a thing? Maybe Scones sMonday would be more accurate. Or Scone Sunday because that's when I make them. But we're back in the kitchen, cutting up cold butter, trying to keep it cold as summer finally hits the heat.

I actually meant to make these a week ago and forgot and then the raspberries went down hill so I saved some of them by freezing for smoothies. Always save for the smoothies. These scones are from an old friend, Joy the Baker's first cookbook. I've been revisiting this old friend recently and found that recipes that were once skipped over are now quite appealing. I initially sticky-tabbed the pages I wanted to try but soon realized I was tabbing every page. And then when I removed the tabs, they stayed sticky so now my book is permanently sticky. So the tabs stay.

As with all scones, we have our dry ingredients and our butter to cut into it. I've found that a pastry cutter is the easiest/cleanest way to accomplish this. The wet ingredients are added next. I didn't have buttermilk so used cashew milk (and warned everyone it was made with nuts) instead. Once the raspberries are folded in, they might break a bit.

An ice cream scoop is super handy for handling the dough (I kept my hands so clean this time!) but you could use regular spoons too. There was a lot of popping happening while the raspberry juices cooked. Ultimately, there were some blue streaks in the scones from the juices cooking (I promise, it wasn't moldy).

I enjoyed this for breakfast with some yogurt but it occurred to me that I could do a scone a la mode as well. Because ice cream for breakfast, duh!

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I used cashew milk instead)
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 10 Tablespoon cold butter
  • 3/4 cup fresh raspberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and ginger.
  4. Either grate the cold butter or cut into the dry ingredients directly with a knife, pastry cutter, or your fingers. The idea is to create a course mixture.
  5. Pour the milk mixture into the large bowl and stir with a large spoon or fork to combine. 
  6. Gently fold in the raspberries. 
  7. Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to scoop the batter onto the baking sheets with parchment. These won't spread a lot so you can place them an inch or two apart.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the scones are golden brown. 
  9. Serve with yogurt if desired or plain (with coffee...)

Friday, June 26, 2015

DIY Map Coasters

Today we're getting crafty. Please do not eat the glue. I know this blog has been almost entirely devoted to food but I made these coasters last weekend and I'm super proud of my Pinterest success that I wanted to share!

If you follow this blog regularly, which I hope you do, you will know that I went to London back in February. Even though we live in a modern world, my cell phone didn't work overseas so I didn't have Google maps to guide me. Instead, I randomly snagged a map in a hotel lobby (a hotel in which I was not staying) to keep with me as a guide. We're going old school!

This little map was my closest friend during my trip (don't tell the friends I was traveling with!). I left it behind once and got spectacularly lost so it never left my side again. As is bound to happen when I travel, everything seems like an important souvenir. This map has sat on my coffee table for 5 months, reminding me of the good times and asking for some love and attention.

Maps are a hot item right now, there are a number of map crafts out there on Pinterest so it was pretty easy to find the how-to's to make these into coasters. All it required was some glue and a sponge brush. I went to pick up some Modge Podge and was surprised to find all these different varieties! Which one did I need?? It was easy to rule out the glitter or glow-in-the-dark Modge Podge. Ultimately, I picked the one that was dishwasher safe (really?), assuming that as coasters, it would be important to withstand some water.

Coasters not included, this project cost about $10. Using the coasters as a stencil, I traced areas of the maps of importance: Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and St.Paul's Cathedral. I traced slightly larger than the surface area of the coaster so I had some edges to glue down on the sides.

This gets a little sticky. Once you have your map pieces, clean the coasters with rubbing alcohol. I was definitely grossed out by this part. Coat the top and edges of the coasters with the Modge Podge and place the map piece on top. Smooth the paper down to remove any air bubbles. Coat again with a layer of Modge Podge to seal it in. I found it easiest to use my fingers to glue down the edges.

Once the glue dries, you can add another coat for extra protection but I found that one was good enough! Huge success and now my precious map is on display but in a functional capacity.

  • Coasters of your choosing
  • Map/Paper of your choosing
  • Rubbing Alcohol 
  • Modge Podge
  • Foam Brush 
  1. Place the coaster facedown over the area of the map (or paper) you want to use. Using a pen or marker, trace the outline of the coaster, allowing some extra space so you have some overhang.
  2. Carefully cut out each stencil.
  3. Clean the surface of each coaster with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  4. Once the alcohol has dried, use the brush to spread a thin coat of Modge Podge across the surface and the edge of the coaster.
  5. Carefully place a segment of map in the center of the sticky coaster. Smooth out the paper to remove any air pockets.
  6. Use the brush to coat the map surface with a layer of Modge Podge. You can use the brush for the edges as well but I found it easier to first press down with my fingers to have some weight to it and then add another coat of glue for sealant.
  7. Repeat for each coaster.
  8. Allow to dry before stacking or using!
  9. Brag to your friends using #humblebrag for added effect. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Zucchini Bruschetta

A few weeks ago, I met up with a fellow blogger friend at Audubon near Fenway. It's a little off the beaten path so I'd never been there before but it's quite the hidden gem. The food is amazing and the drinks are unique. One thing we decided to try was their zucchini bruschetta. We both envisioned traditional bruschetta on sliced zucchini instead of bread. It was more like the other way around, with zucchini based bruschetta on bread.

It was still delicious but inspired this recipe. I'm a big fan of tomatoes and mozzarella with basil (I think that's technically called a Caprese Salad...), it always tastes like summer to me. Bruschetta has similar flavors (you could add some cheese if you wanted) so I'm on board.

I didn't roast the zucchini because it gets softer when you cook it instead of more crunchy. All the traditional flavors are here with some garlic, onion and tomatoes. Oh and of course some basil!

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 medium (or 2 small tomatoes)
  • 1/2 a purple onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Handful of basil
  1. Slice the zucchini and arrange on a plate.
  2. Chop up the tomato, onion and garlic. Add to a food processor.
  3. Add the basil and olive oil to the food processor and process until chunky.
  4. I found the result was a little watery so when you spoon out the tomato mixture, allow extra liquid to stay in the bottom.
  5. Spoon over prepared zucchini and enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Caramel Sauce

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! It's time for the sundaes to come out, ice cream cones to become a regular thing and toppings galore. I've got some ideas for more ice cream recipes (and by ideas, I mean already curated recipes from the professionals) but before we get there, let's talk about toppings.

I'm a huge fan of hot fudge sundaes. Melty chocolate melting probably chocolate ice cream is heaven. Recently, I had a friend over to have some wine and discuss the trials and tribulations of dating in this day and age. We also decided to make this an ice cream date so I thought it was a good time to test out some toppings in the form of caramel sauce.



This recipe is simple in its ingredients, the most difficult part is making the caramel without burning the sugar. Or your fingers. While I was cooking the sugar, I burned my fingers pretty badly. Even I surprise myself sometimes at my failure to recognize that I'm boiling sugar, boiling means hot, hot means no touching! I'd say lesson learned but I'm sure it will happen again.

Sugar, water and corn syrup are combined in a saucepan. I used the smallest one I had just to prevent the sugar from spreading out too thinly and burning. I was skeptical that it only called for a total of 3 Tablespoons of liquid to 1 cup of sugar but it worked out just fine. Once the sugar turns a nice caramel color, we add the butter. I definitely recommend measuring the ingredients beforehand so you can just keep stirring as you add things.

The butter cooks a bit so you'll get some brown butter bits floating around but those will disappear as you whisk the final product. If you've ever used browned butter, it's basically like that where we're cooking the butter but the water is crackling out of it. Cream and vanilla are added last. This stuff gets sticky fast and can be reheated. Let it cool a little before serving because it's likely still quite hot.

When I refrigerated this, the butter separated out a little so make sure you store it in a container that can be microwaved. Then you can re-mix and serve warm with your sundaes.

From Joy the Baker's first cookbook
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of water
  • 1 Tablespoon of light corn syrup
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • Dash of vanilla
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar, water and corn syrup. Stir continuously until the mixture turns an amber-caramel color.
  2. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the butter until it's melted. The mixture will still be hot so the butter will melt quickly and may splatter. 
  3. Once the butter is melted, stir in the heavy cream. The caramel will become smooth but will thicken more as it cools. Add the vanilla last.
  4. You can serve immediately over ice cream but it might melt things quickly. Ideally, allow the mixture to cool. Store in a jar in the fridge.
  5. Reheat as needed and enjoy your ice cream!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Last year, I went a little rhubarb crazy. There were drinks, there were cakes, there may have been ice cream, and at some point there was pie. Now this year, we've also established my recent fascination with chia seeds and the two passions combined to make this jam.

Initially, I was going to make some raspberry chia jam and then, there I was. Standing in the grocery store produce section staring at rhubarb. And I wondered "would rhubarb and raspberry taste good?" but prophetically, strawberries were to the right. So we got some strawberries and some rhubarb and some raspberries (for snacking).

Jam to me falls into the category of canning and sterilizing jars and boiling things but this recipe (again, adapted from Oh She Glows), requires none of that. Well, there is some boiling. The strawberries and rhubarb(s) are piled into a saucepan and heated until it breaks down. You can also add some maple syrup for sweetness, it depends on how tart the strawberries are (and how tart you like your jams).

Once the fruit is a little mushy, you can use a potato masher (or a fork if you really can't find the masher like me) and squish it to the consistency you want. You could also use an immersion blender. Add the chia seeds and stir to combine. Let everything simmer for 5 more minutes before jarring and refrigerating.

I eat this on plain yogurt and in oatmeal but it would be great on toast. Alas, I have no toaster and no counter space for one. But waffles or pancakes....would be divine.

  • 3 cups of assorted fruits (I did 50/50 rhubarb and strawberries but you could do mixed berries or blueberries or raspberries or black berries...)
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2-4 Tablespoons maple syrup (to taste, depends on your preference)
  1. Chop up your fruit and add to a medium saucepan with syrup over medium heat.
  2. Cook the fruit for 10-15 minutes or until it has softened. The water and juices in the fruit will seep out and begin to boil.
  3. Use a fork or masher to smoosh (technical term) the fruit to desired consistency.
  4. Stir in the chia seeds. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes longer.
  5. Pour jam into a container and refrigerate until cooled.
  6. Add to your desired delicacy and enjoy. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Classic Donuts with Chocolate Frosting

It's National Donut/Doughnut Day!! Get out there and snag yourself a free donut oooor make some at home! I feel like I'll either be a really cool mom (in the super duper far off future) or be that really annoying one who doesn't buy anything store bought and hip. More sprinkles, that makes the future worry go away.

At my last job, I had a manager who would sometimes bring in donuts on Fridays for the team. Once we knew this was coming, we would request our favorite kind of donut. Someone requested a chocolate frosted donut. What comes to mind when you hear 'chocolate frosted donut'? Is it a plain donut with chocolate frosting? Or is it a chocolate donut with glaze? It all depends on where you put the emphasis: chocolate frosted or chocolate, frosted. But let's be real, it's glazed if it's the latter, not frosted. Get it straight.

I've made donuts a few times before and the frosting is always challenging. You have to get the right consistency so it stays on the donut and it has to dry, like sugar cookie icing, so it doesn't stay sticky. This ganache is pretty clutch (I've been using that word a lot lately, where did that come from?).

I found this made a little less than a dozen donuts and so the leftover frosting was consumed by the spoonful. The dough gets a little sticky, it looks like I should be dropping it into a fryer but we're baking them! And for added health bonus, they're made with more Greek yogurt. Again, another kick I'm on right now.

So you  mix the flour and brown sugar and baking magic (baking powder and soda) together in one bowl. Standard. In another, we use melted butter (woohoo!), milk, vanilla, one egg and Greek yogurt to mix up the wet ingredients. I usually use a measuring cup for this because it's easier to neatly pour into the dry ingredients when there's the built-in spout.

Stir away and then add to the donut pan. Sometimes the batter is thin enough to pour but this dough was stretchy so I used to spoons to kind stretch it out into the pan.

I let the donuts cool overnight before frosting them. In an ideal world, I would have dipped both sides in the frosting to make an entirely chocolate frosted donut. But I was limited on time, hungry coworkers and parking tickets. I thought about adding crumbled Butterfinger to the donuts but opted for festive sprinkles instead.

The baked donuts are a little denser than something you'd buy at Dunkin' but that's what makes them old fashioned. If you order an old fashioned donut at Dunkin', you'd get this. But more commercialized. I carried this plate of donuts from my apartment to a bus and from a bus to the police station to fight my parking tickets. The irony was not lost on me. But alas, I lost that battle. So then the donuts went on the train to work where they were served and consumed and drowned my parking ticket woes. Well done, donuts, well done.

  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of whole milk
  • 2/3 cups of plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease your donut pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, egg, vanilla and yogurt. Whisk together until everything is smooth. 
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with flour, stirring as you go. Mix until there are no more dry spots of flour.
  5. Spoon the batter into the baking pan so it is almost level.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and firm.
  7. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Makes 10-12 donuts.

  • 1/3 cup of whole milk
  • 1-1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
  1. Pour the milk into a microwave safe bowl. Heat for about a minute until the milk is hot enough to melt the chocolate.
  2. Add the chocolate chips and stir until smooth and melted. You can put it back in the microwave if needed.
  3. Carefully dip the donuts, one side down, in the frosting. Remove and set on wax paper to set.
  4. You can either add sprinkles and be done oooor you can wait for the frosting to set and dip the other side of the donut for complete coverage. 
  5. Serve with coffee or straight to your face!